Sugar by any other name is still processed….
Both evaporated cane juice and white cane sugar have been heavily processed to remove the molasses content. During this processing the vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, and trace elements that make molasses nutritious have been striped away, leaving one of the purest chemicals ever manufactured. Only tiny amounts of vitamin A and calcium remain in evaporated cane juice. Following processing, evaporated cane juice is 99.5 percent sucrose, and white sugar is 99.9 percent sucrose. Turbinado sugar, considered the least processed of any of the forms of sugar, is 99 percent sucrose.
Whether sugar is eaten in the form of white sugar, evaporated cane juice, turbinado, or any of the other names for it, its effect on the body is the same. When eaten in large amounts, or eaten without fat or protein, each of them will produce the same sort of insulin spike, weight gain, immune system suppression, and increased chance for diabetes.
The terms raw sugar and natural sugar are more words used by the manufacturers of today, but the terms are misnomers. True raw sugar is processed from sugar cane at a sugar mill and then shipped to a refinery for processing. In this stage, it is about 98% sucrose. Truly raw sugar that has not been processed is unfit for consumption and is not sold. The FDA notes that raw sugar is "unfit for direct use as food or as a food ingredient because of the impurities it ordinarily contains." These impurities include plant residues, bacteria, mold, and dirt. They make up the 1 percent difference between true raw sugar and turbinado.
All sugar is processed from the sugar cane or sugar beet plant, and the two types of plants are used interchangeably. And both have the same results on our bodies. Molasses comes from the 3rd process step of sugar cane. High quality brown sugar is made by cutting short the refinement process and leaving a bit of molasses in the sugar for taste and color. Lower quality brown sugar sold in conventional grocery stores is usually made from processed white sugar with the addition of caramel for coloring. Some brown sugar is even made by processing white sugar through animal bone charcoal to add color.
The big difference between evaporated cane juice and granulated sugar is the price, which runs about 8 to 10 dollars a pound for evaporated cane juice compared to about 1 to 3 dollars a pound for white sugar. If manufacturers are willing to spend the extra money to put the words evaporated cane juice on their labels, it means they know the public is seriously trying to avoid eating sugar and needs to be tricked into eating it anyway.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” Ole’ Willy Shakespeare said it best, but its not just roses. The same can be said about sugar.
Sugar (in one form or another) is added to more food products than you can ever imagine, especially if you heap on the large number of “variants” of sugar – depending on the kind of processing that has occurred; such as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, malt, sucrose, and the list goes on and on…and on.
Here is a list to get you started in identifying sugars. There’s only 25 and probably by the time you’re done reading it, they’ll have invented more.
Free Flowing Brown Sugars
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Muscovado or Barbados Sugar
Powdered or confectioner’s sugar
Now, most of these you’ve probably seen before, like brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and fructose, but some, like invert sugar, maltodextrin, treacle, and panocha are a bit mysterious. But here are some others you may have not heard of before....
Demerara sugar: sugar that originate from the sugar cane fields in Demerara, a region of South America colonized by the Dutch in 1611.
Galactose: often referred to as galactan, is a sugar glucose found in hemicellulose, a compound present in the cell walls of plants.
Invert sugar: a mixture of glucose and fructose.
Maltodextrin: is produced from starch by a process called partial hydrolysis and may either be tasteless or moderately sweet.
Maltose: or malt sugar is created by the break down of starch and is found in the germination of barley.
Muscovado or Barbados Sugar: sugar farmed on the island of Barbados.
Panocha: a kind of sugar cane found in the Philippines.
Treacle: a syrup created during the refining of sugar cane; commonly called “golden syrup.”
Turbinado sugar: partially refined sugar cane; also known as natural brown sugar.