You must have heard countless times that refined sugar is really bad for your health. But what is a healthier product you can buy to replace white sugar offered for sale at the grocery store? Is evaporated cane juice better and more nutritious than white refined sugar? Does raw sugar really have a beneficial impact on your health?
Types of Sugar
To answer these questions we need to analyze the types of sugar that exist today at the market (of course, we don’t cover natural sugars like honey and maple syrup that cause no harm). So, among sugars obtained from sugar cane or sugar beets are:
Refined white sugar. It is pure sucrose produced from sugar cane or sugar beets, however the chemical content of the finished product, white crystal, is practically the same.
Under molasses we mean everything that is left after refining sugar cane into white sugar.
Brown sugar is nothing more than refined white sugar to which some amount of molasses has been added. By the way, you can easily make your own brown sugar if you add 1 tablespoon of molasses to a cup of sugar. You can make dark brown sugar by increasing the amount of molasses added.
Evaporated cane juice (for example, Florida Crystals) is made from sugar cane, but not sugar beets. It’s less refined than ordinary white sugar and preserves some color and flavor from the original sugar cane. In fact, it has some light brown color and delicate caramel or molasses aroma. Evaporated cane juice with larger and coarse crystals is referred to as Demerara sugar.
Turbinado or “raw” sugar is a sort of dehydrated cane juice. As it contains more natural nutrients it is darker than other types of sugar and has a distinct molasses aroma and flavor.
The term organic cane sugar implies that no synthetic herbicides or pesticides were used to grow the sugar cane. Organically grown cane sugar can be slightly refined or almost pure white.
It is a mistake to call white sugar “refined” and raw sugar “natural”. Both of them are natural because they are made from plants. All sugars mentioned above are refined. All they have a crystalline form. The only difference is that sugars which are considered more “natural” are a bit less refined. While white sugar is 100% pure sucrose, the other are …just 99% pure.
What Are the Advantages of “Natural” Sugars?
Pure sucrose found in white sugar has no flavor, apart from being sweet. Evaporated cane juice and other types of less refined sugars are distinguished by some flavor due to molasses added to it. And, of course, consuming organic sugar produced without synthetic pesticides and herbicides is good for health as you lower the intake of products that contain harmful chemicals and benefit the environment.
Are Natural Sugars Really Better?
In their efforts to sell more expensive products advertisers imply that less-processed sugars retain more nutrients than regular white sugar does. Unfortunately, it is a myth we want to dispel. The truth is that sugar cane doesn’t have many nutrients and those left in processed sugar can hardly be measured.
In fact, from nutritional point of view, there is very slight difference between any of these kinds of sugar. Indeed, some of them are less refined, but they do contain the same number of calories, and the effect caused on human digestion system is the practically the same.
So, if you love less-processed sugar and don’t mind paying the higher price, raw sugar or evaporated cane juice are the options to consider. Keep in mind, though, that if you need to limit the amount of sugar you consume daily it doesn’t matter which type of sugar you consume. You will have to limit your overall intake of sugar whatever it may be.
How Much Sugar Is Good?
According to the recommendations of The World Health Organization a person had better avoid consuming over 10% of his calories. For an average-sized adult, ten percent of the calories consumed is equivalent to 50 grams of sugar, or 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar. The American Heart Association recommends decreasing the intake of added sugar to 5%.
Under added sugars we mean any sugar used in your own cooking or added at the table. It also includes all sugar added to packaged and processed foods and drinks. Fruits, dairy products, and other whole foods do not contain added sugar.
The Hawaiian island of Maui, situated northwest of "The Big Island", is an important tourist and agriculture center. It boasts incredible natural beauty so it is nicknamed as "The Magic Island" and "The Valley Isle."
To unlock energy from food and meet your basic energy needs, the body must convert starches and sugars and food into glucose. The glycemic index or G.I. is a measure of how quickly the starches and sugars in a food or beverage are broken down into glucose and a release of the bloodstream after food or beverages consumed.