Is jaggery better than brown sugar
Cane sugar: whole cane sugar or raw cane sugar - which is healthier?
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This household sugar is made entirely from sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum). This is a sweet grass up to six meters high that originally comes from East Asia. Today's growing areas are in different regions of the tropics and subtropics. The six most important growing countries are:
Humans have been using sugar cane as a sweetener for over 2,500 years. This type of sugar is therefore much older than beet sugar. This has only been consumed for about 200 years. Cane sugars are the most widely used sweeteners in the world. Almost three quarters of the world's sugar needs come from sugar cane. Every sugar cane plant consists of ten to 20 percent sucrose, which in turn is made up of glucose and fructose. Chemically, cane sugar is identical to beet sugar.
Common names for cane sugar
There are many names for sugar made from sugar cane, some of which can be traced back to the country of production:
- Panela from Colombia
- Rapadura from Brazil
- Sucanat from South and Central America
- Mascobado from the Phillipines
- Jaggery from India
- Muscovado from India
What is whole cane sugar?
This type of sugar is a precursor to cane sugar, more precisely concentrated sugar cane juice. It can be bought in the form of blocks or as granulated sugar. The juice is partially clarified after harvest, but used unrefined. This means that in addition to sucrose, it contains up to nine percent other substances from sugar cane, the so-called molasses. It mainly contains flavors, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium or iron. The amount of molasses determines the color of the sugar in some varieties, it ranges from brown to gray. There are also fluctuations in taste, it can be licorice to caramel-like.
Is whole cane sugar healthy?
Several studies have investigated whether whole cane sugar causes less tooth decay than ordinary white table sugar. The studies came to different results: some stated that there was less tooth decay, others found no differences. The reason for the discrepancy could be that chewing sugar cane played a role in the investigation. This means that it is not the chemical effect of the sugar that is decisive for freedom from caries, but the mechanical friction of the sugar cane fibers and the resulting removal of plaque.
There are controversial discussions about whole cane sugar. The reason: Some consider the sugar to be contaminated because of the high molasses content. But molasses is a natural substance. Others find this type of sugar very healthy because it contains many minerals and vitamins.
What is raw cane sugar?
Raw cane sugar is an intermediate stage between whole cane and cane sugar. This type of sugar is refined at least once. This reduces the amount of molasses, but the type of sugar still contains some residual molasses, which gives the sugar its brown color.
Tip: The reader can get stuck with this word. The correct hyphenation is: raw - pipe - sugar.
Difference: whole cane and raw cane sugar
There is no uniform definition of whole cane and raw cane sugar. Some of the terms are used synonymously, even if they can be roughly distinguished based on the processing stages. Incidentally, only the color can hardly be used to determine how much molasses is still in the sugar and how much it has been industrially processed. Because it often happens that white sugar is colored with syrup. So just because a sugar is brown doesn't mean it's natural.
Which one is healthy?
True whole cane sugar contains more vitamins and minerals, but most consumers only eat such small amounts of sugar that other nutrient sources are much better suited for their supply. It is therefore hardly possible to make a statement about whether a type of sugar is healthier. The differences are just far too small. There is also one rule that applies to all sucrose sugars: Always consume them in moderation. Because sucrose is high in calories and causes the blood sugar level to rise quickly.
White granulated sugar from sugar beet
In contrast to cane sugar, white household sugar is obtained from sugar beet. The cultivation takes place in Europe, for example in fields in Germany. At the molecular level, the sucrose from sugar beet and sugar cane is identical. Both sugars provide around 400 calories per 100 grams. So the sweetness comes from different plants, but contains the same sweetness and energy. Even the manufacturing processes are almost the same, because sugar cane can also be refined into white crystals. Still, many people believe that brown sugar is healthy and white sugar is unhealthy.
Is beet sugar more unhealthy than cane sugar?
No, because the differences are also marginal. When choosing your sugar, you can orientate yourself not only on your individual taste but also on environmental aspects: Beet sugar does not have to travel long distances from (sub-) tropical regions to Central Europe, so it has a smaller carbon footprint. Due to the lower water content, white sugar also has a longer shelf life. Together with the EU subsidies for domestic beet sugar, it is also much cheaper in the trade than the equivalent made from sugar cane.
Alternatives to sucrose
If you want to consume less than 400 calories per 100 grams of sugar, you should use these low-calorie or even -free alternatives:
- Stevia (0 kcal)
- Birch sugar, xylitol, xucker, E 967 (240 kcal)
- Erythritol, Sukrin, E 968 (0 kcal)
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