Invert Sugar: What it Is and its Uses

Have you ever made invert sugar at home? In this article, we explain how to do it and the uses of this very common ingredient.
Invert Sugar: What it Is and its Uses
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

One of the many sweeteners you can find in industrial products is invert sugar. It stands out for its sweetening properties. For this reason, we’re going to tell you what this product is and how to get the most out of it.

Consuming too much invert sugar isn’t healthy. As such, you should consume it sporadically, since it generates harmful insulin peaks. It’s okay to include products that contain it from time to time in your diet. You should, however, avoid consuming it regularly.

How to make invert sugar

To make invert sugar, you must subject table sugar to a chemical reaction called hydrolysis. This process breaks down sucrose to form a mixture of glucose and fructose.

This mechanism can occur spontaneously – for example, when making a jam. Adding lemon to the fruit and sugar causes this break down that produces this product. It’s even possible to find it in nature – for example, in maple syrup.

You can also make invert sugar at home. For this, you need gasifying substances that are common in bakery and pastry-making. These substances are produced from baking soda and tartaric acid.

You need to mix baking soda with table sugar, heating the mixture with water until it boils. Then, incorporate the tartaric acid and cool the mixture to get invert sugar.

A pastry product.
The food industry uses invert sugar to improve texture and flavors.

To know more, you should read: 6 Artificial Sweeteners to Limit Your Sugar Intake

Product uses

Invert sugar is used in industrial products to improve their palatability. This substance also allows you to vary other organoleptic characteristics, such as texture. As it plays a role in fermentation processes, it’s commonly included in bakery products, along with leavenings.

On the other hand, invert sugar is often added to products so they don’t dry out or become rancid too fast. Thus, it helps increase their useful life.

It fulfills a crucial function in ice cream. This ingredient is able to prevent the formation of large ice crystals, which improves the texture of ice cream and facilitates shaping.

This article may also interest you: What are the Effects of Gluten on the Body?

You shouldn’t consume it regularly

Despite its power to improve the taste of foods, you mustn’t forget that invert sugar is also a simple carbohydrate. According to research published in Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, a regular intake of these macronutrients is associated with an increased risk of metabolic diseases.

In addition, consuming fructose-rich foods could trigger liver diseases. There’s scientific evidence that ingesting this substance increases the risk of developing fatty liver.

On the other hand, according to experts, sugar could produce a certain addiction. Thus, experts advise against regularly including any of its variants in your diet. Yes, you can indulge from time to time. You don’t have to cut it out completely or forever.

Invert sugar alternatives

To satisfy your sweet tooth, it’s best to resort to foods that contain a certain amount of fructose, although accompanied by other quality nutrients.

We’re referring here to fruit, and you can include them in your diet in many different ways. The most advisable thing is to eat them as they are. However, you can occasionally crush them and consume them in the form of porridge or puree. Also, you can mix them with other ingredients to make healthy baked goods.

This way, you reduce the impact and pancreatic stress associated with eating table sugar as such. In addition, you provide your body phytonutrients, which have antioxidant properties. This is also a great way to provide your body vitamins, which are essential for proper cell function.

Different fruits.
A healthy way to incorporate sugar into your diet is through the fructose in fruits.

Invert sugar, a powerful sweetener

As you’ve seen, invert sugar is an ingredient obtained from table sugar. Its uses are limited to the elaboration of industrial products.

One of its main characteristics is its ability to improve the taste and texture of food. However, it has a low nutritional value, as it only provides high glycemic index carbohydrates. The intake of these nutrients can affect health in the medium and long-term.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t consume invert sugar from time to time. In fact, you can make it at home and add it to pastry products to make them tastier and improve their texture.

However, if you have a sugar craving, we recommend prioritizing the intake of fruits as such before resorting to table sugar or any of its derivatives.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Stanhope KL., Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: the state of the controversy. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci, 2016.53 (1): 52-67.
  • Casado Pérez, Iker Yeray. “Hidratos de carbono: salud y medioambiente.” (2020).
  • Horst KW., Serlie MJ., Fructose consumption, lipogenesis, and non alcoholic fatty liver disease. Nutrients, 2017.
  • DiNicolantonio JJ., O’Keefe JH., Wilson WL., Sugar addiction: is it real? A narrative review. Br J Sports Med, 2018. 52 (14): 910-913.
  • Cabezas-Zabala, Claudia Constanza, Blanca Cecilia Hernández-Torres, and Melier Vargas-Zárate. “Azúcares adicionados a los alimentos: efectos en la salud y regulación mundial. Revisión de la literatura.” Revista de la Facultad de Medicina 64.2 (2016): 319-329.
  • Esquivel-Solís, Viviana, and Georgina Gómez-Salas. “Implicaciones metabólicas del consumo exesivo de fructosa.” Acta Médica Costarricense 49.4 (2007): 198-202.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.