Carbohydrates are an important dietary nutrienet which is
mostly used to supply energy to the body, as well as, a carbon
source for synthesis of other needed chemicals.
In addition mono- and disaccharides are craved because of
their sweetness. All carbohydrate sweeteners (sugar, evaporated
cane juice, turbinado sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup,
maple syrup, juice concentrates) contain primarily sugars and
do not provide significant amounts of vitamins and minerals.
We value sugar and other natural sweeteners because they enhance
taste and enjoyment of a wide variety of nutritious foods.
USDA estimates that for 1997 about 67 pounds of sugar (cane
and beet); 86 pounds of corn sweeteners; and 1 pound of other
sweeteners (honey, maple syrup) per capita were delivered into
the food supply. That adds up to a total carbohydrate sweetener
availability of about 154 pounds per capita.
Saccharides have varying degrees of sweetness on a relative
scale as illustrated in the table on the left. Fructose is the
sweetest, while lactose is only slightly sweet by comparison.
Originally the needs of diabetics and more recently the soft
drink industry has provided the stimulus in the search of other