Can sugar go bad? Does sugar go bad? Sugar facts - Food facts

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Thursday, 30/06/2016 10:06

Here in this article, we will find the answer for does sugar go bad, can sugar go bad, does brown sugar go bad. Let's check out for the answer and get more interesting sugar facts. Food facts.

Sugar facts for kids

Does sugar go bad?

Sugar facts - Can sugar go bad

When it comes to the shelf life of sugar, it is pretty much indefinite. That means you can keep it for years and after that time it will still be fine to use. However, there are some minor issues with sugar. Hardening is the first one and I’m pretty sure you know about it. There are some ways to store sugar so it won’t harden. First and foremost, keep sugar away from any kind of moisture. Sugar is a huge water absorber, so when it finds even a tiny bit of water, it absorbs the water and sugar starts to harden forming clumps. This isn’t unsafe for the sugar itself, but it makes scooping a tiny amount of sugar pretty difficult. You can also check out sugar facts and nutrition for more information about sugar.

Why sugar doesn't go bad?

Two foods are left out on the counter – fresh tomatoes and a bowl of sugar. Within a week or so, one will develop black spots and the other remains pristine, albeit perhaps a little clumpy depending on the humidity of the air. The reason? Osmosis.

Brown sugar

 Brown sugar

While microorganisms love sugar, they also need a certain amount of water to thrive. This level of freely available water, called “water activity (aw),” for bacteria is about 0.91, for molds it is 0.8 and for fungi (yeasts), it must be at least 0.6. The aw of fresh foods is generally about 0.99, while crystalline sucrose (table sugar) is a paltry .06.

In its crystal form bone dry, sucrose (C12H22O11) loves to bind with water (H20). When present in sufficient concentrations, table sugar will suck all of the water around it. This is why sugar is an excellent food preservative. Via osmosis, the sugar pulls the available water from within the foodstuff, reducing the food’s aw, thus making it unsuitable for microbes to grow, or even survive.

More specifically, at the outer edge of a cell is its membrane, a semi-permeable barrier that allows some substances, including nutrients and wastes, to move in and out.  With a higher concentration of sugar outside the cell, the solution is hypertonic, meaning it will draw water from the cell, causing the bacteria (or whatever cell) to shrivel and die. (The reverse could potentially happen as well if the sugar concentration was higher inside the cell, hypotonic, with it drawing water in, perhaps to the point of bursting the cell.)

Sugar funny pictures

 Sugar funny pictures

On a chemical level, it’s pretty interesting as well. Notice all the hydrogen and oxygen involved; between the two molecules, there are 24 hydrogen atoms and 12 oxygen. Each oxygen atom has a slight negative charge and each hydrogen atom has a slight positive charge, and in chemistry, opposites attract. Together, all of these hydrogen and oxygen atoms pull at each other – initially to form their respective molecules (table sugar or water), and then in the process that kills the microbe.

Overall, the answer to the main question “can sugar go bad" is negative, if you’ll store sugar properly, it won’t spoil or expire, it can last many years and still be fine. Just make sure any moisture or bugs can’t reach it and it’ll be fine.

Check out for more interesting, crazy, weird but true, amazing, funny facts, facts of life, fun fact of the day. 

Ryan Carter

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