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The English word “sugar” may ultimately originate from the Sanskrit word sharkara or sarkara, which means “sugar” or “pebble”. It probably came to English by way of the French, Spanish and/or Italians who derived their word for sugar from the Arabic al sukkar (whence the Portuguese word aзucar, the Spanish word azъcar, the Italian word zucchero, the Old French word zuchre and the contemporary Frrench word sucre). The Arabs in turn presumably derived their word from the Persian shakar, derived from the original Sanskrit.

Note that the English word jaggery (coarse brown Indian sugar) has similar ultimate etymological origins. * 1PRODUCTION

The first production of sugar from sugar-cane took place in India.. Alexander the Great companions reported seeing “honey produced without the intervention of bees” and it remained exotic in Europe until the Arabs started cultivating it in Sicily and Spain. Only after the Crusades did itt begin to rival honey as the sweetener in Europe. The Spanish began cultivating sugar-cane in the West Indies in 1506, and in Cuba in 1523. The Portuguese first cultivated sugar-cane in Brazil in 1532.

Table sugar or sucrose comes from plant sources. Tw

wo important sugar crops predominate: sugarcane (Saccharin spp.) and sugar beets (Beta vulgarise), in which sugar can account for 12% to 20% of the plant’s dry weight. Some minor commercial sugar crops include the date palm > (Phoenix dactylifera), sorghum > (Sorghum vulgar), and the sugar maple (Acer saccharin). In the financial year 2001/2002 ,worldwide production of sugar amounted to 134.1 million tonnes .

Most cane sugar comes from countries with warm climates, such as Brazil India China and Australia (in descending order of production). In 2001/2002 developing countries produced over twice as much sugar as developed countries. The greatest quantity of sugar comes from Latin America, the United States the Caribbean nations, and the Far East.

Beet sugar comes from regions with cooler climates: northwest and eaastern Europe, northern Japan, plus some areas in the United States including California. The beet-growing season ends with the start of harvesting around September. Harvesting and processing continues until March in some cases. The availability of processing-plant capacity, and the weather both influence the duration of harvesting and processing – the industry can lay up harvested beet until processed, but frost-damaged beet becomes effectively unprocessable.

The European Union (EU) has become the world’s second-largest sugar exporter. The Common Agricultural Policy the EU se
ets maximum quotas for members’ production to match supply and demand, and a price. Europe exports excess production quota (approximately 5 million tonnes in 2003 Part of this, “quota” sugar, gets subsidised from industry levies, the remainder (approximately half) sells as “C quota” sugar at market prices without subsidy. These subsidies and a high import tariff make it difficult for other countries to export to the EU states, or to compete with the Europeans on world markets.

The U.S. sets high sugar prices to support its producers, with the effect that many former consumers of sugar have switched to corn syrup (beverage-manufacturers) or moved out of the country (candy-makers).

The cheap prices of glucose syrups produced from wheat and corn (maize) threaten the traditional sugar market. In combination with artificial sweeteners ,drink manufacturers can produce very low-cost products. * 1CULINARY SUGARS

Raw sugars comprise yellow to brown sugars made from clarified cane-juice boiled down to a crystalline solid with minimal chemical processing. Raw sugars result from the processing of sugar-beet juice, but only as intermediates en route to white sugar. Types of raw sugar available as a specialty item outside the tropics include Demerara, muscovite, and turbinate. Mauritius and Malawi export significant quantities of such specialty su
ugars. Manufacturers sometimes prepare raw sugar as loaves rather than as a crystalline powder, by pouring sugar and molasses together into moulds and allowing the mixture to dry. This results in sugar-cakes or loaves, called jiggery or guar in India, penguin tong in China, and pineal, panache, pile, and piloncillo in various parts of Latin America.

Mill white sugar, also called plantation white, crystal sugar, or superior sugar, consists of raw sugar where the production process does not remove coloured impurities, but rather bleaches them white by exposure to sulphur dioxide. This is the most common form of sugar in sugarcane growing areas, but does not store or ship well; after a few weeks, its impurities tend to promote discoloration and clumping.

Blanco direct, a white sugar common in India and other south Asian countries, comes from precipitating many impurities out of the cane juice by using phosphatation — a treatment with phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide similar to the carbonization technique used in beet-sugar refining. In terms of sucrose purity, blanc direct is more pure than mill white, but less pure than white refined sugar.

White refined sugar has become the most common form of sugar in North America as well as in Eu
urope. Refined sugar can be made by dissolving raw sugar and purifying it with a phosphoric acid method similar to that used for Blanco direct, a carbonization process involving calcium hydroxide and carbon dioxide, or by various filtration strategies. It is then further decolorized by filtration through a bed of activated carbon or bone char depending on where the processing takes place. Beet sugar refineries produce refined white sugar directly without an intermediate raw stage. White refined sugar is typically sold as granulated sugar, which has been dried to prevent clumping.

