The Sugary Low Down

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I think I was trying to beat the system.  I wanted to find a healthy sugar alternative that wouldn’t make me feel bad about eating 5 chocolate chip cookies made with sucanat instead of refined white sugar.  But as Dr. Frank Lipman says in this article, “There’s no such thing as a “healthy” sugar. Sugar is sugar, whether it’s “organic,” or “unrefined,” or “all-natural,” or “raw,” or agave syrup.”

Aw man.  OK, I will work on accepting that, but I probably will still eat chocolate chip cookies made with sucanat instead of white sugar or brown sugar and purchase less processed sugars like:


Sucanat: stands for SUgar CAne NATural… who would have known?  It is dried sugar cane.  The sugar cane juice is heated and then cooled which forms crystals.  This process keeps the molasses intact which has the trace vitamins and minerals.

When I initially set out on this research project, I imagined a beautiful presentation of everything you need to know about a variety of sugars.  As the universe would have it, what I imagined creating just entered the world wide web.  So I am going to stop here and share this super awesome resource on everything you need to know about sugar.  It is a must read.  Seriously!

Thank you Jeanne for sending this my way.


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Brown Sugar

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I am continuing my detective work on how different types of sugars are made and if there is one better than the rest. Here is what I discovered with refined white sugar.  Now for –

Brown Sugar:

A little part of me always thought I was doing myself a favor baking with brown sugar rather than white.  I’m not alone, this NY Times article echoes that same sentiment.  But in reality brown sugar is pretty much just white sugar mixed with molasses.

Molasses is a by product of the sugar cane juice, and has vitamins and minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin A.  I was excited when I read that, until I realized it is really just a smidge of nutritents in the grand scheme of things.

This is no real surprise.  Sugar isn’t kale.  But now I know how it is processed, and I’m most interested finding out how my food is made.


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Refined Sweetness

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I used to eat sugar cubes by the handful. I have since learned the effects of sugar and now I make sure to have good quality sweetnes whenever I can.

There are so many alternatives to white sugar and I am wondering how they are made and what the differences are.  Here is the first of series of sweet posts.

Since studying at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition I have become increasingly curious about how food ends up on the shelves at the super market, and which products are the best for my body.  So let’s start with what nearly every American consumes daily:


Refined White Sugar:

It begins with sugar cane (or the roots of sugar beets).   The tall grasses have stalks filled with cane juice.  The  juice is released and then there is the boiling, filtering, evaporating, crystallizing, separating from the molasses, washing, and de-coloring process that produces the fine white sugar crystal that we all know and sometimes love (or hate that we love).

All the trace minerals and nutrients are stripped away during this process.  You end up with a powder that spikes your blood sugar and leaves you hungry for more sweetness once you crash, and the crash is inevitable.  This is why sugar is so incredibly addicting.

Enter big gulps, and bite sized candy that you can never just have one of.  I do my best to stay away from sugary processed foods, because otherwise a fun size bag of kit-kats will be gone in one afternoon.

Now I wonder what goes into making brown sugar, sucanat, turbindo, stevia, coconut sugar, or agave and if they are any better.

Stay tuned.  There is tremendous power in being informed.


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