Have you been tempted to buy dark organic Demerara sugar or organic cane sugar believing it is healthier for you? Do you prefer dark sugar over white sugar? Are you willing to spend more for natural sugar? If you’ve answered yes to any of the questions above, think again. When it comes to calories, sugar is sugar, with about 4 calories per gram (16 calories per teaspoon). It makes no difference if you are using table sugar, demerara, organic, whole cane, or other fancy named sugar products. The best decision you can make, is to reduce your overall sugar consumption, regardless of the type of sugar. Most sugars are derived from sugar cane or sugar beets. The darker sugars simply have a bit of molasses added to them. The molasses are removed from sugarcane as part of the processing it goes from cane to granules. It’s funny that they are then added back to make the product seem healthier.
You may have read about coconut sugar, which has a slightly lower glycemic index (GI) compared to cane or beet sugars. The GI is a measure of how much a food spikes blood glucose levels. This has made it popular in diabetes circles. That said, coconut sugar is still high in fructose (like regular sugars) and taxes the liver if too much is consumed. It’s true that the darker sugars have some nutrients that are missing from highly processed table sugar. However, the amounts are miniscule and totally irrelevant in their contribution to the daily required amounts.
You also might see Agave Syrup popping up in many of the new, hip cookbooks. I have spotted it recently in the health and wellness section of the supermarket. My husband actually bought it recently because he assumed it was healthy. Agave Syrup is quite high in fructose, higher than normal sugar -somewhere between 55 and 90%. When we eat fructose, rather than going into the blood like glucose it goes straight to the liver to be broken down into fat and cholesterol. Unlike other foods, fructose does not trigger appetite regulation hormones. So we can easily overeat fructose which can lead to weight gain and obesity. So don’t be misled by what you read on product packaging, don’t be fooled in assuming something is healthy just because it ‘looks’ it. Make Informed Choices. Helen Byrne – Your Nutrition and Health Coach – Educate, Guide, Support, Inspire