Who doesn’t love sugar? In coffee as much as in desserts, it makes people happy.
All sugars are composed mainly of carbohydrates, a macronutrient just like proteins and lipids. Carbohydrates are the most efficient source of energy for the body and preferably fuel for many organs, including the brain.
In addition to imparting a sweet taste to food, sugar performs several functions. It makes your cake soft and helps conserve its humidity. It also contributes to browning. Think of the simple mixture of sugar and water that goes from transparent to golden when cooked, creating what we know as caramel.
You might be happy to know that TERRA offers its own line of sugars such as; Organic cane sugar, Organic icing sugar, naturally flavoured Vanilla icing sugar and our latest addition, Organic Coconut sugar.
In this article, we will compare the most common sugars on the market to our own offering. We asked nutritionist Maude Martinez, to help us in this task.
Granulated white sugar
It is extracted from sugar cane or sugar beet. Containing almost 100% carbohydrates, it is very refined. As a result, it contains very few vitamins and minerals and its taste is fairly neutral. It’s the most common! (Glycemic index: 70)
The sugar cane harvest is done in monoculture, which means that there are areas where only sugar cane is planted for harvesting. They even come to clear land for that. There is one bright side to this story; for some areas, the very deep roots of sugar cane actually help prevent soil erosion.
Golden cane sugar (turbinado)
It is less refined than granulated white sugar: its refining is between that of raw sugar and that of white sugar. This explains its golden color and its composition, which is a little richer in minerals than white sugar. On the other hand, it would have a glycemic index (speed at which sugar is found in our blood circulation) similar to white sugar. (Glycemic index: 70)
Its environmental impact is similar to that of sugar cane, but it is less processed and with its sweet flavor, does not alter the taste of your beverages. In addition, our TERRA Cane sugar is certified organic by Ecocert Canada.
This most recent addition to our offering comes from coconut flowers and surprisingly enough, doesn’t taste like coconut one bit. Unlike Cane sugar, harvesting of coconut sugar is not done in monoculture. The sap of the flowers is actually harvested from the top of coconut palms which you can imagine is not without risk for growers. In addition, flowers from which the sap has been harvested will not yield coconuts.
Regarding nutritional value, thanks to being less refined than white sugar, coconut sugar contains more vitamins and minerals, including calcium and potassium. It also has a lower glycemic index. (Glycemic index: between 24.5 and 35). Finally, its taste is similar to brown sugar, with delicious caramel notes.
It’s just more finely ground sugar. It therefore the same nutritional value, impact on blood sugar and taste to whichever sugar it is derived from. TERRA’s icing sugar is made from cane sugar.
This artificial sweetener sold under the name Splenda, was created in a laboratory. It tastes about 600 times sweeter than white sugar and contains almost no Calories (for the same intensity of sweetness). On the other hand, it is meant to be used in moderation because the effects of its long-term consumption are little known, and rather than appease your sugar craving might actually maintain it.
Why choose TERRA Sugars
In 2012, Carlo Granito, TERRA’s founder, began to do extensive research on the different sugar. He didn't just want to sell sugar, he wanted to source the very best. During his research, he fell on a bone. Literally, he discovered that certain refined white sugars are filtered with black charcoal. In fact, it is a charcoal made of charred animal bones, often cattle. There is also sometimes bone charcoal made from ivory. Upon discovering this, Carlo wanted to make sure that such procedures were not used for the products he sold.
It is for this reason that we import the finest cane sugar and coconut sugar made from organic and 100% vegan cultures. Our range of natural and vegan hot chocolates is also made from organic brown cane sugar and 100% Dutch cocoa powder.
Health wise, the sugars are mostly equal despite their differences in vitamins and minerals. The quantity of these nutrients remain small and cannot be relied on to for optimal supply. As far as an environmental view point, coconut sugar seems to be the best choice.
Beck, Leslie. (2020, 20 juin). Is coconut sugar healthier than white sugar?, The Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ask-a-health-expert/coconut-sugar-is-it-healthier-than-white-sugar-or-just-hype/article19187927/
Blais, C. (2007). La chimie des desserts. Les Éditions La Presse.
Lefebvre, C. (2015, 19 février). Remplacer le sucre, oui, mais par quel sucre? , La Presse. https://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/ef83be28-a352-47a6-9cf3-6be6164e1217__7C___0.html
Lefebvre, C. (2016). Sucre : vérités et conséquences. Édito.
Santé Canada. (2015). Fichier canadien sur les éléments nutritifs. https://aliments-nutrition.canada.ca/cnf-fce/index-fra.jsp
US Department of Agriculture. (2019). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/