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Sugar has been produced in the Indian subcontinent since ancient times. It was not plentiful or cheap in early times and honey was more often used for sweetening in most parts of the world. Originally, people chewed raw sugarcane to extract its sweetness. Sugarcane was a native of tropical South Asia and Southeast Asia. Different species seem to have originated from different locations with Saccharin barberi originating in India and S. elude and S. officinarum coming from New Guinea.One of the earliest historical references to sugarcane is in Chinese manuscripts dating back to 8th century BC that state that the use of sugarcane originated in India.[
Sugar is the generic name for sweet, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. There are various types of sugar derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose, fructose, and galactose. The “table sugar” or “granulated sugar” most customarily used as food is sucrose, a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. Sugar is used in prepared foods (e.g., cookies and cakes) and it is added to some foods and beverages (e.g., coffee and tea). In the body, sucrose is hydrolysed into the simple sugars fructose and glucose. Other disaccharides include maltose from malted grain, and lactose from milk. Longer chains of sugars are called oligosaccharides or polysaccharides. Some other chemical substances, such as glycerol may also have a sweet taste, but are not classified as sugars. Low-calorie food substitutes for sugar, described as artificial sweeteners, include aspartame and sucrose, a chlorinated derivative of sucrose.