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Sugar contains carbohydrates and as this name implies, is composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose, fructose and galactose.
Sugars are found in the tissues of most plants but are only present in sufficient concentrations for efficient extraction in sugarcane and sugar beet. A great expansion of its production took place in the 18th century with the setting up of sugar plantations in the West Indies and Americas. After cereals and vegetable oils, sugar derived from sugar cane and beets provides more kilocalories per capita per day on average than other food groups.
According to the FAO, about 24 kilograms of sugar, equivalent to over 260 food calories per day, was, on average, consumed annually per person of all ages in the world in 1999. In 2008, total American per capita consumption of sugar and sweeteners, exclusive of artificial sweeteners, equalled 61.9 kilograms per year.
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