Know Your Food

5 Alternatives to White Sugar

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It is hard to find anyone who doesn’t like sugar. From the morning tea to the occasional chocolate indulgence, this sweet, white, little granule has been a constant part of our lives. However, white sugar is considered not very healthy. There is a variety of sugars that you can replace it with, each having its own properties, nutritional value and health benefits. Here are 5 types of sugar that you can use on a daily basis:

Brown Sugar

A combination of crystallised cane sugar and molasses, brown sugar is known for its sticky consistency. The crystals may not be uniform owing to the manufacturing process. Dark brown sugar usually has a stronger flavour of molasses and is more aromatic than its lighter version. Brown sugar contributes a flavoured dark sweetness to sauces and glazes. The best way to use brown sugar is to turn it into sugar syrup and use it while making health drinks and beverages. It can also be added to regular tea and coffee. Due to the molasses, it contains relatively higher levels of calcium, iron and potassium.  

Organic White Sugar

Most refined sugars use sulphur to remove the impurities in order to obtain the perfect white colour. However, consumption of sulphur over a period of time is proved to be harmful to the body. The organic variant, therefore, doesn’t contain this harmful chemical. The juice defecation process (a method to clarify sugar) uses juice than sulphur to produce high-quality raw sugar crystals. They are further melted and purified using carbonation and then formed into crystals again. 

Organic sugar comes from sugarcane, free of harmful pesticides, making them a healthier alternative. It is also considered safer due to the absence of SO2 and has nearly neutral pH value. 

Coconut Sugar

Also known as coconut palm sugar, this type of sugar is made from coconut palm sap. The sap is placed under high heat until the water evaporates; this process retains a lot of nutrients from the sap. In appearance, coconut sugar is raw and granulated. It contains small quantities of minerals, antioxidant, fibre and fructose (good sugar), making its glycemic index lower than that of white sugar. 

Demerara Sugar

Demerara is also produced from sugarcane and mostly consists of large grains. When used in toppings, it provides a nice crunch and is hence often used in decorating cupcakes, cakes and muffins. Unlike brown sugar where the molasses is intentionally added to the product, demerara naturally contains molasses. The major advantage of demerara is that it undergoes very little processing and contains calcium, iron and Vitamin B in small amounts. 

Muscovado

Natural and unrefined, muscovado can be a substitute to white sugar. Extracted from sugar cane juice, it retains a large amount of its nutrients. It got its name from the Spanish word Mascabado meaning raw. Owing to its uneven texture, it was once considered as the poor man’s sugar. Unlike white sugar, no chemical substances are used during the process and hence it is relatively healthy. It has an intense brown colour that comes from the juice. The sugar contains magnesium, iron and potassium, however, you might not be able to take advantage of these minerals as you consume it in lesser quantities. 

No matter what type of sugar you use, it should be noted that limiting the quantity consumed is the key to good health. As in the case of any other food, choosing organic options will always yield health benefits.

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