A question that often comes up in nutrition: what is the difference between white, brown, dark brown sugars, ect. Is there a difference or not?
In terms of price, there is no doubt that white sugar is cheaper! But in terms of the nutritional quality of products, let’s see what the medical literature tells us.
White table sugar, brown sugar or whole sugar are very similar products. They all consist of sucrose, a molecule consisting of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. White sugar is a refined product, it is almost 100% sucrose. Red or full sugar is a less processed product that also contains molasses, derived from sugar cane, source of vitamins and minerals But in truth the vitamin content remains very low.
The problem of sugar, whether white or complete, is the same as that of glucose-fructose syrup used by manufacturers. Indeed, they all contain about 50% glucose and 50% fructose, sometimes even more fructose for the latter. With rapidly dangerous effects, comparable to a drug such as alcohol according to US researchers and in particular, it increases insulin resistance, promotes diabetes, overweight and cardiovascular disease. Its role in the obesity of the industrialised countries seems very important. By eating white sugar, brown sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, the effects on the body are exactly the same. And since it is fructose that gives mainly the sweet taste in natural products, no product escapes this observation: consuming sugar is not better for health than consuming glucose-fructose syrup.
There is only one simple solution: to limit the consumption of sweet products, even if they are natural. The use of sweeteners is a real-false solution: on the one hand manufacturers mix them with sugars such as maltodextrin to reduce the cost (which makes them lose a lot of interest in the product) and on the other hand at a dose some of them could pose health hazards. However, if you are unable to get rid of the sweet taste and you are overweight, you have liver problems and diabetes, the replacement of sugar with products with sweetener such as stevia may be a transitional option, on the way of total weaning.
Stevia is a good alternative to sugar. Stevia extract may be considered one of the safest sweeteners available today, and there is no doubt about it, unlike other chemical sweeteners.
The fact that sugar is organic has nothing to do with refining. Cane sugar exists in different forms:
the whole sugar is not refined so the unrefined sugar is the complete sugar.
but the white sugar can be derived from sugar cane and in this case it is refined.
Brown sugar has undergone partial refining, less important than white sugar.
The first option is much more interesting nutritionally because rich in minerals and trace elements. It is not a carcinogenic sugar like white sugar for example. It has its place in the kitchen.
Unrefined sugars include: honey, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, maple syrup (pure), cane juice, date sugar, molasses and other similar products.
So, Honey ?
Honey contains fructose. Unrefined sugars contain sucrose, fructose and glucose. But, more importantly, because these two products are pure, they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals. It contains: calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc. Also, because these two products are in a raw form they do not quickly increase blood sugar levels.
The rule is simple: the less refined a sugar, the more health benefits it has. The more refined a sugar is, the less health benefits it has. Refined white sugar (or “table sugar”) does not contain any of the benefits mentioned above. At the AMCC, we recommend honey and unrefined sugars instead.
Depending on the honey you choose you can benefit from its virtues. For example: fir honey is excellent on the respiratory sphere, hawthorn honey is antispasmodic, orange honey is soothing etc.
Honey and Maple Syrup
Pure maple syrup has a glycemic index of 54 and pure honey of 58 (source) so both will cause a smaller increase in blood glucose levels than white sugar. But there will still be an increase. Despite their health benefits, they are still concentrated sources of carbohydrates. In 25g of maple syrup for example, we find 18g of carbohydrates. Diabetics should keep this in mind, even though maple syrup and honey contain potentially beneficial elements. Both are the type of food that should only be eaten once in a while.
In case of diabetes, honey and maple syrup can be used to REPLACE other sugars but not to ADD.
Honey in herbal tea, why not?
Flavonoids and vitamins are sensitive to heat. So if you sweeten your infusion at the last moment, after cutting the heat under the pot (and if you wait a bit for the temperature to cool down), you preserve the nutrients to the maximum. The idea of bad sugar for the liver is wrong. You can sweeten your digestive infusions with a little honey, it’s all about measurement!
The dangers of glucose and fructose seem proportional to the dose consumed. Marginal and occasional consumption of even white sugar is possible – but watch out for hidden sources (industrial products).