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Let’s face it, we all have a bit of a sweet tooth. Most of us love a little snack in the afternoon or a delicious dessert after dinner. Nothing wrong with that.
But high sugar consumption does come at a cost, such as increased risk of obesity and diabetes, and other illnesses.
When we use sugar as an ingredient in our cooking, or when we put sugar in our coffee or tea, what type of sugar should we actually choose?
Let’s have a closer look at the differences between raw sugar, white sugar and brown sugar so you know which one is right for you.
Unrefined, raw sugar is made from the juice of the sugarcane plant.
Two to six meters tall, the sugarcane plant is native to the warm regions of South Asia, Southeast Asia, and New Guinea, and is used primarily for sugar production.
The raw type of sugar is considered to have some level of nutritional value, because it has the same vitamin and mineral consistency as sugarcane plant juice.
Raw sugar has a brown color because of the presence of molasses, a by-product of refining sugarcane that contains a number of essential minerals and vitamins.
Refined white sugar is produced in the same manner as raw sugar, but chemicals are added to bleach the sugar and to absorb impurities.
Because white sugar is heavily processed, it offers no nutritional value and is considered to be empty calories. In addition, refined sugar will elevate blood sugar levels which can cause diabetes.
As you can guess, refined white sugar is definitely not a healthy choice.
Brown sugar is essentially the same as refined white sugar. The key difference is that brown sugar has varying amounts of molasses added back into it.
It comes in different brown colors depending on the amount of molasses that have been added. Just like white sugar, brown sugar does not have the nutritional content found in raw sugar and consists of sucrose.
It is a big misconception to believe that brown sugar is the same as raw sugar. These two types of sugars are fundamentally different. Sadly though, too many people choose brown sugar thinking they are consuming raw and natural sugar.
Brown sugar is also not the best choice of sugar.
Another misconception to believe is that artificial sweeteners are a healthier and better alternative to real sugar.
Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and saccharin, are typically made of chemical ingredients and can potentially have dangerous side effects.
Although these sweeteners may have received the tick of approval from health authorities such as the FDA, it doesn’t mean that they don’t carry any health risks.
In addition, sweeteners tend to trick the brain in thinking that you’re consuming sugar which can lead to more cravings and ultimately more sugar intake.
Conclusion: Choose Raw Sugar
Unrefined raw sugar is by far the best choice because it is natural and it contains minerals and nutrients. These minerals and nutrients are stripped from refined white sugar and brown sugar.
In addition, when sugar is refined and processed, potentially harmful ingredients are added to the sugar. Raw sugar on the other hand does not have these chemicals.
With major health issues such as diabetes and obesity in the western world, it is crucial to think very carefully about what type of sugar to use and how much of it.
A large amount of sugar in your diet is never a good thing but using white sugar will definitely make matters worse.
Choose natural ways to add sweetness to your life, like raw sugar, honey or stevia. These types of products offer nutritional benefits and don’t have a negative effect on your health when consumed in moderation.