Invert sugar is most commonly used as a sweetener in a variety of food items such as cakes, soft drinks, candies, etc. It is essentially derived from sucrose which is commonly known as table sugar.
Invert sugar has a lot of other names which include the following:
- Honey – Honeybees usually produce an enzyme known as invertase which lets them naturally break down sucrose to invert sugar in the form of glucose and fructose.
- Artificial Honey – It is actually the same as inverted sugar syrup but is sometimes called “artificial honey” due to its honey-like flavor.
- Inverted Sugar Syrup – This liquid syrup is used in commercial baking; it is made with invert cane sugar and is also available to people to purchase it as a liquid sweetener which can be added in cold beverages.
- Invert Maple Syrup – Mostly all maple syrups contain a small amount of invert sugar, but this type is used to create higher levels. It is used in maple-flavored frostings, chocolates candies, lollipops, and other maple confections.
What is Invert Sugar?
Invert sugar is procured from table sugar (sucrose). Sucrose is a disaccharide (di meaning two, hence known as double sugars) meaning it consists of two monosaccharides or simple sugars that is glucose and fructose which are subjected to hydrolysis which is a chemical reaction involving heat, enzymes and water, resulting in the breakage of bonds between glucose and fructose, releasing half free glucose and half free fructose. This solution of half free glucose and half free fructose is known as Invert sugar.
Invert sugar is most commonly found in the following food items:’
- Granola bars
- Baked items
- Ice cream
- Soft drinks
- Flavored Syrups
While table sugar or sucrose is dextrorotatory in nature, that is, it has the ability of rotating the plane polarized light clockwise, invert sugar is laevorotatory in nature, that is, it has the ability of rotating the plane polarized light in the anticlockwise direction. Hence invert sugar acquired this name specifically due to its physical property of rotating plane polarized light.
How to make Invert Sugar?
Invert sugar can be easily made by us at home. Here is the step by step process for making invert sugar at home –
- Take 4 cups of table sugar table sugar and 2 cups of water in a saucepan
- Boil it over 114°C with frequent stirring
- Add Lemon juice or citric acid to break the bond between glucose and fructose Lemon juice acts as a catalyst and has an enzymatic effect on the sucrose solution
- Cool down the solution formed and your invert sugar is ready
- You can store it in a refrigerator
The shelf life of this homemade invert sugar syrup is about 6 months.
Invert sugar is commercially available too and can be purchased online.
Is Invert Sugar Healthier Than Sugar?
Though invert sugar exhibits the different chemical properties as compared to sugar but is the same nutritionally.
Invert sugar is liquid in form and is generally sweeter than sugar. Whereas, sugar is present in granules and is not as sweet as invert sugar. Both standard sugar and invert sugar has around 16 calories per teaspoon (a teaspoon equals 4 grams). Invert sugar contains a mixture of glucose and fructose, which are both naturally occurring sugars and are sweeter than sucrose. This increased sweetness can be advantageous in recipes that require less sugar to achieve the same level of sweetness.
The main advantage of invert sugar is that it is more easily digestible than sucrose. It has already undergone partial hydrolysis, which means the body can absorb its constituent sugars, glucose and fructose, more rapidly.
While the nutritional content in terms of calories may be similar, the differences in sweetness, physical state, and digestibility can make invert sugar a preferred choice in specific culinary and food production contexts. However, it should still be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, as excessive sugar consumption in any form can have health implications.
Invert Sugar: Nutritional Facts
The composition of fifty percent inverted sugar syrup includes one half that is made up of half sucrose or table sugar, while the other half is made up of inverted glucose and fructose. Sugar syrup which contains one hundred percent of inverted sugar includes only inverted glucose and fructose and no sucrose.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has shown that one tablespoon of inverted sugar syrup consists approximately:
- 11.8 grams carbohydrates
- 11.8 grams sugar
- 46 calories
- Zero fiber
- Zero fat
- Zero protein
The composition of Invert Sugar syrup which is commercially available is as follows:
Benefits of Invert Sugar
At room temperature, invert sugar is comparatively more soluble than table sugar. When we add a spoonful of sugar to cold beverages, it resides at the bottom of the cup because sugar doesn’t dissolve well in cold liquids.
On the other hand, invert sugar dissolves well in cold liquids. That’s why it’s commonly used in sweeteners and syrups for cold beverages.
Inverted sugar has plenty of benefits such as:
- Sweetness Enhancement: Invert sugar is sweeter than regular sugar (sucrose). This means that you can achieve the same level of sweetness in your recipes with less sugar. Using less sugar can be beneficial for calorie-conscious or health-conscious consumers.
- Improved Texture: Invert sugar has hygroscopic properties, which means it attracts and retains moisture. This can enhance the texture of various food products, such as baked goods, candies, and confections, making them softer and less prone to drying out.
- Anti-Crystallization: Invert sugar is less likely to crystallize than sucrose. This quality is particularly useful in the production of syrups, frostings, and confections, where preventing crystallization is essential for the desired texture and consistency.
- Extended Shelf Life: Invert sugar’s moisture-retaining properties can help extend the shelf life of products by preventing them from becoming stale or hard too quickly.
- Better Flavor Profile: Invert sugar can enhance the flavor of food products. Its ability to retain moisture can improve the overall taste, and its sweetness can enhance the perception of sweetness in the final product.
- Acid-Resistance: Invert sugar is more resistant to acid hydrolysis than sucrose. This makes it suitable for use in acidic food products like fruit preserves, jams, and acidic beverages.
- Versatile Application: Invert sugar is used in a wide range of food and beverage products, including baked goods, confectionery, beverages, and more. Its versatility in various culinary applications makes it a valuable ingredient for chefs and food manufacturers.
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Invert sugar has a lot of perks which includes its use in food industries professionally to add flavor and texture to various food items. It has an improved shelf life compared to table sugar and can be preserved and used for a longer duration.
But you must remember that inverted sugar is equally risky as normal sugar and must be carefully consumed. Invert sugar is not a replacement for sugar and is not recommended for diabetics. Excessive consumption of invert sugar can lead to cardiac disorders, obesity, fatigue, diabetes, tooth decay etc. Limited consumption is recommended.