21. Lipids and Carbohydrates   Previous PageNext Page

Because grapes are a rich source of glucose, they have given glucose the name "grape sugar." Honey contains a mixture of glucose and fructose, and was the standard sweetener for mankind for millennia before the advent of sugar cane. Sugar cane and sugar beets contain sucrose, a disaccharide made of glucose and fructose linked together as shown here.

Sugar cane appeared in India from Southeast Asia some time around the fifth century B.C. According to the Greek geographer Strabo, one of Alexander the Great's admirals reported seeing Indian "reeds that produce honey, although there are no bees," but sugar did not spread into the Western world until the time of the Arab conquests in the seventh century A.D.

At about the same time, the Chinese were importing "stone honey" from India as a luxury. Sucrose did not really replace honey as a cheap sweetener in Europe until the era of the great sugar cane plantations in the New World in the 1600's.




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