We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Foods Contain Monosaccharides?

By Shelby Miller
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Monosaccharides, better known as simple sugars, are the most essential form of carbohydrate. They contain a single sugar molecule like glucose. Glucose, fructose, and galactose are the main monosaccharides found in food, with glucose the most essential as it is the body’s preferred energy source. Also known as dextrose, glucose is found in all kinds of sweet foods but when used commercially tends to be sourced from corn. Fructose is the sugar found in fruit and is the main sugar in honey, and galactose is the less-sweet sugar occurring naturally in milk and sugar beets. It should be noted that many foods, like table sugar, honey, maple syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup contain multiple simple sugars.

Chemically, most monosaccharides are represented by a single formula: Cx(H₂O)y. The symbol C represents carbon, with x representing the number of carbon atoms. These sugars typically contain between three and seven carbons. Glucose, for instance, contains six carbon atoms.

These molecules resemble a chain of carbon atoms with hydrogen and oxygen branching off from either side at various points, so that each molecule resembles a rooftop television antenna. These molecules also possess a varying number of hydrogen and oxygen atoms, as represented by the symbol y, but there are always twice as many hydrogens as oxygens. Fructose, for example, has the chemical formula C₆H₁₂O₆. Monosaccharides are generally crystalline in form, water-soluble, and clear or white in color.

Glucose, fructose, and galactose are found in varying combinations in virtually all carbohydrate-containing and sugary foods, as combinations of these sugars produce disaccharides and polysaccharides. Disaccharides, which are also considered simple sugars, are made up of two sugars and polysaccharides, also known as complex carbohydrates or starches, comprise three or more sugars.

The sugar found in milk, lactose, is a disaccharide of glucose and galactose. Sucrose or table sugar, for instance, is a disaccharide of glucose bonded to fructose. Potatoes, corn, and other starches contain polysaccharides. These typically contain a polymer of glucose, or chains of glucose molecules bonded to one another.

In their simplest forms, however, monosaccharides can be consumed by eating fruit, dairy, or other disaccharide foods like honey. Furthermore, sweeteners used in processed foods generally contain glucose, fructose, or a combination of the two, although fructose is roughly 75 percent sweeter than glucose and therefore is inexpensive to use commercially, as in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.

All monosaccharides are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and therefore provide energy much sooner than slower-digesting complex carbohydrates. As such, they are an essential component of daily nutrition, particularly first thing in the morning or after a workout when one’s blood sugar levels are the lowest. Nutrition experts, however, recommend obtaining these sugars through naturally occurring and nutritious sources like fruit and plain yogurt rather than from sugary processed foods.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.