Natural sugars under investigation

 C.C. Pixabay

C.C. Pixabay

 
 

Do you think that natural sugars are better than table sugar?

I asked this question to several clients and most of the time their answer is YES. The reasoning is that natural sugars are less processed therefore better for health.

It is true that has changed less but from a nutritional point of view there is not really a big difference. Are you surprised? Here is a little tour on the nutritional value of the most used sugars:

WHITE SUGAR


White sugar consists of sucrose (glucose + fructose). It is extracted from cane or sugar beet and then undergoes a refining process to get the table sugar we know. From a nutritional point of view, a 5 gram teaspoon contains 16 calories, 4 grams of carbohydrates and no minerals. Thus, calories from sugar are empty and have no nutritional value.

BROWN SUGAR


Brown sugar is only white sugar with molasses, hence the brown color. Does added molasses make brown sugar healthier? Not at all. Indeed, molasses is a product derived from the refining of cane sugar.

Nutritionally, brown sugar is almost identical with white sugar. A teaspoon contains 18 calories, 5 grams of carbohydrates and virtually no minerals.

HONEY


Honey is a combination of fructose and glucose just like white sugar. Although it is produced by bees, its nutritional profile is no more interesting than natural sugar. The only advantage is that honey can contain antioxidants and can have an antibacterial effect. However, these properties are variable and depend on several factors, including the type of flowers pollinated by bees, geography, season ...

MAPLE SYRUP


A classic of Quebec gastronomy, maple syrup is obtained by boiling the sap of the maple. Likewise, it is rich in sucrose and offers the same nutritional value as sugar. However, pure maple syrup may contain traces of minerals such as potassium, zinc and calcium. In addition, like honey it has antioxidant properties. Finally, it seems that maple syrup has a lower glycemic index than white sugar.

AGAVE SYRUP


The agave syrup comes from a Mexican cactus blue agave. It varies in color from light brown to dark brown and 1.5 times sweeter than white sugar because of its fructose content. A teaspoon of agave syrup contains 17 calories, which is as much as regular sugar. Like maple syrup, agave syrup has a lower glycemic index than white sugar. However, it remains that it is rich in fructose and an excess of fructose can turn into fat!

TO REMEMBER


The nutritional value of brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and agave syrup is similar to that of white sugar. Even if they contain a very small amount of vitamins and minerals, all these variants of table sugar contain mainly fast-absorbing carbohydrates that can have an impact on blood sugar (blood sugar). So, consume them in moderation, and sweeten with the one you love most. Whether it's white sugar or natural sources, they should all be limited and consumed in moderation!

Want to know how to read the labels and identify the hidden sugar in the products? Do you want to limit your sugar intake? Feel free to take RV with me for a consultation or a grocery tour


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Céline Saloumi

celine.saloumi@loblaw.ca

Nutritionist


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