Sugar 101

Get the Facts About the World's Favorite Natural Sweetener.

What Is Sugar?


Table Sugar Is Sucrose.

Sucrose is a natural chemical that is produced by all plants, including fruits, vegetables, and even nuts. By law, sucrose is the only substance that can be called "sugar" in the United States.

Sucrose is the major product of photosynthesis, the process by which plants transform the sun's energy into food. The greatest quantities of sugar occur in sugar cane and sugarbeets. This sugar is separated from the plant for commercial use.

According to The Sugar Association, crystallized sugar was found in both Roman and Greek civilizations going back to years 0-100 CE. Sugar has been cultivated for large-scale refinement since about 1455.



Sugar or Sugars? What Sweetens Your Food?

When you look at an ingredients list and see "added sugars," this can refer to syrups, honey, concentrated fruit juice, and other sweeteners. "Sugars" is a catch-all term for the simplest carbohydrates in our food supply. It can apply to natural sugars in fruits, vegetables, dairy, and nuts or it can refer to manufactured sweeteners.

Sugar (without the s) refers only to naturally-made sucrose that is found in all green plants. The sugar in our food supply is made from sugarbeets and sugar cane.





American Crystal Sugar: Produced in America's Heartland

Our sugarbeets are grown in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota and in the eastern portion of Montana. Sugarbeets thrive in our rich northern soil, enabling bountiful harvests and high sugar content that's necessary to supply the world's sugar.





No Additives. No Preservatives.

Refined beet sugar is 99.9 percent pure, natural sucrose. The factory performs a process of purification of the sugar from sugarbeets.

  • White is sugar's natural color.
  • It contains no preservatives or additives of any kind.




Very Little Waste

During the process of making sugar, a number of other materials are generated, which are used, recycled, or sold.

  • Molasses is used as another sweetener in baked goods and other foods; it's also used by feed and pharmaceutical companies for a variety of products.
  • Beet pulp is used for animal feed and other products.
  • Other materials are reused, such as carbon for filtration and the water used in the factory that contains sucrose (commonly called sweetwater in the industry).




Sugarbeet Processing Is a Purification Process.

American Crystal Sugar Company is capturing pure sucrose from the sugarbeet plant.

  • Beets are harvested from Red River Valley farmland.
  • Beets are washed, sliced, and soaked to extract juice from the beets.
  • The juice is purified to produce sugar syrup.
  • The liquid is removed and the sugar is crystallized.
  • The resulting sugar is dried and packaged or shipped for consumption.




Sugar's Versatility: Essential to Modern Life

We know how essential sugar is to our food supply – or at least we've tasted the evidence. Sugar is used to do many other things besides sweetening our favorite recipes.

  • Sugar can balance acidity in foods.
  • Sugar is used as a coating in medicine; it can also add bulk and prevent spoilage.
  • Sugar is used as an exfoliating and moisturizing ingredient in cosmetics.
  • Sugar is a sizing and finishing product for the textile industry.
  • Sugar is used in the production of biofuels.
  • Sugar is used to slow the setting of cement and glue.




Sugar’s Impact on Your Diet

Your body treats sucrose in the same way regardless of its source. It is converted into glucose and used by the cells for energy. Eating refined beet sugar, honey, or sugar from any other source has the same effect on your body.






The best sugar, pure and simple.

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