Let's tackle sugar. It can be very confusing so I am going to give you a breakdown of some of the different commonly heard of sugars. I want to make a few terms clear. Refined foods are a reduced version of a whole food that has been chemically or mechanically processed and has little if any nutritional value. Processed foods are altered by refining, cooking or juicing and usually both refined and processed foods have added chemicals like preservatives and are foriegn to the body for metabolism.
Artificial Sweetners are saccharin, and aspartame (Nutrasweet). These synthetic substances are highly refined and derived from wood alcohol, coal tar and amino acids. Sounds yummy huh! Do you think your body is able to recognize those things as food? The FDA has recieved more reports of side effects from these substances than any other. They are in many diet or low fat foods including diet sodas.
Granulated Sugar or table sugar is a highly refined with the beneficial nutrients stripped away. White sugar is very sweet and comes from the refining of beets or sugar cane.
Confectioner's sugar is powdered white sugar
Raw sugar is the residue that is left over after sugar crystals and molasses have been extracted. It is repeatedly processed to remove impurities like mold and fibers.
Turbinado sugar is steam cleaned raw sugar.
Molasses is the boiled juice that is extracted from the refining of sugar cane and beets
Brown sugar is white sugar with a little molasses added for color. It does not contain more nutrients than regular white sugar.
Rapadura is pressed cane sugar that has not been refined and retains most of the sugar cane minerals.
Sucanat is dehydrated sugar cane juice. It is less processed than raw sugar but is still a processed sugar.
Agave Nectar is made from the maguey plant and is fairly low glycemic. It contains inulin which is a beneficial fiber and food for good gut flora.
Malt Sugars come from grains that have been malted. They are not appropriate for people with grain in tolerances.
Stevia is a South American herb. In its natural form it is green. After it has been processed it is white powder or a clear liquid. I have bought stevia leaves at farmer's markets and hear it is easy to grow. It is too sweet for me.
Maple syrup is boiled down sap from maple trees that is either a liquid or crystals. Grade B is better for cooking because it contains more flavor than Grade A.
Date sugar simply comes from dates. It has the same affects on the body as table sugar.
Rice syrup is made from processing rice and is not very sweet so people tend to use more of it.
Honey comes from flower nectar. In the stores most of it has been pasteurized killing enzymes. Raw honey can be purchased in health food stores. It is not pasteurized so the enzymes remain.
No child under 2 years old should be given honey.
Fructose is fruit sugar. It can be found as a refined white sugar.
when I bake or cook I use Agave Nectar or maple syrup. I use honey as well but mostly in tea if I am out somewhere. I do like honey from the farmer's markets over buying it at the stores.
Wer have choices, chose wisely.