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Dextrose, also called glucose, it is a sweet substance that those suffering from diabetes must necessarily know, but that we should all know to understand if and when it hurts and what it is for.
Dextrose: what it is
Dextrose, not with this name but with that of glucose, it is a very common sugar, whoever hires it does not necessarily know how to define it from a chemical point of view. In fact it is a monosaccharide, therefore a simple sugar, composed of six carbon atoms. In jargon it is said that he is a greedy.
Let's try to explain why it is called dextrose even if you go a little technical. This chiral compound, in addition to resulting the most abundant enantiomer in nature, it has the habit of rotating the plane of polarized light to the right, it is dextrorotatory, therefore it has taken the name of dextrose. Not all sugars are dextrorotators, let's take the fructose which rotates the poralized light to the left, in fact it is also known as levulose.
Dextrose: where it is found
Dextrose is today the most widespread organic compound in nature. We can find dextrose safely in nature, in the free state, because it is present both in some plants and in ripe fruit but we also find it in the delicious honey. Not free but combined with other monosaccharides like him, dextrose appears in some disaccharides such as sucrose, maltose, lactose and cellobiose. Certain polysaccharides such as starch, glycogen and cellulose also contain it.
We have seen that we can find glucose in nature, but also it can also be produced through industrial processes such as total starch hydrolysis which is obtained by treating corn or potato starch. When our dextrose is extracted from these materials, we obtain a very simple crystalline white powder that can be easily mistaken for sugar before tasting it.
After, however, it soon becomes clear that it is not because it results definitely less sweet. It must be remembered when cooking! This difference that everyone sees, not just those with a developed sense of taste, is due to the fact that sugar is a combination of dextrose and fructose, the latter has a sweetening power one and a half times greater than sugar itself. Our dextrose, on the other hand, has an estimated sweetening power of about 70-75% of that of white table sugar.
Another valuable feature for dextrose is the fact that it is soluble in water and absorbs heat, this explains a kind of magic that happens if you put a little of this sugar on your tongue. Have you ever tried? In addition to the sweet taste, a fresh touch is also felt. Another magical power of dextrose lies in amplifying aromas and is also a good bacteriostatic.
Dextrose in ice cream
Ice cream is not the only food in which we find dextrose but it is certainly one of the first we happen to think of. Let's see others always staying in the kitchen and in the corridors of the supermarket food sector. Glucose is present in many confectionery and bakery products, in packaged biscuits and brioches. Also in the pharmaceutical sector it is used as a sweetener, excipient and energetic substance in various forms, both in tablets, in many syrups and even in many physiological solutions etc.
Returning to ice cream, in this case it serves not only to sweeten the product, more than anything else it is added to avoid the crystallization of the sugar and to lower the freezing point of the mixture. It works because these percentages reach very low levels.
Is dextrose bad for you?
How do you hear from time to time that sugar is bad for dextrose? None of his hurts, it is necessary certainly do not overdo the quantities but this is true with all types of food. Even the much praised vegetables, if you overeat them, become harmful, like the example of cruciferous or at least not so useful.
There is a limit to everything, which can be negotiated but there is, and this also applies to dextrose which in fact should not be eliminated from our diet, unless there are medical prescriptions in this regard. Indeed own glucose is the main energy source of our cells which store it in the form of polymers, in particular starch and glycogen. For us humans dextrose is gasoline for the mind so it is not bad at all, and in addition to being good for the brain, it is also good for red blood cells and is measured in the blood to check their level. It must be 5 mmol / L.
With values that are too high or too low you can have health problems. For diabetes we speak of a blood glucose concentration above the threshold that we have indicated as normal, recommended, on the other hand, in the case in which the values are below the face threshold, a state of neurological suffering may occur.
Diabetes is due to a situation of prolonged hyperglycemia, what happens is that the insulin hormone does not work as it should, creating serious problems.
In the specularly harmful case, that is when you have values so low that they are considered hypoglycemic, compensatory mechanisms are triggered to bring the values back to normal which are not always optimal seen in a more general context. Symptoms can be dizziness, tremors, fatigue, hunger, then below the value of mmol / L 20 you risk going into a hypoglycemic coma.
Dextrose for sweets
Dextrose for sweets, now that we know it doesn't hurt, it can be also purchased online, a 1 kg pack costs 8 euros, it is a powder that can also be used as a food supplement and used after training to recover muscle energy supplies.
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