No Sugar-Coating, just the Truth about Cane Sugar

No Sugar-Coating, just the Truth about Cane Sugar

The sugarcane plant is a tall tropical grass that is primarily grown in regions with a warm climate. The process of making cane sugar begins with harvesting the sugarcane stalks, which are then crushed to extract the juice. This juice is then heated to evaporate the water content, leaving behind a thick syrup known as cane juice.

Next, the cane juice undergoes a process of clarification and filtration to remove impurities. The resulting clear liquid is then boiled until it reaches a thick consistency and sugar crystals begin to form. These crystals are separated from the remaining liquid through centrifugation, resulting in raw sugar. To obtain the familiar white sugar we commonly use, the raw sugar undergoes further processing to remove any remaining impurities and molasses. This refining process involves repeated crystallization and centrifugation until the sugar is pure white. It’s important to note that this refining process does strip the sugar of some of its natural nutrients, but it is chemically the same as the sugar found in the sugarcane plant.

While cane sugar itself is a natural product, the issue arises when it is excessively added to processed foods and beverages. Sugar is a concentrated source of calories that lacks essential nutrients, often referred to as “empty calories.” Consuming too much sugar can contribute to dental issues, weight gain, and an increased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

It’s crucial to recognize that whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains naturally contain sugars along with a host of beneficial nutrients like fibre, vitamins, and minerals. When consumed in their natural form, these foods provide a wide range of health benefits beyond just energy. This should be differentiated from added sugars that you would find in sodas and confectionary. The focus should be on incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods into our diets to ensure we are meeting our body’s nutritional needs and avoiding foods that do not contribute to our health.

For example, an apple and 30 g of mini marshmallows contains the same amount of sugar, but the origin and nutrients that comes with it is ‘chalk and cheese’. An apple contains: dietary fibre, pectin, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, antioxidants, and quercetin. The health benefits that come with eating the apple is substantial and cannot be ignored. Mini marshmallows literally only contain sugar and are thus considered to be made up of ‘empty calories’.

In conclusion, cane sugar is a natural ingredient that, when consumed in moderation, can be a part of a balanced diet. However, it is essential to be mindful of the sources of sugar in our diets and prioritize whole, nutrient-dense foods that offer a wide array of health benefits beyond just sweetness. By making informed and conscious choices about our food intake, we can support our overall health and well-being.


Wilna Eksteen