This morning as I dumped my “dirt” into my coffee (that is making a temporary appearance in my diet) someone asked me what the difference was between the sucanat I was dumping into my coffee and regular ole brown sugar. I thought I’d share the answer with you!
Sucanat (my “dirt”) stands for “SUgar CAne NATural” and is the most unprocessed of granulated sugars I can find. It is made by taking raw sugar cane juice–which still has a molasses component. The molasses component carries a number of vitamins, nutrients and trace minerals. The existence of these other things reduces the amount of sucrose in Sucanat and sucrose is what makes sugar sweet. So the amount of sucrose in Sucanat is roughly 88% and the taste definitely takes an adjustment because of the molasses undertones. In other countries, a similar product called “Panela” is sold in block form or “Rapadura” in granulated form.
Turbinado sugar (or “sugar in the raw”) is not exactly “raw”. It is, in fact, processed. The name”turbinado” comes from the turbines used to process the surface molasses out of the sugar. Removing the majority of the molasses leaves behind just the sugar without the small amount of nutrients, vitamins and trace minerals in the molasses component. That raises the sucrose component to 99%.
Regular white sugar is highly refined–ensuring ALL of the molasses is removed. People believe that white sugar is bleached, but The Sugar Asssociation’s FAQ page says that it is not. Refined white sugar is 99.9% sucrose.
Light brown and dark brown sugar is white sugar with some molasses added back to it for color and flavor. I was unable to find a standard percentage sucrose content for brown sugars, but it appears to be somewhere in the 90s.
Honey is 100% sucrose. People (including myself) love honey because it’s all natural–which is generally is (it’s often processed to remove hive pieces and other things that make it harder to deal with).
All of the sugars have the same number of calories: 16 per teaspoon. Honey has 22 calories per teaspoon.
How those calories work in your body will differ slightly because of their other ingredients/content; but at the end of the day–it’s still sugar, which has zero health benefit and contributes meaningfully to many chronic illnesses that can end in death. You guys know that I’m not dramatic like that. This is serious. Sugar is also highly addictive. I use some in my coffee and some honey in my tea, but sparingly (and even so–I’m trying to move off of them). If you’re in the same boat, consider joining my 21-Day Sugar Detox facilitated book group–where I ease you into and out of this book’s awesome program!