What Is Sugar Made Of?

Sugars are short-chain carbohydrates made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Table sugar, or sucrose, is composed of two simple sugars: fructose and glucose. Sources of sugar include sugar beets, sugar cane, honey, and hydrolyzed corn starch; the last is used to produce high-fructose corn syrup.

Granulated sugars are used in baked goods, jams and other fruit preserves, and as beverage sweeteners. Brown sugar crystals have been coated in molasses, which is a by-product of refining sugar cane syrup.

As of 2014, studies on the health effects of sugar have had varied conclusions. However, controlled trials have confirmed that drinking beverages sweetened with sugar leads to weight gain and increased body fat.