Effects of smoking cigarettes Essay

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effects of smoking cigarettes



What exactly do we mean by sugar? Most people would answer by describing the white
granulated sugar found on the meal table. That is however only part of the answer. Table
sugar is sucrose and is only one of a number of different sugars all of which belong to
the carbohydrate group of basic energy foods.

CARBOHYDRATES
Sugars are a major form of carbohydrate and are found in probably all green plants. They
occur in significant amounts in most fruits and vegetables. There are three main simple
sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose. Sucrose is in fact a combination of fructose and
glucose and the body quickly breaks it down into these separate substances.

Lactose, another sugar very similar to sucrose, is an important component of milk and other dairy foods.
To understand the role of sugar as a foodstuff, one needs to look more closely at
carbohydrates. These are the basic energy foods which provide most directly the energy
that all green plants produce and store. The two main carbohydrate categories are sugars
and starches.

The sugars are the simpler of the two. Starch molecules can be considered as sugar
molecules strung together (rather loosely) in chains. These, more complex starch
carbohydrates, are found in potatoes, rice, bread, pasta and cereals.

All sugars and starches are broken down and used by the body as glucose, which is the body's primary energy source.
THE NEED FOR ENERGY
All food energy derives originally from the sun and its effect on green plant life. The
sun's energy acts upon the green chemical chlorophyll in the leaves of plants to produce
sugars and starches from the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the water from the
roots. These carbohydrates (starches and sugars) act as the plant's food and energy
supply. The scientific name for the process is photosynthesis.


The human body which has a constant need for energy cannot obtain it from photosynthesis
and so it is largely dependent on the carbohydrates (energy) that are derived from plants.
Energy for a balanced human diet is supplied by carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

A BALANCED DIET
A balanced diet can (and should) come from a variety of different foods, calculated to
give the desired levels of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional scientists advocate that carbohydrates should provide at least 50% of our
energy requirements - i.e. energy not alone for physical activity but also for all other
continuous processes such as breathing, thinking, eating and sleeping.

All carbohydrates are acted upon by the body to provide the necessary glucose supply for
energy. The brain in particular must have a constant supply of glucose. If this is not
readily available from ingested carbohydrate stores, then the body will have to
increasingly turn to a process known as glucogenesis. This describes the production of
glucose from non-carbohydrate sources such as fats and proteins.

SUGAR'S ROLE
Starches provide the larger part of our carbohydrate needs. The sugars which nature
provides alongside the starches in our food supply have also a very special role to play
in human metabolism. For primitive man the sweet taste probably acted as a signal that the
food was safe to eat. For modern man sugar is used to improve the palatability of many
foods and can thereby encourage a more varied diet. For example, a grapefruit is an
excellent source of Vitamin C which most people find too bitter to take without sugar.
Likewise, many breakfast cereals may be lacking in taste and may actually contain too much
fibre unless some sugar is added to them.




1. Sugar Production
All green plants make sugars. Through water and minerals in the soil and absorbing carbon
dioxide (CO2) from the air they produce chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll uses light energy from the sun to combine CO2 and water (H2O) to produce
sugar. Plants also release Oxygen (O2) into the air as a by-product.

The process by which plants make sugar is photosynthesis from the Greek 'photo' (light)
and 'synthesis' (putting together).


2. Consumption
Sugars are extremely important energy providers and flavour enhancers, whether in crystal
form or in the cells of fruit and vegetables.

Sugar plays a large nutritional role in our diets along with other carbohydrates, fats,
proteins, fibre and micro-nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

3. Combustion
Carbohydrate fuels (sugar, starch C6H12O6 ) are burned up to give energy while at the same
time releasing CO2 and H2O. Error! Bookmark not defined.

Sugar as an Energy Provider
Every activity undertaken by human beings requires energy. The main sources of energy are
carbohydrates (sugars and starches), fats and proteins.

Energy is measured in calories (or kiloJoules: 1kJ = 4.18 cal). For example a twelve year
old boy requires about 2500 calories per day and a 12 year old girl about 2000 calories
per day.

Sugar as a commodity in its own right can be traced back several thousand years in China
and India. A definite reference dates to 510 B.C. when soldiers of the Persian Emperor
Darius saw sugar cane growing on the banks of the River Indus. They called it the reeds
which produce honey without bees.

Much later it was grown in Persia and the Arabs took it to Egypt. The word sugar is itself derived from an Arabic word.
Sugar cane, to which all the earliest references refer, is a member of the grass family.
It can grow up to 15 feet tall, with leaves at the top and a hollow stalk filled with a
sweet juice or sap from which sugar can be extracted. A perennial tropical plant, it grows
best in very warm climates. It is ready for harvesting after 10 to 20 months.


Alexander the Great (356-232 B.C.) introduced sugar to the Mediterranean countries, from
whence it spread down the east coast of Africa.

