Answer: It depends.
Glucose is the primary source of energy for our body cells. We get glucose from food substances we intake, which are carried to the cells through the bloodstream.
We obtain glucose for our body from different products. Any food containing dextrose, a sugar, gets converted to glucose molecules in our blood. Dextrose can be both plant-based and animal-based.
Is Glucose Vegan?
When you ask, “Is glucose vegan?” there is no simple one-word answer. Blood sugar refers to glucose, and its presence in food is found as dextrose. So, dextrose is available as a plant-based product made from starch.
It also exists as cultured dextrose, which makes it non-vegan. So, you can always choose natural dextrose products to suffice your needs.
Read on to know more about whether glucose is vegan.
What Is Glucose?
Glucose, in simple words, is blood sugar. It is the main constituent of sugar in our bloodstream and boosts the energy of the body cells. It is derived from a Greek word that means sweet.
Glucose is also commonly known as dextrose, one of the monosaccharides, a group of carbohydrates. On the other hand, dextrose can be classified into standard dextrose and cultured dextrose.
Dextrose is present in food products which, when consumed, gets broken down into glucose molecules. This replenishes the glucose requirements of the body. The cultured dextrose derived from corn is not a vegan match.
Health Benefits of Glucose
- Glucose helps in balancing blood sugar levels in people having low blood sugar.
- It acts as a carbohydrate calorie substitute for people who cannot eat due to trauma, eating disorders, or other illnesses.
- Glucose is used to treat high levels of potassium in the blood, known as hyperkalemia.
Glucose is known to be conditionally vegan. Some types of glucose are plant-based, whereas others are animal-based.
Historical Insights and Lesser Known Facts About Glucose
Andreas Marggraf, in the year 1747, was the first person to isolate glucose from raisins. The name was inspired by the Greek word glukos, meaning sweet or sugar. Jean Dumas first coined the term.
Emil Fischer discovered the molecular structure of glucose almost at the end of the 19th century. Given below are three facts about this vital energy source:
- The molecular formula of glucose is C6H12O6.
- It is amply found in different carbohydrates, proteins, and fat sources. It is also found in the blood of higher animals.
- It is the primary source of cell function, and the regulation of glucogenesis is extremely important.
Sources of Glucose
Our body’s metabolism breaks down food into energy to help us survive. Although food and calories include proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, the primary energy source is carbohydrates.
Our body breaks down food into glucose. The following are the actual sources of glucose, and you will understand why glucose is conditionally vegan.
Carbohydrates have an immediate effect on our blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates are present in bread, potatoes, rice, yogurt, and milk.
Our body takes time to break down fat into glucose. Thus, you cannot observe an immediate hike in blood sugar levels. The food products include olive oil, butter, etc.
The glucose formed after breaking down proteins is stored in our liver. So, protein intake has little or no impact on our blood glucose level. The sources of proteins include peanut butter, cheese, meat, and so on.
Types of Dextrose
Dextrose can be organic or made through industrial processes called enzymatic hydrolysis. However, you cannot find dextrose directly in nature.
The standard or natural dextrose is vegan and is derived from corn, thus, it is entirely organic and plant-based. Cultured dextrose, on the other hand, is manufactured by industries on a large scale.
These industries often use bone char to refine and filter the sugar. Dextrose is also known to contain milk bacteria at times. Thus, when choosing dextrose, you must carefully check out the required vegan qualities.
8 Vegan Substitutes for Glucose
The following are some plant-based substitutes that will make your life easier with their sweet flavor. Check out these options as you embark on your vegan journey!
It is a plant-based sweetener that can be extracted from two compounds, stevioside and rebaudioside. This natural sweetener is a clear winner because of its zero-calorie promise. It can sweeten 350 times more than generic sugar.
It is a sugar alcohol that bags several health benefits. With very few calories, this substitute does not affect blood sugar levels, cholesterol, or insulin. Our body enzymes cannot break this down, sending it directly into the blood.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk fruit is found in Southeast Asia. This substitute is extracted from monk fruit, nearly 100-250 times sweeter than sugar. This natural alternative with zero calories has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics.
Xylitol comprises 2.4 calories per gram, which is around 40% lesser than that of regular sugar. It is found in many fruits and vegetables, mainly from corn and birch wood. It packs benefits like dental and bone health.
Extracted from the Yacon plant in South America, this substitute contains one-third calories of regular sugar. The taste can increase feelings of satiety, making you feel fuller faster. It feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut and boosts your overall health.
Another natural sweetener that contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals does not cause any changes to blood sugar levels. Although it contains the same calories as table sugar, it is suitable for weight loss programs.
Honey is the easiest replacement for glucose and contains added benefits of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It is sweeter than sugar but fits well into your baking recipes.
Made from dates rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, it adds sufficient nutritional value to your diet. It is an easy alternative to regular sugar and a perfect fit for marinades, salad dressings, and smoothie mixes.
Veganism is a way of living that believes in the sustainable maintenance of life. Thus, we need to find ways not to harm life and better natural alternatives.
Moreover, everyday substances that might seem vegan can surprise you with the truth. Therefore, hoping to have helped you get accustomed to the journey toward veganism, I end this article with good wishes.
Plan your next sweet vegan recipe with these alternatives and check the source of your glucose. Enjoy your vegan-friendly meal with the alternatives suggested in the article.