Glucose is a simple sugar and natural sweetener that is found naturally in many foods and added to processed foods and other goods. Glucose is the main source of energy used by the human body. In the United States the main source of glucose used in food production is corn, which is converted into corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup. Around the world, wheat, barley, rice, maize and other starches are the main sources used to produce glucose syrup.
Foods Naturally Containing Glucose
Glucose occurs naturally in the sap of most plants but is found in significant amounts in many grains, fruits and vegetables. Most sweet-tasting fruits contain glucose in their juice and pulp, particularly grapes, cherries, plums and dried fruits like dried apricots, dates, raisins and currants. Vegetables with high concentrations of glucose are the sweeter tasting ones, such as sweet onions, cabbage, squashes, asparagus and lettuce. Honey is also a natural source of glucose.
Glucose syrup is used in the production of baked goods such as cookies, crackers, pies and pastries because it results in a desirable color, texture and taste in comparison with other types of sugar. Glucose is used to bake bread as it provides an excellent energy source to activate yeast.
Glucose syrup is added to most processed tomato goods because it gives a sweeter taste and balances the natural acidity of tomatoes. It is a main ingredient in tomato ketchup, paste and tomato-based sauces, whether jarred or canned.
Most processed sweets contain glucose as their main source of sugar. Glucose syrup is widely used both for its sweet taste and because it does not crystallize easily, improving the texture of confectionery items like candy and frosting. Sweet foodstuffs like blended juices, canned fruits, carbonated beverages and other soft drinks, sweetened cereals and yogurt contain high levels of glucose as the source of their sweetness.
Many foods that are considered to be savory tasting are often processed with the use of glucose syrup. For example, canned soup, barbecue sauce, salad dressings, baby food, mustards and canned meats all contain glucose.
Beer and Wine
Glucose is easily fermented into alcohol, so it is preferred in the production of beer and wine. With wine making, the source of most of the glucose is the juice in the grapes, but the final alcohol content of the wine is often engineered by adding extra glucose.
Glucose syrup is added to the glue on envelopes and the back of stamps to improve their taste. It is also used to improve the taste of medicines.