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Sugar vs. Glucose: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Sugar is a broad term for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, while glucose is a specific type of simple sugar and a primary source of energy for cells.
Sugar vs. Glucose

Key Differences

Sugar refers to any of the various sweet, crystalline substances derived from plants like sugarcane and sugar beets, consisting mainly of sucrose. Glucose, on the other hand, is a specific simple sugar that is used by the body's cells for energy, and it is a monosaccharide, the simplest form of carbohydrate.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
Sugar is a generic term that encompasses different types of sweeteners including glucose, fructose, and sucrose (which is actually a molecule made up of glucose and fructose). Glucose is a specific sugar molecule that circulates in the blood of animals and is often referred to as "blood sugar."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
In culinary contexts, when people refer to sugar, they are typically talking about table sugar, which is sucrose, used to sweeten food and drinks. Glucose is often found in fruits, honey, and is also available as a commercial product, sometimes used in sports drinks for quick energy because it is directly absorbed into the bloodstream.
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Nov 08, 2023
While all glucose is sugar, not all sugars are glucose. For example, table sugar, while it contains glucose, also contains an equal amount of fructose, which is another type of simple sugar. Glucose can also be a building block for more complex carbohydrates like starches and dietary fiber.
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Nov 08, 2023
The body metabolizes all sugars into glucose to some extent because glucose is the primary fuel that cells use for metabolic energy. However, the body breaks down different sugars at different rates. Glucose, being a simple sugar, requires less breakdown than complex sugars like sucrose.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

General term for sweet-tasting carbs
Specific type of simple sugar, monosaccharide
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Types

Includes glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc.
One type of sugar, specifically a monosaccharide
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Source

Derived from sugarcane, beets, fruits
Found in fruits, honey, bodily fluids
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Usage

Commonly used as sweetener
Used for energy in sports drinks, medical treatments
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Metabolism

Metabolized into simpler forms
Directly used by body cells for energy
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Sugar and Glucose Definitions

Sugar

A sweet crystalline substance
She added a spoonful of sugar to her coffee.
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Nov 08, 2023

Glucose

A monosaccharide found in the bloodstream
The doctor checked the patient's glucose levels.
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Nov 08, 2023

Sugar

A commercial product used for sweetening
The company produces organic sugar from sugarcane.
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Glucose

A commercially available product
He bought a glucose syrup for baking.
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Nov 08, 2023

Sugar

A sweet crystalline or powdered substance, white when pure, consisting of sucrose obtained mainly from sugarcane and sugar beets and used in many foods, drinks, and medicines to improve their taste. Also called table sugar.
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Oct 19, 2023
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Glucose

A sweet-tasting soluble substance
Glucose tastes less sweet than table sugar.
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Sugar

Any of a class of water-soluble crystalline carbohydrates, including sucrose and lactose, having a characteristically sweet taste and classified as monosaccharides, disaccharides, and trisaccharides.
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Oct 19, 2023

Glucose

A simple sugar and primary energy source
Cells convert glucose into energy.
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Nov 08, 2023

Sugar

A unit, such as a lump or cube, in which sugar is dispensed or taken.
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Oct 19, 2023

Glucose

A component of various carbohydrates
Glucose molecules bond to form starch.
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Nov 08, 2023

Sugar

(Slang) Sweetheart. Used as a term of endearment.
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Oct 19, 2023

Glucose

A monosaccharide sugar, C6H12O6, that is used by living things to obtain energy through the process of aerobic respiration within cells. It is the principal circulating sugar in the blood of humans and other mammals.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

To coat, cover, or sweeten with sugar.
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Oct 19, 2023

Glucose

A colorless to yellowish syrupy mixture of dextrose, maltose, and dextrins containing about 20 percent water, used in confectionery, alcoholic fermentation, tanning, and treating tobacco. Also called starch syrup.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

To make less distasteful or more appealing.
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Glucose

(carbohydrate) A simple monosaccharide (sugar) with a molecular formula of C6H12O6; it is a principle source of energy for cellular metabolism.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

To form sugar.
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Oct 19, 2023

Glucose

A variety of sugar occurring in nature very abundantly, as in ripe grapes, and in honey, and produced in great quantities from starch, etc., by the action of heat and acids. It is only about half as sweet as cane sugar. Called also dextrose, grape sugar, diabetic sugar, and starch sugar. See Dextrose.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

To form granules; granulate.
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Oct 19, 2023

Glucose

Any one of a large class of sugars, isometric with glucose proper, and including levulose, galactose, etc.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

To make sugar or syrup from sugar maple sap. Often used with off.
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Oct 19, 2023

Glucose

The trade name of a sirup, obtained as an uncrystallizable reside in the manufacture of glucose proper, and containing, in addition to some dextrose or glucose, also maltose, dextrin, etc. It is used as a cheap adulterant of sirups, beers, etc.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

(uncountable) Sucrose in the form of small crystals, obtained from sugar cane or sugar beet and used to sweeten food and drink.
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Oct 19, 2023

Glucose

A monosaccharide sugar that has several forms; an important source of physiological energy
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

(countable) A specific variety of sugar.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

Any of various small carbohydrates that are used by organisms to store energy.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

(countable) A small serving of this substance (typically about one teaspoon), used to sweeten a drink.
He usually has his coffee white with one sugar.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

(countable) A term of endearment.
I'll be with you in a moment, sugar.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

