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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

White, Brown, and Raw Sugar

So, you know sugar is not good for you. You want to get it out of your diet, but you still want something sweet. What's a girl with a sugar craving to do? Here is a list of 3 common sugars, how they are made, and what the difference is.

Raw Sugar: Raw sugar is made by pressing the juice out of the sugar cane, mixing it with lime, evaporating the liquid, and spinning in a centrifuge. Umm, what happened to the raw part? When you talk about raw milk or raw honey, that means nothing was done to process them. Raw sugar, on the other hand, is actually processed! In one statistic I read, it is only 5% less processed than white sugar.

White sugar: White sugar is made basically the same way, but they add chemicals to take the color out. They can do this before or after crushing the sugar cane, but the end result is the same: they bleach out the color and filter out the vitamins and minerals found in whole sugar cane.

Brown Sugar: To make brown sugar, first they make white sugar, then they add in some of the molasses. That's where it gets its darker color. It has a very small amount of minerals from the molasses, but brown sugar is only about 5% molasses, so most of what you are getting is empty white sugar calories.

I used to buy Organic Evaporated Cane Juice from Trader Joe's. Sounds good, right? Well, from all I've read on sugar, there is really very little difference between the "raw" and the "white."

I try to reduce my sugar consumption and use honey or maple syrup as an alternative. For those few things I still make with sugar... I use regular old white or brown sugar, just because it costs less. I like to use my shopping dollars where they really count, and it doesn't make sense to me to spend more than twice as much on the "raw" sugar, for only a 5% variation in the final product.

More reading on sugar:
"Get the refined sugar out."
"Will the real raw sugar please stand up?"


  1. nice to know. Don't want to spend my money on a title either. I also like knowing that "free range" eggs aren't any different than the regular kind. There are a lot of people who sell fresh eggs around here so I think I'll look around on that. We did by Organic Peanut Butter last week and are not liking it very much. If we still have the other jar, we'll bring it when we come for you.

  2. Had you tried natural p.b. before? Organics usually don't taste much different but if you're not used to natural, that might be the difference. And don't forget to bring it to us!:)