Food Facts & Cooks Challenge II

Refining

It’s generally understood that refining food destroys nutrients.  Really? Why?

How about refined sugar? There is no such thing as non-refined sugar.  And this sugar is PURE.  I mean it really is nothing but sucrose.  There are no chemicals whatsoever.  Brown sugar, “Sugar in the Raw”/turbinado sugar, and molasses are ALL refined.  At best the “raw sugar” is still 87% refined and more colored and crystallized to look “raw” (by adding molasses back to fully refined white sugar and then recrystallizing it).

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/1971-09-01/Truth-About-Raw-Sugar.aspx?page=3*

*They no longer use true bones as stated in the article.

You can use honey as a replacement if you are still concerned (in recipes you can usually use less honey than sugar but honey actually has more carbohydrates and more calories than granulated sugar does).

Regardless of whether you are consuming honey, fruit, juice, plain ol’ sugar, and even milk, all are considered “simple sugars” and will break down in your body into the same compound – C6H12O6.  And your body treats all of those sugars exactly the same.

Challenge for Cooks

1. Compare the properties of different sugar in making chocolate chip cookies. Select a basic chocolate chip cookie formula that uses one type of sugar. Prepare cookie dough from several different sugars, including brown, white, raw, honey, a mixture, or your choice. Form, bake, and cool the cookies. Compare the cookies in height, spread, color, flavor, and texture. What do these differences tell you about each sugar?

3 thoughts on “Food Facts & Cooks Challenge II”

  1. I didn’t have time to read the article- but what about sucanat? As far as I know, that is just the juice from sugar cane, with the water evaporated out of it which is why it looks nothing like “real sugar”. We use that often. I also like Stevia as a sweetener (but only in certain things because it is bitter), and have used Agave nectar (still sweet, still has calories, but doesn’t give your bloodstream a “rush” since it has a lower glycemic index). I like your take though- I think so many people don’t really research why something is/is not good for them and they jump on the latest bandwagon.

  2. Sucanat would still break down in the body the same way and is still “empty” calories. I would probably weigh the cost versus results. It is a little better for you but I personally wouldn’t be willing to spend (significantly) more for the benefit.

    Stevia breaks down in our bodies as steviol, which may act as a carcinogen. I got this from http://www.weight-loss-center.net/weight-loss-blog/2009/06/stevia-sugar-substitute-healthy-artificial-sweetener. But it seems to be a fine alternate in small doses.

    Agave looks to be the best of the bunch, depending on brand. If it is truly mostly inulin (a complex sugar that may not be able to be used as an energy source for our bodies and probiotic) then this seems like it really could be a true wonder food.

  3. There’s some debate about agave because it is really highly refined (using enzymes in a harsh process) and is mostly fructose unless you search out a really specific brand. I haven’t bothered doing that when I can just use honey.

    I use a local raw honey that really helps with my allergies, but we still use it very sparingly (and generally don’t cook it because that defeats the purpose of using it for allergies – destroys the pollen). Yes, any form of sugar breaks down pretty quickly but molassas and sucanat have some beneficial minerals and nutrients that haven’t been taken out like white sugar so that’s part of why we choose to use them more often than white sugar. Raw sugar is just a crock 🙂
    -Meghan

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