There are many people today that are more health conscious about what they eat and put into their bodies. Almost everything you buy is full of artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives and dye. The amount of natural food products that are available is growing. Natural sugar is no exception. Natural sugar (also called raw sugar) is a great alternative to white sugar and artificial sweeteners when it comes to your health.
Sugar is an important part of your diet. While you never want to over-do sugar, it can be a natural and healthy part of a balanced diet. Since it is a basic carbohydrate, sugar gives your body essential energy for organs, muscles and brain function. Also, sugar is not as high in calories as many might think. One teaspoon of sugar is about 15 calories. The fact that many people think it is high calorie leads many to use artificial sweeteners, which may or may not be safe for long-term use.
Many studies have shown that many artificial sweeteners give you the “sweet” taste, but add all kinds of bad things in your body. Also, many artificial sweeteners are not good to use in baking. Real sugar helps dough rise and adds flavor and texture to the product.
There are typically 26 different kinds of sweeteners commonly used in foods. These include granulated sugar, brown sugar, Splenda and sweeteners such as Sweet and Low. White sugar (the kind you commonly use in baking) and natural granulated sugar is not quite the same thing. White sugar is bleached and processed. Natural sugar is not. In fact, if you are a vegetarian, you might be interested to know that about 25 percent of all white sugar is refined using the animal bone-char process. It is not easy to tell which brands are or are not processed this way. In addition, when white sugar is processed, it is bleached, which is not necessary. In case you are wondering, light and dark brown sugars are also not the same as the brown/tan natural sugar. It is simple white sugar that has been mixed with molasses.
So what are the advantages of natural sugar? Natural or raw sugar is not processed at all. For those who are concerned about his or her health, this is a big advantage. This sugar, which is tan in color, is not bleached. Also, since the bone-char process is not used, it is a perfect alternative for those living a vegetarian lifestyle.
Natural sugar also does well with baked goods and cooking. You can use natural sugar in any recipe that you have with no difficulty. There is no guess work. It measures just like white sugar, making it easier for you. It can also be added to tea and other beverages.
There are several ways to buy natural sugar. Many health food stores and organic stores carry natural or raw sugar in bulk. This makes it ideal for purchasing exactly what you need. Organic raw sugar can be bought slightly refined, giving it a more white sugar texture or less refined. The less refined brands are more crystal-like in appearance, but is used in the exact same way. Generally, any natural sugar you buy will have more nutrients and minerals that are natural to a sugar cane.
If you do decide to try natural or raw sugar, look at the different brands that are available. Most of these sugars have an indefinite shelf life when stored in a sealed container in a cool, dark area. This kind of sugar will harden, much like brown sugar if stored improperly.