Sugar is a name for a class of sweet-flavored substances used as food. They are carbohydrates and as this name means they are composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
Simple sugars are called monosaccharide and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose and galactose. The table or granulated sugar most customarily used as food is sucrose, a disaccharide. Other disaccharides include maltose and lactose.
Sugars are found in the tissues of most plants but are only present in sufficient concentrations for efficient extraction in sugarcane and sugar beet. Sugarcane is a giant grass and has been cultivated in tropical climates in the Far East since ancient times. Sugar beet is a root crop and is cultivated in cooler climates and became a major source of sugar in the 19th century. Sugar production and trade has changed the course of human history in many ways. It influenced the formation of colonies, the perpetuation of slavery, the transition to indentured labor, the migration of peoples, wars between 19th century sugar trade controlling nations and the ethnic composition and political structure of the new world.

The world produced about 168 million tons of sugar in 2011. The average person consumes about 24 kilograms of sugar each year (33.1 kg in industrialized countries), equivalent to over 260 food calories per person, per day.

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