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6 Amazing Uses of Sugar Besides Food and Beverage Consumption

Ryan has been an online writer for over a decade and loves to share and educate.

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Every man, woman, and child on Earth loves sugar, and rightfully so. Besides sweetening our foods and drinks, or preserving their shelf life and color, sugar can yield many other benefits to one’s lifestyle. This isn’t a full endorsement, however, as the substance has been linked to some serious health issues. But its vast uses and benefits shouldn’t be ignored.

Sugar has been widely used by mankind since its discovery over 10,000 years ago and has undergone many changes since then. All of its uses and their benefits have been there from the start–only to be discovered and culminated throughout its journey across history.

Whether it's for making medicine, providing personal wealth, or helping us to reach the stars, sugar has helped to shape our legacy as a species in more ways than one. Here is a small list of amazing uses that sugar brings to the table that aren’t food and beverage related:

Decadence

Before sugar became widely distributed, it was once considered a symbol of wealth. Between the 11th and 12th centuries, when sugar was still exclusive to warm climate regions like the Middle East and required imports to colder countries, the European nobles saw it as a rare commodity and even compared it to jewelry. As such, they would horde it and place it on display for decadence–going as far as to make sculptures out of it.

At the turn of the 13th century, however, the Europeans found more effective cost-cutting ways of acquiring the commodity (Slavery being one of them), and sugar would eventually become more widely distributed and less of a rare commodity. But it currently remains a vital commodity nonetheless.

An antiseptic alternative

Besides its uses in the kitchen, sugar can also be used in the operating room. The simplest medical use for it is an alternative to antiseptics. Thanks to its hygroscopic properties (meaning it has the ability to draw and lock in moisture), sugar can be applied to cuts and bruises to slow the growth of microorganisms that would infect them upon exposure.

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Also, given the wide variety of sugar, especially in modern times, it makes for a handy alternative during a medical emergency.

Organic compounds

Crops containing high amounts of sugar are used to produce organic compounds that have a variety of uses. Ethanol, for example, is a compound that’s extracted from sugar canes and beets through fermentation (consumption by yeast).

The ethanol is then used to produce a number of products widely used today including medicines, biofuel, solvents, heating agents, cleaning agents, and many more. besides fuel, sugar can also be used to produce bioplastics which in turn can be used to produce materials, including panels, packaging, toys, and many more.

Skincare

Unknown to some, sugar possesses moisturizing and exfoliating properties, making it an ideal ingredient in certain cosmetics. Particularly, skin care products make the most of these properties and are widely available today. Moisturizers use it on dry skin while face masks and body scrubs use it to exfoliate their surfaces.

Commodity trading

Like most agricultural commodities, sugar is traded on the worldwide market and can fetch a high market price for major producers if conditions are good. In fact, it is among the top 15 globally traded commodities of the food market today.

Given the sheer amount of uses it has, sugar might never lose all of its global market value. In fact, the only way for that to become possible is for the world to end.

Pest control

There are a number of pests that can wreak havoc on gardens. But when it comes to dealing with nematodes, in particular, the cheapest and simplest solution is sugar. When applied to plants and soil, the sugar acts as food for microorganisms that will increase the biological matter present and thus thwart the nematodes' advancements in the garden.

Sugar is also great against roaches and other bugs but some preparation is in order. Mixing equal parts of sugar and baking powder produces a death trap for the critters. The sugar attracts the pest and when eaten, the baking powder forms into bubbles when in contact with moisture and asphyxiates them from the inside. Quick and nasty.

© 2022 Ryan Fanus

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