Turbinado sugar is white table sugar without the final extraction of the molasses. Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added back to it. It is 93.8% sucrose.
Lately, "organic evaporated cane juice" has become a major ingredient in many packaged health foods. This is a "first crystallization sugar" made directly from fresh organic juice--not from raw sugar which requires further processing. The result is a minimally processed organic sweetener with some of the natural molasses and can be substituted for refined white sugar.
Unsulphured molasses or Barbados molasses is made by crushing sugar cane to extract the juice which is filtered and boiled to a syrup. It can be used in baking and cooking. Blackstrap molasses is a result of the end of the sugar refining process. Sorghum molasses is made from the sorghum plant, a cereal grain.
Fructose is a highly refined product made by chemically splitting sucrose into glucose and fructose. Sixty percent sweeter than white table sugar, only half the amount is needed to achieve the same sweetening power as sugar. Fructose tends, however, to be converted into fat. High fructose corn syrup, increasingly seen in all manner of food, from fruit-flavored drinks to energy bars, low-fat yogurt to English muffins, has been shown to lead to obesity.
Maple syrup sap straight from the tree is only 2-3% sucrose. By the time it is processed, it contains 65% sucrose. Pancake syrup may contain only 2-3% real maple syrup with corn syrup, artificial flavorings and colorings. Maple sugar is crystallized maple syrup.
Honey is nectar, processed by bees, who transform it with enzymes in their stomach into glucose and fructose. Honey is 20-60% sweeter than white sugar and products made with it may send the blood sugar reeling more than table sugar.
Barley malt sugar is made from barley and is 40% as sweet as white sugar and contains some complex carbohydrates yielding a much reduced sugar rush than any other sweetener. Corn syrup combined with the barley malt increases its sugar content.
Rice syrup and rice malt syrup are created from a combination of barley malt and cooked rice. They are similar in sweetening power as barley malt and have a sweet, subtle taste.
Date sugar, made from ground, dehydrated dates, can be used like brown sugar. With the same nutrient value as dried dates, it is almost as sweet as white sugar. To use in baking, add hot water to make a syrup, which prevents burning.
Amasake is a whole grain sweetener made from adding a cultured brown rice to cooked rice. It can be used as a sweetener, a leavening and the base for creamy puddings or pies or a beverage similar to a shake. Fruit juice concentrates are fruit juices with the water removed. Less processed and containing more nutrients, they are 60% as sweet as table sugar.
Xylitol is a natural substance found in fibrous vegetables, fruit, corncobs and some hardwood trees, such as birch. It metabolizes in the body without using insulin, which makes it a candidate for use with diabetics. Sucanat is a natural sweetener made by drying granulated cane juice, with nothing added. The natural complex sugars, molasses and 3% vitamins and minerals are still retained.
As with other things in life, our sugar choices are complex--putting us in charge of our health.
Environmentally Yours, Evi Ecology
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