Tuesday, July 12, 2011

20 Things You Didn't Know About Sugar

Interesting article I came across on Discover Magazine... "20 things you didn't know about Sugar"


A few highlights...
1 The average American eats 61 pounds of refined sugar each year, including 25 pounds of candy. Halloween accounts for at least two pounds of that.

2 Trick: Sugar may give you wrinkles via a process called glycation, in which excess blood sugar binds to collagen in the skin, making it less elastic.

3 Or treat: Cutting back on sugar may help your skin retain its flexibility. So actually, no treats.

5 In 1747 German chemist Andreas Marggraf discovered that the sugar in a sugar beet is identical to that in sugarcane. In 1802 the first beet-sugar refinery began operations, bringing cheap sweets to northern climes.

6 More than half the 8.4 million metric tons of sugar produced annually in the United States comes from beets.

7 Can you imagine eating 16 sugar cubes at one sitting? You probably have. That’s a little less than what is contained in a 20-ounce bottle of cola.

9 The artificial sweeteners saccharin and aspartame were found accidentally when lab workers doing research that had nothing to do with sweetening put a bit of the test compounds in their mouths and liked what they tasted.

11 The scientists who discovered sucralose (now sold as Splenda) were originally trying to create an insecticide. An assistant thought he had been instructed to “taste” a compound he’d only been asked to “test.”

14 Can’t escape them: Sugars are the building blocks of carbohydrates, the most abundant type of organic molecules in living things.

15 Glycolaldehyde, an eight-atom sugar, has even been found in an interstellar gas cloud near the center of the Milky Way.

16 Glycolaldehyde can react with a three-carbon sugar to form ribose, the basis for both RNA and DNA, so the glycol­aldehyde found in deep space may be a chemical precursor to life on Earth.

18 Burn sucrose with a dose of corn syrup and saltpeter and you get “sugar propellant,” a popular amateur rocket fuel.

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