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  • Writer's pictureAlos Infotech

Which types of sugar ?

This week, we are talking about sugar, or more specifically types of sugar because there are plenty ! And how difficult it is to figure out the healthiest ones.

The basic well known refined white sugar is mostly used in hot drinks and desserts... It is very high in calories (380 kcal/100g) and poor in vitamins and minerals.

Its GI reaches 70 as it contains mostly saccharose.

Its price is also very competitive, this is the main advantage ! If you follow some recipe from the internet, reduce the sugar quantity that is mentioned. It is often too high compared to the total quantity of the preparation. Besides, if the dessert is less sweet, you will not be temped to take a second serving :)

So, what are the possible alternatives we can find in (almost) any store ?

Brown sugar (or cane sugar) is one. It is basically refined sugar with a small quantity of molasses that gives that unique colour.

The slight caramelised taste is the advantage, otherwise, same amount of calories and almost same GI. Which is definitely not a good option if you have diabetes or if you are more generally insulin resistant.

Molasses is a thick and dark syrup. It is nutritionally better than its two friends above as it contains more vitamins and minerals + is a source of antioxidants but it remains highly calorific.

It is then a more healthy option and can replace white and brown sugar in baking. Let's note though that its taste is a bit bitter and can be disliked by certain people.

Muscovado is an unrefined cane sugar containing natural molasses. Hence its dark colour and sticky consistency. Its GI is high (70) but it is a good source of minerals like potassium or magnesium. Its consumption is to be limited. The smoky and caramelised flavour is very interesting in some sweet dishes like brownies or cookies, or even for salt&sweet meals in sauces or marinades.

Honey's GI varies between 30 and 60, it mostly contains fructose but there is much fraud on this product and many production companies mix up fructose with some cheaper saccharose, which increases GI... Better choose it organic and buy it at the beekeeper you might know. The caloric intake is high as the other types of sugar, so again here, it has to be used with moderation.

It can be a good source of sugar in plain yogurts, on pancakes, or also in a table spoon after you drank some tea in case you have a cold. Indeed, honey stimulates the immune system, and has some healing and moisturising properties, that is why you can some day notice on body cream label its mentioning.

Our star for mineral containing (calcium, potassium, manganese, B vitamin among others) comes from the concentration of maple tree sap. It is a natural sweetener with a medium range GI - 55 and less calorific than its colleagues. Maple syrup has a distinct flavour, a strong caramel-like taste which is just lovely on top of waffles.

Again here though, moderation is our good friend.

Coconut sugar comes from coconut tree flower. Its colour is brown and it does not taste like coconut ! (in case you do not like the taste:). Its advantages are : low GI - 24, fibers, minerals, and antioxidants. It is an ecological sugar as coconut trees do not require much water. It tastes like caramel and is perfect in some flan or banana cake.

THE positive thing with these sugary options tasting like caramel is like you do not need to use much to get a taste, so basically you end up eating less sugar :)

At last, we are focusing on the natural low/no colorie sweeteners - they come from plants or fruits and are extraordinarily sweet (sweeter than white sugar). We are talking here about steviol, xylitol ou erythritol. They do not impact your blood sugar as their GI is 0.

Yet, their taste is specific and some people do not like it. They may as well cause some digestive trouble if they are used too much.

Besides as they are quite new sweeteners, we do not have a distance prospective and we do not know for sure what the risks might be if they are consumed on a daily basis.

Aspartame is rather popular as a sweetener, it is mainly used in light sodas and foods under the 'code name' E 951. Health governments have checked it all over the world and gave consent to its selling. But yet, recently in 2021, a NutriNet cohort study reported that consuming aspartame would raise the risk to develop various types of cancer.

'Anything' can increase cancer risk', you might think.

All right, but are sweeteners a necessity ?

Can we not just use any type of sugar I mentioned above in a limited quantity so that it pleases our brain and does not affect our health ?

If you really are a sugar lover and cannot do without it, think about these tips:

- use spices that givra sweet flavour like cinnamon

- use very ripe fruit in your baking (naturally rich in sugar)

- change the sugar spoon in the Greek yogurt with mashed cooked apple

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