SUGAR PRODUCTION
By 600 A.D. the practice of breaking up the sugar cane and boiling it to produce sugar
crystals was widespread. Six hundred years later, when Marco Polo visited China, he saw
flourishing sugar mills.

The mediaeval world was quick to recognise the difference sugar made to food, and a flourishing trade built up.
By the middle of the fifteenth century there were plantations in Madeira, the Canary
Islands and St. Thomas, and they supplied Europe with sugar until the sixteenth century,
when manufacture spread over the greater part of tropical America, followed in the next
century by the development of sugar exports from the West Indies. Old records show that
raw cane sugar was being refined in Dublin and Belfast in the middle of the seventeenth
century.

SUGAR BEET
The other main source of sugar, sugar beet, although known as a sweet vegetable, was not
used as a commercial source of sugar until the second half of the eighteenth century, when
Margraf, working in Berlin, discovered a technique for extracting sugar from the beet.
This was later further developed by his pupil Achard. Its further development was due in
large part to the activities of two major historical figures, Nelson and Napoleon.

Nelson's victory at Trafalgar in 1805 was followed by a blockade which cut off continental
Europe from cane sugar. Napoleon, hearing of the new technique for extracting sugar from
sugar beet, decided in 1811 that sugar beet was henceforth to be the source of sugar for
Europe. Thereafter cane sugar and beet sugar developed in parallel and often in
competition.

SUGAR DEMAND
From the Middle Ages on sugar was for several centuries a commodity a little like pepper
in price and usage. King Henry III of England had difficulty in obtaining as much as 3lbs
for a banquet in 1226.

It was given as a special present to lovers in Southern France and elsewhere. It formed
the basis of trade between Barbary (Morocco) and England in Henry VIII's day. The demand
for sugar was one of the major reasons for the slave trade for two centuries or more.
During the whole of the eighteenth century it was the direct or indirect cause of many an
Anglo-French naval battle in the Caribbean.

Demand for sugar increased with the growing world population, and even faster, perhaps
because improving technology made its production cheaper. In the 1830's when the world
population was 1,000 million, recorded sugar production was 800,000 tonnes a year. By 1900
it was 8 million tonnes. By the mid-1970's with a world population in excess of 4,000
million, world production of sugar was about 80 million tonnes, almost equally divided
between sugar cane and beet. Today annual production stands at 115,000,000 tonnes.

HISTORY OF SUGAR IN IRELAND
In Ireland it became obvious to those interested in creating a home-based sugar industry
to supply this country's needs, that refining sugar from cane grown in the tropics was not
cost- effective. Other vegetables contained natural sugar. It was a matter of finding
which one produced sugar in the greatest quantity and of the most usable quality. Beet
turned out to be the answer to the problem.

Sugar is therefore unique in that it comes from two main sources - sugar-beet and
sugar-cane - a fact that means it can be grown in almost every country in the world.

In the early nineteenth century, beet was grown in the west of Ireland, and beet juice
extracted in Achill. The system there was to crush the root with a big millstone drawn by
a horse. The crushed pulp was then spread, with layers of straw, in a press which squeezed
out the juice. It was then boiled in a large sheet-iron pan until it reached the
crystallising point, after which it was cooled and drained.

Although the first attempts to create an Irish sugar industry were snuffed out by the
taxes imposed in the Act of Union, it was nevertheless clear that making our own sugar
would be a vital part of our development as an agricultural nation, and so experiments
continued towards the end of the last century designed to produce the highest yielding
form of sugar beet.

On the foundation of the new state in 1922, Ireland was quite advanced in sugar beet
research, and in December 1925, on flatlands by the River Barrow, engineers began to mark
out the ground for what was to become the Carlow sugar factory.

That factory was to prove that high quality sugar could be produced economically in
Ireland from home-grown natural raw material. Later, the State took over the Carlow
factory, and in the mid-thirties, built others at Mallow, Thurles and Tuam.

CONCLUSION
During its long history sugar has been, as well as the cause and prize of wars, an object
of political activity. The industry has often been early on the list for expropriation in
newly independent countries and has been nationalised in many cases.

There are many reasons for this. Sugar is an attractive commodity which also provides a
simple means of collecting taxes. It supplies a livelihood for countless thousands of
people throughout the globe. And in a world whose population is rapidly growing it is
important, because the sugar cane and the sugar beet are respectively the most efficient
plant fixers of solar energy among tropical and temperate zone vegetation.

The cane is four times as effective as any other tropical plant in terms of production of
harvestable dry matter per hectare per year, and the beet is twice as productive as any
temperate zone plant. Put another way, it requires on average of only 0.07 hectares to fix
solar energy to the equivalent of 1 million kilocalories of energy in the form of sugar.
Continues for 9 more pages >>




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