Sweet Sweet Health
Everybody loves sugar. It is just about everywhere you go. You put it in your coffee, your cereal, and just about every dessert imaginable. But one thing most people do not consider is how healthy sugar is for you. Too much sugar can be a bad thing especially for people who suffer from diabetes. Is brown sugar a better option for you? Keep reading to learn more about these two different types of sugar and which one is better for you.
The Healthier Choice
Do you find yourself paying more for brown sugar than the “regular” white sugar? Have you ever wondered which is healthier for you? In order to answer, let’s explain how sugar is manufactured. Yes, although it comes from sugar canes or beets, sugar does go through quite a bit of processing before we see it in its final form on supermarket shelves. You may want to start counting those calories before you choose.
What you need to know:
The raw materials utilized are either sugar cane stalks or sugar beet (a root). Let’s talk sugar cane today:
- After the sugar cane stalks are harvested, they are chopped into small pieces
- The stalk pieces are pulverized in order to release the sugary cane juice.
- The juice usually has some impurities in it such as mud, pieces of stalk and other stuff, so it is filtered using both mechanical and chemical processes (using polyacrylamides).
- The purified liquid is boiled until the water evaporates.
- The remaining “juice” is heated once again and the sugar begins to crystallize. A side product that is left over is called mother liquor (it is the source of molasses)
- A centrifuge is used to separate individual sugar crystals.
The result is raw sugar. It is also known as Turbinado or Demerara sugar. The crystals are relatively large and have a brownish tinge to them. Stay tuned folks, this is NOT brown sugar.
Raw sugar is shipped to a refinery for further processing to create the white sugar that we know:
- The raw sugar is heated and melts into a liquid again.
- The coloration is removed by using chemicals such as phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide or calcium dioxide.
- The liquid is boiled one last time in order concentrate it into the fine white granulated crystals that make up white sugar, or refined sugar.
Here’s the kicker: Brown sugar is made by taking refined sugar and mixing in some molasses. The molasses are not healthy and do not contain any important nutrients for the body.
Therefore, brown sugar cannot be considered healthier than white sugar, even though some marketers would like us to believe so. Each teaspoon of sugar contains 4 grams of sugar, which adds 16 calories to your food / beverage.