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Dextrose and Glucose are synonyms for the same molecular ingredient. Glucose (dextrose) is the "sugar" the human body uses, so is often called "blood sugar".

Glucose is the simple sugar (monosaccharide) that is the building block of larger, more complex sugars (disaccharides and polysaccharides) like starch. Glucose is a six-carbon monosaccharide: C6H12O6. Glucose or dextrose is the form of sugar that the human body takes up and uses for energy for its survival. Most dietary carbohydrates are made from glucose plus another sugar: starch (polymers of glucose and disaccharides); sucrose (glucose-fructose); lactose (glucose-galactose); maltose and isomaltose, which are dimers of glucose.

These complex carbohydrates are broken down in the gut to glucose/dextrose and absorbed into the body. Glucose then forms the store of energy in the bloodstream and so taken to muscles to do the work of the body.

Sources of glucose include:

  • Refined "glucose powder" is almost pure glucose and is sold as a dietary supplement. It is often available as glucose tablets, which enables "invalids" to get sugars straight into the bloodstream without any digestion.
  • Most of the industrial glucose is refined corn syrup, which contains both glucose, some maltose and a quite large amount of dextrin. The corn syrup is manufactured through the hydrolysis of corn starch to yield glucose.
  • Pure glucose drinks are good sources of instant energy for sports people.

Further Reading

  • Bender, D.A. (2005) Oxford Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198609612.
  • Davidson, A. (1999) The Oxford Companion to Food, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0192115790.
  • Stobart, T. (1981) The Cook's Encyclopedia: ingredients & processes, Harper & Row. ISBN 0060141271.