Surely the scene sounds familiar to you: in the supermarket, we stop in front of the shelf where the sugars are and we read the labels of all the products at our disposal, looking for the option that best suits us. For me personally, the situation produces a kind of panic, because I am never sure if I am sufficiently informed. So today we are going to try how much authentic is the brown sugar we are going to buy.
Despite the fact that sugar is one of the most important and commonly used items in our kitchens, most of us are not aware of the fact that, apart from the white sugar that we have traditionally been using, there are many other varieties of sugar. Today we will focus on brown sugar and whole sugar. What are the differences?
Is brown sugar really a colored sugar?
Many times, we consume one product instead of another because we think it will bring more benefits to our health, when in fact it is not. The confusion often comes, in part, from labeling that uses ambiguous terms or also from misleading advertising campaigns.
To avoid being bullied, we need to be well informed. At least later we can make an informed choice. In reality, almost all the brown sugar that we can buy in establishments is white sugar dyed with molasses and it has nothing to do with real raw whole cane sugar.
You can put brown sugar in your shopping cart instead of white sugar and feel calm, thinking that you are buying a healthier sugar for your familyBut brown sugar has little to recommend white sugar in the health section. The only differences with respect to white sugar are its appearance, its molasses taste, and it contains a little more minerals.
How do you get brown sugar?
Raw sugar, which appears brown, undergoes less processing than white or brown sugar. After the manufacturers remove the juice from the sugarcane, they boil the juice and filter it. Spinning the crystals in a centrifuge produces raw sugar crystals, which contain molasses.
White or table sugar undergoes additional processing and granulation to make the crystals finer; this removes the molasses. Brown sugar it is a refined white sugar with the addition of molasses.
What are the advantages of brown sugar over white sugar?
Regarding appearance: Raw sugar has coarser crystals than refined white or brown sugar, which gives the product a more organic appearance. This can be aesthetically interesting, as it gives the appearance of a more “natural” product. In some foods, brown sugar adds to the color of the finished product.
Regarding the presence of minerals: slightly higher than white sugar, but only because they contain molasses. Molasses will raise calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium levels very slightly, but the amounts are too small to have any real health benefit. A 1 teaspoon serving of brown sugar provides just 0.02 milligrams of iron, for example, a minuscule amount of the daily requirement of 8 milligrams for men and 18 milligrams for women of childbearing age.
Regarding taste: Molasses gives the brown sugar a slightly different flavor, which could be a benefit if you like the taste of molasses.
Therefore, for the amount of minerals present in sugar to be nutritionally significant we would have to take tons of sugar, with all the inconveniences that this implies. It is better for us to obtain them from other sources, such as vegetables.
Is there a way to tell if we are buying brown sugar instead of unrefined whole cane sugar?
We can easily find out with a little experiment. We take a glass of water, we add a tablespoon of brown sugar, we stir and wait. We will see how the water is stained by the effect of the molasses that this sugar contains.
If the sugar turns white, which means that this sugar is a mixture of refined white sugar and molasses. On the other hand, if the sugar maintains its brown color, we will have bought whole cane sugar. As simple as that.
Let’s not let them sell us one thing for another. If you are looking for an alternative to refined white sugar, look for a whole cane sugar. You can always take the test that I have proposed if you do not quite trust it. And remember that quality is paid, that’s why brown sugar is comparatively much more affordable.
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