Gluxose and dextrose

1 May 2018

Variety of sugars in food production market is able to tangle even sufficiently experienced people. For that matter there are still disputes about names of the most popular simple sugar.

Glucose or dextrose are names of the same product and if yes why after all these denominations are different? We can often find information about full identity of these sugars on the Internet. The difference in names is compared with words synonyms (as "sweet" and "luscious"). Is it so from a scientific perspective? The answers are yes and no at the same time…


When the chemistry and physics enter the field

To understand the real difference between denominations of the same substance it is necessary to consider it from the molecular point of view. Glucose has two optical isomers:

  • D-glucose
  • L-glucose

They differ from the physical point of view which way they rotate the plane of polarization. The first isomer does it to the right and the second – to the left. In simple terms distinctions are minimum. Approximately such as reflection and original of subject in a high-quality mirror.

This is enough as important distinction:

L-glucose doesn't occur in the nature anywhere except blood of human being and can be synthesized from any plant products only in small amount in laboratories from D-glucose. D-glucose meets practically in all plants in the form of monomer of chains of starch is perfectly assimilated in human body and is a source of nutrition of brain cells.


Pluses and minuses of different approaches

On the one hand, the ordinary consumer won't delve into these specifics. For him glucose is a concentrated sugar and nothing else. On the other hand producers of sports food have taken the term "dextrose" on board, with its help they do the label of product is a little bit more original.

In case of use of term "Dextrose" it is possible to place an emphasis on naturally occurring origin of product. In modern world where marketing specialists fight for an ecology factor it will play a certain role.


To claim that the dextrose and glucose are different substances is impossible. They differ with physical but not chemical properties. Mentioning of dextrose on packings is outlined against the background of "glucosic" analogs that can be both positive and negative in relation to selling of product by marketing specialists.