A kiss.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

Effeminacy in a male, often implying homosexuality.
I think John has a little bit of sugar in him.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

Diabetes.
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Sugar

(dated) Anything resembling sugar in taste or appearance, especially in chemistry.
Sugar of lead (lead acetate) is a poisonous white crystalline substance with a sweet taste.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

Compliment or flattery used to disguise or render acceptable something obnoxious; honeyed or soothing words.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

Heroin.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

Money.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

(programming) syntactic sugar.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

(transitive) To add sugar to; to sweeten with sugar.
John heavily sugars his coffee.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

(transitive) To make (something unpleasant) seem less so.
She has a gift for sugaring what would otherwise be harsh words.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

In making maple sugar, to complete the process of boiling down the syrup till it is thick enough to crystallize; to approach or reach the state of granulation; with the preposition off.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

(entomology) To apply sugar to trees or plants in order to catch moths.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

To rewrite (source code) using syntactic sugar.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

(transitive) To compliment (a person).
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

To remove hair using a paste of sugar, water, and lemon juice.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

(minced oath) Used in place of shit!
Oh, sugar!
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

A sweet white (or brownish yellow) crystalline substance, of a sandy or granular consistency, obtained by crystallizing the evaporated juice of certain plants, as the sugar cane, sorghum, beet root, sugar maple, etc. It is used for seasoning and preserving many kinds of food and drink. Ordinary sugar is essentially sucrose. See the Note below.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

By extension, anything resembling sugar in taste or appearance; as, sugar of lead (lead acetate), a poisonous white crystalline substance having a sweet taste.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

Compliment or flattery used to disguise or render acceptable something obnoxious; honeyed or soothing words.
Why, do not or know you, grannam, and that sugar loaf?
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

In making maple sugar, to complete the process of boiling down the sirup till it is thick enough to crystallize; to approach or reach the state of granulation; - with the preposition off.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

To impregnate, season, cover, or sprinkle with sugar; to mix sugar with.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

To cover with soft words; to disguise by flattery; to compliment; to sweeten; as, to sugar reproof.
With devotion's visageAnd pious action we do sugar o'erThe devil himself.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

A white crystalline carbohydrate used as a sweetener and preservative
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Sugar

An essential structural component of living cells and source of energy for animals; includes simple sugars with small molecules as well as macromolecular substances; are classified according to the number of monosaccharide groups they contain
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

Informal terms for money
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Sugar

Sweeten with sugar;
Sugar your tea
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Oct 19, 2023

Sugar

A term for various soluble carbohydrates
The recipe called for brown sugar.
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Sugar

An informal term for affection or endearment
Thanks for the help, sugar, he said with a smile.
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Sugar

Chemically, a carbohydrate
Nutrition labels list how many grams of sugar are in food.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can consuming sugar affect blood glucose levels?

Yes, consuming sugar can raise blood glucose levels.
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Nov 08, 2023

Are sugars like glucose harmful in excess?

Excess intake of any sugar, including glucose, can lead to health issues.
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Nov 08, 2023

Is glucose healthier than other sugars?

"Healthier" depends on context; glucose is the body's preferred energy source.
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Nov 08, 2023

How does the body use glucose compared to other sugars?

The body uses glucose directly for energy, while other sugars need to be broken down first.
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Nov 08, 2023

Are sugar and glucose the same thing?

No, glucose is a type of sugar, but sugar can be several different types of carbohydrates.
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Nov 08, 2023

Can the body convert all sugars to glucose?

Most digestible carbohydrates are eventually converted into glucose.
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Is glucose used in medical treatments?

Yes, glucose solutions are used to treat low blood sugar and dehydration.
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Nov 08, 2023

Does the taste of sugar indicate its type?

Taste alone doesn't indicate type, as all sugars taste sweet, but to different degrees.
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Nov 08, 2023

Is table sugar the same as glucose?

No, table sugar, or sucrose, is made up of glucose and fructose.
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Nov 08, 2023

Is honey a type of sugar or glucose?

Honey contains sugars, including glucose and fructose.
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Nov 08, 2023

Do all sugars taste as sweet as glucose?

No, different sugars vary in sweetness; fructose is sweeter than glucose.
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Nov 08, 2023

Do fruits contain glucose or just sugar?

Fruits contain glucose, fructose, and sometimes sucrose.
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Nov 08, 2023

Can I buy glucose as a sweetener?

Yes, glucose is available as a commercial sweetener.
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Nov 08, 2023

How does the body respond to artificial sugars compared to glucose?

The body may not metabolize artificial sugars for energy like it does glucose.
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Nov 08, 2023

Does the body need sugar or glucose?

The body needs glucose as an energy source, which can come from sugars.
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Nov 08, 2023

How is glucose production regulated in the body?

The body regulates glucose production through hormones like insulin and glucagon.
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Nov 08, 2023

Are all sugars carbohydrates?

Yes, all sugars, including glucose, are carbohydrates.
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Nov 08, 2023

What role does insulin play with sugar and glucose?

Insulin helps regulate the use and storage of glucose in the body.
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Nov 08, 2023

Can sugar substitutes replace glucose in the diet?

Sugar substitutes can replace the sweetness but not the energy function of glucose.
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Do all cells use glucose?

Most human cells prefer glucose for energy, but some can use other sources.
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Nov 08, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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