Difference between sugar and sucrose

The words "sugar" and "sucrose" are often taken synonymously. But this is not entirely correct. In connection with what? What is the fundamental difference between sugar and sucrose?

Facts about sugar

Sugar is a common food product manufactured, if we talk about Russian enterprises, in accordance with the requirements of GOST 21-94. The main component of sugar is sucrose itself. But apart from it, the corresponding product may contain various impurities. In granulated sugar, their content is allowed up to 0.25%, in refined sugar - up to 0.1%. Among the common impurities of this type are reducing substances, ash, dyes, and various suspensions. Reducing the percentage of impurities is an important task for the manufacturer of the product in question. But in connection with what they can appear in sugar?

The reasons for this can be different. In particular, the presence of ash in sugar is mainly due to the results of processing inorganic compounds that are contained in beets or other raw materials used to make the product in question.

If we talk about chemical elements that are often found in sugar, then the most common are iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc. It should be noted that those elements that are part of the ash structure are located mainly on the surface of sugar crystals, in an intercrystalline solution. If you remove it, then the percentage of ash in the product is quite realistic to reduce to very small values ​​- less than 0.001%.

Other impurities may be present depending on the type of product in question. For example, in brown sugar, the crystals are coated with a thin layer of cane molasses, a special type of molasses. It contains a significant percentage of nitrogenous substances, as well as ash. The percentage of molasses in different types of brown sugar can vary.

One way or another, the main substance contained in sugar and determining its main taste and nutritional qualities is sucrose. Consider what it is.

Facts about sucrose

Sucrose is an organic substance that is a disaccharide. That is, it consists of 2 monosaccharides, namely glucose and fructose. When sugar is consumed in human food, sucrose is split into 2 indicated monosaccharides. It can be noted that they are very similar in molecular structure: fructose is an isomer of glucose, respectively, it differs from it only in the arrangement of molecules in space. Both substances are sweet, but in this quality glucose is significantly inferior to fructose.The disaccharide in question is found in large quantities in sugar beets and cane. They, in fact, belong to the main types of raw materials from which sugar is produced on an industrial scale.

In its pure form, sucrose is very similar to store-bought sugar: it is a colorless crystal. If you melt it, and then cool it, then caramel is formed. Sucrose is highly soluble in water - and, accordingly, sugar too.


The main difference between sugar and sucrose is that the first term corresponds to an industrial product (based on sucrose, but with a certain percentage of impurities), and the second to pure organic matter. But in many contexts, both terms can be considered synonymous. In theory, pure sucrose can be used for the same purposes as sugar, although economically this will not be very cost-effective, since obtaining the corresponding substance is often accompanied by significant economic costs.

Having identified the difference between sugar and sucrose, we reflect the conclusions in the following table.


Sugar Sucrose
What do they have in common?
Sugar is a product based on sucrose, its share in it usually exceeds 99%
What is the difference between them?
Sugar is a food productSucrose is an inorganic substance
May contain a fairly wide range of organic and inorganic impuritiesIn its pure form, industrial sucrose usually does not contain impurities