The term "sugar" is applied to several types of sweet substances, some of which are excellent food while others are irritants to the digestive tract while being prepared to go into the blood stream. It is important that we know the difference between the helpful and harmful types.
First we will consider the form of sugar as it is found in normal blood as used in the body. It is known as a "simple" or "single" sugar called a "monosaccaride" because it is the simplest form in which sugar is found and cannot be further broken down. This is the form in which sugar passes from the small intestine into the blood.
The chemist says every molecule if this sugar is made of 24 atoms, - 6 atoms of carbon, 6 of oxygen, and 12 of hydrogen, associated together. He diagrams a representative molecule as follows; C means carbon, O is for oxygen, and H is hydrogen:
GLUCOSE, DEXTROSE, and GRAPE SUGAR (Group 1)
There are three groups of these single sugars, of which this is the first to be discussed.
These sugars are used by the cells to produce heat and energy as already explained, but if they are held too long in digestive tract they will be attacked by fermentive bacteria which derive energy for their growth by the bartial oxidation of sugar. The chief products of this fermentation are carbon dioxide and alcohol which will be a curse to the body instead of the blessing as was intended.
These sugars come from the juices of fruits and the saps of plants; even the starch of seeds, roots, bulbs, steams and leaves, like cereals, potatoes, mature peas and corn, ripe apples and bananas, is broken down by saliva, pancreatic juice and the intestinal juice to glucose, ready for the blood. (this break down of starch is aided by heat, as in cooking.)
During this process of breaking down starch to a single sugar it passes through two other states, dextrin and maltose.