Galactose is a monosaccharide, or simple sugar, that occurs naturally in only a few foods. Within animals and plants, galactose exists in trace amounts. Free molecules of galactose are found in semen, urine, and human milk. Galactose shares a chemical formula with glucose (C6H12O6), as fructose does, but the molecules are arranged in a structure that differentiates the sugar. Galactose is produced in the body by the metabolism of another sugar, the disaccharide lactose, which is found in milk and breaks down into the monosaccharides galactose and glucose. Like other sugars, galactose can be metabolized to produce energy for cells.
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