Is any type of sugar healthy?

Natural and added sugars are metabolized in the same way in our body. However, for most people, the consumption of natural sugars in foods such as fruit is not related to negative health effects, since the amount of sugar tends to be modest and is full of fiber and other healthy nutrients. In the end, the sugar in our body is still sugar. So while honey, raw sugar, date sugar, and molasses are “better than white sugar and other types of sugar, everyone should try to reduce their sugar intake.” Brown sugar is refined white sugar with varying amounts of molasses added, providing a darker color and a smaller amount of trace elements.

Although the antioxidant capacity of date sugar and molasses is many times greater than that of white sugar and corn syrup, it is still relatively low compared to foods rich in antioxidants. Health Canada recommends limiting the intake of added sugars to less than 10% of the total daily calorie intake, ideally to less than 5%, while the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women and 9 teaspoons (36 g) per day for men. Both light and dark brown sugar contain molasses, dark brown sugar simply contains a higher concentration. While excess sugar certainly isn't good for your health, your body can absorb a little bit of anything in a reasonable amount, even a little bit of sugar.

Sugars with a higher concentration of fructose, such as honey, have a higher level of sweetness and, therefore, a smaller amount is needed to achieve a level of sweetness similar to that of white sugar. In addition, liquid sugars, such as maple syrup and honey, have a higher water content; therefore, the total sugar content is slightly lower than the equivalent of white sugar by weight. Raw sugar, brown sugar and molasses are high in compounds that provide color, either from natural sources or byproducts of the breakdown of sugar (caramel) during sugar processing. Coconut sugar is made from the sap of coconut trees through a natural two-step process; the sap is collected from the flower buds of the coconut tree, then boiled to evaporate its water content, and the final product is coconut sugar.

During the refining process, moisture, minerals and compounds that give color to sugars are removed and refined white sugar is formed. Turbined sugar, like demerara sugar, is a form of unprocessed cane sugar and is traditionally processed slightly less than brown sugar. Like artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols are created synthetically (usually from the sugars themselves).

Shelley Musselman
Shelley Musselman

Avid social media fan. Award-winning coffee specialist. Subtly charming coffee enthusiast. Total bacon fan. Total pizza guru.

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