What Is Glucose Syrup?

Young man holding up glass of beer in bar, smiling, portrait
Glucose syrup may be used to make your favorite beer. (Image: Rayes/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

While glucose is the fuel for your body, consuming it in syrup form isn't going to boost your energy levels. Like other forms of sugar, glucose syrup is simply an added sweetener. It's OK to include small amounts of food that contain glucose syrup in your diet, but too much may lead to weight gain.

Simple Sugar

Glucose is a monosaccharide, which means it is a single molecule and often referred to as a simple sugar. Glucose is found naturally in fruits and honey, and it's also found in processed foods. Glucose syrup is created by hydrolyzing, or breaking apart, the strings of glucose molecules that make up starchy foods. Glucose syrup is most commonly made from cornstarch, but wheat, potatoes and rice are also used to make the sweetener.

Glucose Syrup Nutrition

Glucose syrup may be fat-free, but it's a concentrated source of calories and offers very little nutritional value. A 1-tablespoon serving contains 62 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrates, all in the form of sugar. Glucose syrup made from corn contains a small amount of calcium, zinc and thiamine but not a significant amount. For comparison, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar contains 50 calories and 13 grams of carbohydrates in the form of sugar and an insignificant amount of iron and riboflavin.

Glucose Syrup Uses

Glucose syrup is a liquid sweetener that is well-tolerated and very versatile. It's often used in commercial canned and baked goods as well as to make beer. At home, you might use corn syrup as an ingredient in your baked sweets, from cookies to cakes, or as a sweetener in your iced tea or homemade lemonade.

Sugar in Moderation

Glucose syrup helps make food taste better, but you don't need it, or any other added sugar, to survive. The American Heart Association warns that foods made with added sugars such as glucose syrup may lead to extra calories and weight gain. You don't need to cut sweet foods out of your diet altogether, however. For health and weight control, women should limit their daily intake of calories from sugar to 100 calories and men 150 calories, says the AHA.

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