The Science of Sugar

My daughter Amy teaches advanced 8th grade science at the Inverness Middle School. She invited me some time ago to teach her class for a day while I’m in Inverness, and yesterday was the day. Classes start at 8 AM. We went a bit early to get my Power Point show ready. My topic was the Science of Sugar. I took them from a plot of sugarcane in Africa, through the way it’s processed, to the chemical structure of sucrose (table sugar) and its components – glucose and fructose. Then I told them the impact of these sugars on the body. Our bodies need a bit of glucose, but the excess amount we consume has many adverse effects on health. Fructose is even worse, turning the liver into a fat factory (changing fructose to triglycerides). Perhaps most surprising for them was learning that fatty streaking and deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis) begins in the teenage years.

I taught five classes, ranging in size from 15 to 21 students. It was a fun kind of challenge. The kids were terrific. They paid close attention, and they asked some great questions. Being teacher for the day was fun – but I’m glad it was only for a day!