Brown sugar: Cake recipes often call for brown sugar. This consists of sugar crystals coated with molasses, while retaining the natural colour and flavour. Dark and light brown sugars are available in the market. Dark brown sugar has a stronger colour and flavour as compared to light brown sugar.
Fructose: This is fruit sugar. It is the naturally occurring sugar in fruits and honey. It is one and a half times as sweet as sucrose but has the same caloric content. It is absorbed very slowly and hence does not result in a rapid rise in blood sugar.
Glucose: This is another naturally occurring sugar. It is found in fruits, some vegetables and honey. It results in a quick and significant rise in blood sugar. All the sugars taken in the food are converted to glucose in the body after digestion and the body uses it as a source of energy.
Honey: It is a naturally produced form, which varies in sweetness and the flavour. It contains about 35 per cent glucose, 40 per cent sucrose and 25 per cent water.
Invert sugar: Inversion or chemical breakdown of sucrose results in invert sugar. Invert sugar is a combination of glucose and fructose in equal proportions. Invert sugar is sweeter than granulated sugar. It is mainly used to retard crystallization of sugar and retain moisture.
Lactose: This is the naturally present sugar in the milk. So you cannot skip this sugar if you are drinking milk.
Maltose: Maltose is the breakdown product of the starches. It is formed when two molecules of glucose combine. It is taken in as food and rapidly breaks down into glucose in the intestine.
Mannitol: This is a lesser-known form of sugar. It is present naturally attached to an alcohol, hence called sugar alcohol. It causes less rise of blood sugar than sucrose or glucose but it is used in lesser amounts since excess intake causes diarrhoea.
Molasses: Also referred to as the golden syrup and is often listed in the list of ingredients for making cakes. It is a syrup that is obtained when raw sugar is processed to get sucrose. The total sugar content varies from 50 to 75 per cent, hence diabetics should be aware of this syrupy sugar.
Sorbitol: Another sugar alcohol, which is present naturally in fruits. It is more slowly absorbed than glucose and causes a very small rise in blood sugar in diabetics with well-controlled diabetes.
Sucrose: It is also known as table sugar, white sugar, granulated sugar and powdered or confectioner's sugar. It is a naturally occurring sugar that is made from sugarcane or sugar beets. It is this form of sugar that we normally consume. It is made of equal quantities of glucose and fructose. In uncontrolled diabetes, sucrose can lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar.
Xylitol: It is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol, which acts as a sweetener. It is found in plants and is used as a substitute for sugar. It is less slowly absorbed than glucose and sucrose but its safety is still a controversial issue. Thus it has a very limited use.