Have you ever wondered why certain foods spoil, and others doesn’t? Why is it that you keep some foods in the pantry, and others in the refrigerator? Even after being opened, sugar can be kept outside of the refrigerator and it will never spoil. Sugar can be found in many dishes and drinks, yet we often forget the fact that sugar is an incredibly resilient carbohydrate that never spoils.
Why doesn’t sugar spoil? And are these anti-spoiling agents bad for us?
What is sugar?
Although the average human consumes about 24 kilograms of sugar per year, few people know what sugar is actually made of, and where it comes from. Sugar is a carbohydrate that is formed by carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. There exist many different types of sugar, including glucose and fructose.
The table sugar most commonly used is sucrose. We extract sugar from many plants, and especially from sugarcane and sugar beet, which have the highest concentration of sugar.
Why doesn’t sugar spoil?
Sugar dissolves in water (just like salt), which means that it will also draw water into it from whatever it is surrounded by in order to dissolve itself. Sugar, just like salt, can also draw water from anything that has water in it, including the blood of animals (salt is often used to dehydrate meat and preserve it for long periods of time). Bacteria and other microorganisms that latch onto foods and cause them to spoil can’t thrive on sugar, since it will suck out their life force – water!
Does this mean that sugar is bad for the human body? Almost everything in large portions is bad for the human body. Sugar can be poisonous if we consume too much of it, but it never reaches the level of toxicity necessary to be lethal, because we have such a high water content in our bodies.
The amount of sugar we can eat gets diluted in our stomach and bloodstream, so that it’s no longer toxic. But if you’ve ever eaten a lot of sugar, you might notice that you will get thristy. It’s because the sugar using up the water we use in our own bodies as a solvent, so you need more water to re-hydrate your body!
Test out this fun fact
Don’t believe us? Why not test it out for yourself! If you take a ball of cotton candy and leave it out in a humid environment, within but a few days it will completely crystallize because it will absorb the moisture in the air!
Finally – did you know that cotton candy isn’t as bad for your health as you might think? It only takes about 30 grams of sugar to make a normal serving of cotton candy, which is about 9 grams less than a can of Coke. With no fat, no preservatives and only about 115 calories per serving, there are a lot worst things you could eat!
Video: Why Doesn’t Sugar Spoil?
Two foods are left out on the counter – fresh tomatoes and a bowl of sugar. Within a week or so, one will develop black spots and the other remains pristine, albeit perhaps a little clumpy depending on the humidity of the air. The reason? Osmosis.
This video will give you the whole scoop about osmosis and the processes behind the reason why sugar does not spoil!
I’m Natalie Garcia and I started this website to share my love of trivia, facts and fun knowledge tidbits. We cover things like celebrity gossip, historical facts, tv shows, world leaders and just odd and random fun things. I started this site to have some fun with my hobby and share some useful information with you, our community. Please feel to send me your suggestions and feedback through the contact form. And if you have suggestions for things to write about, please shoot me a message!