Granulated sugar comes in various crystal sizes — for home and industrial use — depending on the application:

• Coarse-grained sugars, such as sanding sugar (nabbed sugar or sugar nibs) find favour for decorating cookies (biscuits) and other desserts.

• Normal granulated sugars for table use: typically they have a grain size about 0.5 mm across

• Finer grades result from selectively sieving the granulated sugar

• caster sugar (0.35 mm), commonly used in baking

• superfine sugar, also called baker’s sugar, berry sugar, or bar sugar — favoured for sweetening drinks or for preparing meringue

• Finest grades

• Powdered sugar, 10X sugar, confectioner’s sugar (0.060 mm), or icing sugar (0.024 mm), produced by grinding sugar to a fine powder. The manufacturer may add a small amount of anti-caking agent to prevent clumping — either cornstarch (1% to 3%) or tri-calcium phosphate.

Retailers also sell sugar cubes or lumps for convenient consumption of a standardised amount.

Brown sugars derive from the late stages of sugar refining, when sugar forms fine crystals with significant molasses-content, or by coating white refined sugar with a cane molasses syrup .Their colour and taste become stronger with increasing molasses-content, as do their moisture-retaining properties. Brown sugars also tend to harden if exposed to the atmosphere, although proper handling can reverse this. * 1HISTORY

The process of making sugar by evaporating juice from sugarcane developed in India around 500 BC. Sugarcane, a tropical grass, probably originated in New Guinea. During prehistoric times its culture spread throughout the Pacific Islands and into India. By 200 BC producers in China had begun to grow it too. Westerners learned of sugarcane in the course of military expeditions into India. Inarches, one of Alexander the Great’s commanders, described it as “a reed that gives honey without bees”.

Originally, people chewed the cane raw to extract its sweetness. Sugar refining developed in the Middle East India and China, where sugar became a staple of cooking and desserts Early refining methods involved grinding or pounding the cane in order to extract the juice, and then boiling down the juice or drying it in the sun to yield sugary solids that resembled gravel. The Sanskrit word for “sugar” (shirkers), also means “gravel”. Similarly, the Chinese use the term “gravel sugar” (Traditional Chinese) for table sugar. Sugar later spread to other areas of the world through trade. * 1SUGAR’S EFFECT ON YOUR HEALTH

The average American consumes an astounding 2-3 pounds of sugar each week, which is not surprising considering that highly refined sugars in the forms of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup are being processed into so many foods such as bread, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and a plethora of microwave meals. In the last 20 years, we have increased sugar consumption in the U.S. 26 pounds to 135 lbs. of sugar per person per year! Prior to the turn of this century (1887-1890), the average consumption was only 5 lbs. per person per year! Cardiovascular disease and cancer was virtually unknown in the early 1900’s.

The “glycolic index” is a measure of how a given food affects blood-glucose levels, with each food being assigned a numbered rating. The lower the rating, the slower the absorption and digestion process, which provides a more gradual, healthier infusion of sugars into the bloodstream. On the other hand, a high rating means that blood-glucose levels are increased quickly, which stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin to drop blood-sugar levels. These rapid fluctuations of blood-sugar levels are not healthy because of the stress they place on the body.

One of sugar’s major drawbacks is that it raises the insulin level, which inhibits the release of growth hormones, which in turn depresses the immune system. This is not something you want to take place if you want to avoid disease. An influx of sugar into the bloodstream upsets the body’s blood-sugar balance, triggering the release of insulin, which the body uses to keep blood-sugar at a constant and safe level. Insulin also promotes the storage of fat, so that when you eat sweets high in sugar, you’re making way for rapid weight gain and elevated triglyceride levels, both of which have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Complex carbohydrates tend to be absorbed more slowly, lessening the impact on blood-sugar levels. * 2SUGAR DEPRESSES THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

We have known this for decades. It was only in the 1970’s that researchers found out that vitamin C was needed by white blood cells so that they could phagocyte viruses and bacteria. White blood cells require a 50 times higher concentration inside the cell as outside so they have to accumulate vitamin C.

There is something called a “phagocyte index” which tells you how rapidly a particular macrophage or lymphocyte can gobble up a virus, bacteria, or cancer cell. It was in the 1970’s that Linus Pauling realized that white blood cells need a high dose of vitamin C and that is when he came up with his theory that you need high doses of vitamin C to combat the common cold We know that glucose and vitamin C have similar chemical structures, so what happens when the sugar levels go up? They compete for one another upon entering the cells. And the thing that mediates the entry of glucose into the cells is the same thing that mediates the entry of vitamin C into the cells. If there is more glucose around, there is going to be less vitamin C allowed into the cell. It doesn’t take much: a blood sugar value of 120 reduces the phagocyte index by 75%. So when you eat sugar, think of your immune system slowing down to a crawl. Here we are getting a little bit closer to the roots of disease. It d

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