What are inverted sugars?

Inverted or invert sugar is a mixture of glucose and fructose; it is obtained by splitting sucrose into these two components. The mixture is sold as a viscous liquid and is often referred to as trimoline or invert syrup. Compared to sucrose, inverted sugar is sweeter and its products (glucose and fructose) tend to retain moisture and are less prone to crystallization.

chemistry of inverted sugar

Image Above :The disaccharide sucrose (table sugar) can be split in a hydrolysis reaction The hydrolysis can be induced simply by heating an aqueous solution of sucrose, but catalysts such as lemon juice or cream of tartar can be added to accelerate the conversion. The mixture when boiled to 236°F (114°C) will convert enough of the sucrose to effectively prevent crystallization, without giving a noticeably sour taste. Invert sugar syrup may also be produced without the use of acids or enzymes by thermal means alone: two parts granulated sucrose and one part water simmered for five to seven minutes will convert a modest portion to invert sugar.

Note: Inverted sugar is automatically produced when making jams since when by combining the sugar with the acid in the fruit and heating. Most of the sugar in honey is also inverted sugar.

What is the difference between inverted sugar and High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) ?

While the end results are very similar differing only in the ratios of glucose to fructose the processes used to make them are very different. HFCS is produced by enzymatic ally converting corn syrup almost entirely to glucose and then adding other enzymes that change some of the glucose into fructose. The resulting syrup (after enzyme conversion) contains approximately 42% fructose and is HFCS 42. Some of the 42% fructose can then purified to other forms of HFCS e.g., 90% fructose, HFCS 90, and HFCS 55. The most widely used varieties of HFCS are: HFCS 55 (mostly used in soft drinks), approximately 55% fructose and 42% glucose; and HFCS 42 (used in beverages, processed foods, cereals, and baked goods), approximately 42% fructose and 53% glucose. Inverted sugar has a ratio of 50:50 (glucose to fructose).

Uses of Inverted Sugar 

Invert sugar is used in confectionary preparations (giving them added moisture) and in the preparation of sorbets and ice cream since it has the ability for controlling crystallization and creating a smoother mouth feel.

See how to make inverted sugar.

Related Science of Cooking Pages

The Moleular Basis of Taste -- Taste Molecules

The Sugar Molecules: SucroseFructose,Glucose

How to prevent ice crystals from forming in sorbet