Sucrose, or ordinary table sugar, contains pure carbohydrate energy. Made of two different single sugar molecules, fructose and glucose, sucrose sweetens foods, but contains no other nutritional benefit.
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Sugar contains 3.87 calories per gram, or 16 calories per teaspoon. In comparison, high fructose corn syrup contains about 2.81 calories per gram, while honey contains 3.04 calories per gram.
To decrease caloric intake, many people choose to use sucrose substitutes. Each substitute has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some work well sweetening beverages, others work better in baking, as sugar not only sweetens a product, it affects texture, and helps in the rising and browning process.
Many sugar substitutes claim to have 0 calories per serving. However, the government label requirements indicate that if an item has less than 5 calories per serving, it can be labeled as 0 calories. Manufacturers take advantage of that rule, labeling their product as having 0 calories per teaspoon serving, when in reality, a teaspoon contains between 2 to 4 calories. This makes a difference when baking; a cup of artificial sweetener will not have 0 calories, but instead, may contain between 96 to 190 calories.