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Uploaded:2015-12-08
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From a chocolate chip cookie to a big, juicy strawberry, your favorite sweet snacks have one thing in common: sugar! Join Jessi and learn all about how sugar gets from plants to your kitchen table!

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SOURCES:
http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/resources/highschool/chemmatters/past-issues/archive-2014-2015/candymaking.html
http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&np=284&id=2685
https://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/candy/sugar.html
http://www.indiana.edu/~oso/Fructose/Sources.html
http://www.sucrose.com/lcane.html
http://www.sucrose.com/lbeet.html
[intro plays]

Jessi: Do you like to eat a sweet treat every now and then? I know I do, and lot of us enjoy a cookie or a piece of candy when it’s time for a special goodie. And what’s a birthday without a cake? But as much as we might like special snacks like these, we know that they aren’t good for us, right?

Fortunately, there are lots of healthier choices out there for when we want something sweet to eat. Foods like apples and bananas are full of things that are good for our bodies and they’re also naturally sweet! The reason that both desserts and fruits taste so sweet is thanks to sugar. So where does all that tasty sugar come from?

Believe it or not, the story of sugar starts with the sun! Green plants catch the light from the sun, and then take the energy in the sunlight, and use it with other materials, in the air and water, to make a kind of sugar called glucose. Plants use this glucose as a source of energy, to help them grow. Then, when animals -- including people like us! -- eat plants, our bodies use the glucose in the plants for our own energy, to grow and play. Aw, thanks, plants!

And glucose is just one kind of sugar that comes from plants. The sugar that’s probably in the canisters in your kitchen is another kind of sweet stuff made by plants, called sucrose. Plants move sucrose around from one part of a plant to another, in a liquid called sap. You might already know that we collect sap from maple trees. If you cook the sap for a really long time, until most of the water in the sap is gone, then the sweet stuff that’s left is what we call maple syrup!

But, maple trees are just one plant that we use to get sugar. Most of the sucrose we eat comes from a plant called sugar cane. Sugar cane grows in places where it’s warm all year round... and it’s related to the grass that grows in our lawns. Its long, thick stems are full of sugar, and when the cane is cut down, the stems can be squeezed until all of the sap, or “juice,” comes out.

We also get sucrose from another plant, called a sugar beet. Instead of getting sap from the stem, though, we can crush, cook, and squeeze the root of the sugar beet to get its sweet juice. All of these plants make and store a lot of sucrose, so we use them to make the sugar that fills up our sugar bowls. But how does it get from the plants and into your bowl?

The sugar you eat is made by taking the sap from sugar cane, or the juice from sugar beets, and then heating it, until the water in the juice is gone. As it dries, the particles that make up sugar stick to each other, making little squares that eventually form sweet little crystals!

So, whether it’s maple syrup for your pancakes, or sugar for your sugar cookies, or even a sweet, juicy strawberry, the sugar that you eat comes from plants! And you know what the sweetest part of many plants is? Fruit! Lots of plants store a whole bunch of sugar in their fruits, and, unlike those sticky desserts, fruit also has lots of the other things your body needs to stay healthy.

Thanks for joining us at SciShow Kids! Do you have a question about a food you like? Or anything else? Then get some help from a grown up and leave us a comment, or send us an email at kids@theSciShow.com! See you next time!