Sugar first appeared in India as early as 500 B.C. where they were the first to have a “reed which gives honey without bees”, which presently it is known as a sugar cane. An invasion into India 1000 years later by the Arabs spread the sugar cane to the rest of the world as they brought them with them as they conquered most of Europe, and North Africa. Christopher Colombus later brought sugar to the Americas and so the refining and processing of sugar became an enormous industry.
The table sugar that we use today come from sugar cane and sugar beets. Sugar canes grow in tropical and sub-tropical areas while beets that are apart of the red beet family are grown in temperate climates.
Although sugar is used frequently when baking and is used as a sweetener, there are other functions of sugar in food. Not only does it act as sweetener, but also as a preservative, texture modifier, fermentation substrate, flavoring and coloring agent and bulking agent.
Sugar’s properties allow it to used for non-food purposes such as pharmaceutical and skin treatment. Sugar is a component that is found in cough syrups due to its solubility and bodying effects and is also used as diluent to control the concentration of active ingredients found in the tablets and binds them together. Furthermore, tablets are frequently coated by sugar to protect the exterior from chipping.
Another functional property of sugar for non-food uses is wound healing. Sugar has been proven to treat serious burns and wounds as it creates an environment that does not let bacteria grow on the open wound while also nourishing the damaged tissues to help them re-grow.