The Not So Sweet Taste of Sugar

Posted by 7Villages 24 Feb 2016 No Comments »

Brown sugar and white sugar may look different, but they are actually more similar than you might think. Both varieties are the product of sugar cane purification. Both go through similar separations processes in refineries. Brown sugar tastes slightly different, as it has a caramel taste and is darker brown in colour.

Refined sugar

Once the sugar cane has been harvested, it goes through several processes. It is ground to extract the juices. The raw crystals that remain and form in the juices are granules called raw sugar. It goes through several filtration and water washes, before it is ready to be called refined sugar and put on the store shelves for consumers to purchase. This sugar contains 96 per cent sucrose and 4 per cent other plant materials. When the product is vacuum-dried, it looks yummy but actually contains little nutritional value.

Molasses

Once the sugar has been refined, filtered and processed, molasses is added to the white sugar in order to change the color. This changes the nutritional value slightly; molasses contains 46 per cent sucrose, 3 per cent protein, and small amounts of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and sulfur. Molasses is used for animal and human consumption.

Which to choose

Brown sugar gives off a bit of a different taste – more caramelized. White sugar is something most people are familiar with and this is what usually goes into coffee cups and lattes each morning. Baking and cooking with brown sugar can produce food that is moister and softer. Foods made with brown sugar will have a darker appearance.

Foods with sugar

There are many foods that contain added sugar and it’s important to read the labels on the packaging very carefully. Too much sugar is not healthy in any form and should be limited in your diet. Too much consumption of sugar can cause major health issues in the long term, such as Diabetes. Here are some foods to watch out for:

  • Pop/Soda
  • Fruit flavored yogurt
  • Cold cereal
  • Pasta sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolate milk

Read food labels carefully; some foods may not have fat but contain many teaspoons of added sugar (think of candy like Skittles and wine gums). If these calories do not get burned off, they will be converted to fat, resulting in weight gain.

According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than six teaspoons of sugar per day; men should consume no more than nine teaspoons. Studies from the association found that on average, Americans consume 22 teaspoons of sugar. In teenagers, that amount can skyrocket to more than 34 teaspoons. Is it any wonder why 1 in 3 people are overweight? Diabetes is a serious condition that affects millions of people across America and sugar is the main culprit.

Grocery stores are full of temptation and companies have gotten creative with their packaging and marketing efforts. Be a smart consumer and don’t put anything in your cart that could ruin your health. You’ll not only feel healthier, you will look healthier too.

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