Types of Sugar

Not all types of sugar are equal! Information about various types of sugar and sugar substitutes can be found to the left under ‘Types of Sugar’.

What are the most important things I have to know about types of sugar and sugar substitutes?

The most widely used sweeteners are:

• various types of sugar
• sugar alcohols (sugar substitutes)
• artificial sweeteners


The term ‘sugar’ is generally used synonymously with ‘refined sugar’, but in the professional field, ‘sugar’ is the umbrella term for all kinds of sugars. The most important types of sugar are fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose and sucrose (that is the main component of household sugar).

Sugar Alcohols (Sugar Substitutes)

Sugar alcohols occur naturally in some types of fruit: Cherries and plums, for example, exhibit a high concentration of sorbitol. These are sweet-tasting carbohydrates that, artificially manufactured, are often used as a substitute for household sugar, but also for other purposes, e.g. sorbitol as a humectant. The most common sugar substitutes are sorbitol (E 420), mannitol (E 421), isomalt (E 965) and xylitol (E967). They all have a laxative effect in common, which must of late be stated on packaging as “May have a mild laxative effect“.

Artificial Sweeteners

These are sweeteners and sugar substitutes that have been chemically manufactured, e.g. aspartame, acesulfame, saccharine and cyclamate. In contrast to sugar substitutes, they are many times sweeter than household sugar.

You can find more information under Artificial Sweeteners.