Dextrose vs. Glucose

What's the Difference?

Dextrose and glucose are both simple sugars that are commonly used in medical and food applications. However, there are slight differences between the two. Dextrose is a form of glucose that is derived from cornstarch and is chemically identical to glucose. It is often used in intravenous solutions to provide a quick source of energy for patients. On the other hand, glucose is the primary source of energy for the body and is naturally found in fruits, vegetables, and honey. It is commonly used in sports drinks and energy bars to replenish glycogen stores during physical activity. While dextrose and glucose are similar in terms of their chemical structure and function, their sources and applications may vary.


Chemical FormulaC6H12O6C6H12O6
SourceDerived from cornstarch or glucose syrupFound in fruits, honey, and other natural sources
UsageUsed as a sweetener, in baking, and as an intravenous treatment for dehydrationUsed as a sweetener, in baking, and as an intravenous treatment for dehydration
Energy Content3.4 calories per gram3.4 calories per gram
Medical UsesUsed to treat low blood sugar, hypoglycemia, and insulin shockUsed to treat low blood sugar, hypoglycemia, and insulin shock

Further Detail


Dextrose and glucose are two types of simple sugars that are widely used in various industries and have important roles in our bodies. While they are often used interchangeably, there are some differences between these two sugars that are worth exploring. In this article, we will delve into the attributes of dextrose and glucose, discussing their chemical structures, sources, uses, and impact on our health.

Chemical Structures

Dextrose and glucose are both monosaccharides, meaning they consist of a single sugar molecule. Chemically, they have the same molecular formula, C6H12O6, but their structures differ slightly. Glucose is an aldohexose, meaning it has an aldehyde functional group at one end of the molecule. On the other hand, dextrose is a specific form of glucose that is derived from cornstarch through a process called hydrolysis. It is also known as D-glucose or grape sugar.


Both dextrose and glucose can be found naturally in various foods. Glucose is present in fruits, vegetables, and honey, while dextrose is commonly derived from cornstarch. Additionally, dextrose is often used as a sweetener in processed foods and beverages, as well as in medical settings for intravenous administration.


Glucose plays a crucial role in our bodies as it is the primary source of energy for our cells. It is broken down during cellular respiration to produce ATP, the energy currency of our cells. Dextrose, being a form of glucose, serves the same purpose and can be used by our bodies in the same way. However, dextrose is also widely used in the food industry as a sweetener, a fermentation substrate in brewing, and a bulking agent in baking. In medical settings, dextrose is commonly used as an intravenous solution to provide energy and hydration to patients.

Health Impact

When it comes to the impact on our health, both dextrose and glucose have similar effects. As simple sugars, they are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. This can be beneficial for athletes or individuals in need of a quick energy boost. However, excessive consumption of dextrose or glucose can lead to negative health effects, especially for individuals with diabetes or those prone to insulin resistance. It is important to consume these sugars in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.


In conclusion, dextrose and glucose are two forms of simple sugars that share many similarities. They have the same chemical formula and can be used interchangeably in our bodies as a source of energy. However, dextrose is a specific form of glucose derived from cornstarch and has various uses in the food and medical industries. Both dextrose and glucose can impact our health, and it is important to consume them in moderation. By understanding the attributes of these sugars, we can make informed choices about their consumption and ensure a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

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