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Sugars are simple carbohydrates which are made of either simple sugars (monosaccharides) or disaccharides (2 joined monosaccharides). They are generally sweet and a quick source of energy. As a result, they are common in sports drinks, bars, gels, and chews to name a few. They are also typically combined with more complex carbohydrates (like starch) to provide athletes with carbohydrates that convert to usable energy at different speeds (digest at different rates).

Here are the most common sugars:

Simple Sugars (aka monosaccharides)

  • Glucose (dextrose)
  • Fructose (aka fruit sugar)
  • Galactose
  • xylose
  • ribose


  • Sucrose - aka table sugar - is made up of about 50% glucose + 50% fructose
  • Maltose - form when grains like barley germinate to form malt - is made up of 2 glucose molecules
  • Lactose - naturally occuring sugar in milk - is made up of glucose + galactose)


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