Almost everything we eat contains sugar, which is why this ingredient is added to most foods.
The sugar is not only used to sweeten food but possesses properties that make it valuable also for other functions. This is why it is contained in almost everything we eat ( do you know that there is the right time to eat? ), Even in the most unsuspected packaged foods, where we will never expect to find it among the ingredients. Still, it is enough to carefully read the labels of what we buy every day to realize how widespread it is. But why is sugar added to food?
The reasons lie in its characteristics, which have nothing to do with the sweetening action we know it for. Sugar (sucrose), explain some American scholars in a scientific article in ” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety “, has four other functional properties that no other type of sweetener has.
One of them is conservation. Sugar helps to preserve the quality of the food in which it is contained. On the one hand it is very effective at absorbing water, prolonging the expiration date of the food, on the other it helps to preserve its color. This is why it is widely used in jams ( is it correct to eat bread, butter and jam for breakfast? ) And jellies, for example.
The second typical functional property of sugar is caramelization, fundamental for the appearance and flavor of some particular products. This phenomenon, as is known, occurs when sugars are heated to a high temperature, which take on the typical brown color. This process is used for the preparation of a wide range of products, including sauces, desserts, bread and dessert wines, as well as many candies .
But sugar – and let’s get to the third reason it is added to food – also plays an important role in the fermentation process . This is why it is commonly used in the production of those foods in which the bacterial fermentation of lactic acid and the fermentation of yeast take place, such as yogurt (this is the difference between the Greek and normal ones ), bread and beer.
Last but not least, this sweetener contributes to the mass and consistency of baked goods. In some preparations, in fact, it helps to slow down the gelatinization of the starch and by incorporating the air, it makes the dough more digestible . Not only that: the ability of sugar to absorb water affects the crystallization levels of ice in the production of ice creams (have you ever tasted tear ice cream? ) And other frozen desserts , giving them a more creamy appearance.