Monday, April 7, 2008

Sweeteners? Turbinado? Raw Sugar? Brown Sugar? Sucanat?

I have had people ask me questions involving these different sugars. Is raw sugar a good sugar substitute? What is the difference between sucanat and turbinado? Is brown sugar better than white sugar?

Let’s start with white sugar; it is highly refined cane juice. All nutrients have been removed and chemicals have been added during the different stages of the refining process.

Next, brown sugar is the same refined white sugar with molasses added to it. I believe it tastes better but is not better for you than white sugar.

Now turbinado sugar and raw sugar is the same thing. It is not really raw; it is just less refined than white sugar. It does have a small amount of nutrients left in it. It has been said to metabolize the same as white sugar making it NOT a good substitute if you are diabetic, watching your weight, improving your health, or not wanting your kids to get a sugar rush. It is better than white if you are looking for something that is closer to its natural state. I don’t personally use it.

Finally, sucanat is unrefined cane sugar. It is processed less than turbinado and a lot less than white sugar. It has more nutrients than turbinado. The natural molasses is still intact, and makes an excellent substitute for brown sugar. It does metabolize slower than white sugar but not enough to make it safe for diabetics or people that have to watch their blood sugar levels including kids prone to getting hyper and losing concentration. It is definitely a better choose than white sugar if you are wanting to eat more natural and improve your health, but remember it is still sugar so it should be used in moderation. I use this occasionally, and I have been able to use it to replace white sugar as while as brown sugar.

I use honey and pure maple syrup in recipes whenever I can. My kids due better with these sweeteners, so that leads me to believe that they metabolize slower than sucanat, and definitely slower than white sugar.

A completely safe (even for diabetics) natural alternative to white sugar is stevia, but that will be in a different article. I use stevia regularly.

I hope this clears up the possible confusion. Michelle

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