What are the sugars produced by the Starch Industry?

Sugars are carbohydrates that can be classified into monosaccharides and disaccharides.:

  • The main monosaccharides that are consumed are glucose and fructose.
  • Examples of disaccharides include sucrose (or table sugar composed of glucose-fructose) and maltose (glucose+glucose).

According to the EU Regulation on Food Information to Consumers, ‘sugars’ means all monosaccharides and disaccharides present in food but excludes polyols (sugar alcohols).

The starch industry produces a number of different sugars. These include:

  • Glucose - a monosaccharide found naturally in many foods or linked together in long chains as starch. Glucose is also known as dextrose.
  • Fructose - a monosaccharide found naturally in many foods. It is the sweetest of all naturally occurring sugars. High levels of fructose are typically found in honey, in fruits - notably tree fruits (oranges, apples, etc.), berries, and melons - and in some root vegetables (such as sweet potatoes, parsnips and onions)[1]. The starch industry manufactures fructose by enzymatic conversion of glycose syrups or dextrose.
  • Glucose syrups - are liquid sweeteners made from the hydrolysis of starch. They are widely used as an ingredient in confectionery. Some may contain up to 5% fructose. They are also available in dried form.
  • Glucose-Fructose syrups[2] - are liquid sweeteners composed of glucose and fructose, with varying ratios of both sugars and fructose content ranging from 5 to 50%. If the fructose content exceeds 50%, the product is called fructose-glucose syrup[3].

The starch industry also produces a wide range of ingredients with sweetening properties, and which are not sugars, such as polyols Click here to find out more about Polyols.


[1] Sucrose, which is not produced by the starch industry, is more commonly known as “table sugar”, and  is made up of glucose and fructose linked together in a 1:1 ratio.

[2] Further information can be found on Starch Europe’s webpage - http://www.starch.eu/extraction-and-processing/

[3] For more information on the sugars produced from starch please refer to  http://www.starch.eu/factsheet-on-glucose-fructose-syrups-and-isoglucose/


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