Currently, sugar production in the world reaches 10 million tons. It is known that this is a product harmful to our health, therefore it is recommended to limit its consumption. Many people therefore turn white sugar into brown (reed), but is it actually a healthier replacement?
History of cane sugar production
Cane sugar began to be used by the inhabitants of Polynesia. From there he came to India and then to Persia. The expansion of the Arab peoples in the seventh century caused the further spread of cane sugar. As time went by, the reed cultivation covered areas of Africa and Spain.
When pure cane sugar was produced in India three thousand years ago, Europe was still sweetened with honey. Sugar came to Europe only during the Crusades (11th century) The first mention of this product appeared in England in 1099. In the fourteenth century, sugar was sold in London for 2 shillings a pound, which was a luxury commodity (this price corresponded to the monthly salary of a worker). Therefore, the sugar was hosted only on the tables of the rich. Sculptures or decorations made of sugar testified to high social status. In these times, because of the high price, sugar was treated as a miracle cure for strengthening, for example for people with disabilities.
However, the largest increase in sugar production occurred after the discovery of America. Columbus brought his sugar cane to start cultivating the Caribbean. There was an excellent climate for the development of this plant, which is why the production industry quickly developed. Sugarcane cultivation has been developed on a massive scale. A large number of workers were needed for work, mainly slaves imported from Africa and India.
Until the end of the 19th century, sugar was still a luxury commodity. Only after the abolition of tax he became available to the average citizen.
Kinds of sugar
Two types of sugar are the most popular in Poland
– white (crystal, beet),
– brown (reed).
Both white and brown sugar consist mainly of sucrose. It represents at least 99.7% of the product. In fact, the only difference between white and brown sugar lies in the different origins and the process of obtaining.
Production of cane sugar
The first stage is washing the raw material. Then the raw material has to be shredded. The sugar is extracted (extracted) with the help of hot water. The resulting juice is purified by the use of milk of lime. The pH changes and it is easier to remove impurities (by filtering). The water is evaporated until the crystallization begins. The product remains after centrifugation.
In the case of brown sugar, the purification step is omitted, so that the product is left with a molasses that gives the characteristic color. Due to this, there remain traces of minerals, ie iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. However, a small amount of elements can not be a significant source in the human diet.
Comparison of cane sugar and white sugar
The calorie content of brown sugar (373 kcal) is similar to white sugar (396 kcal), so it does not matter what kind of sugar will be used for sweetening. It should be remembered that it is still a product providing empty calories in the form of simple sugars. Excess of this ingredient is not recommended for people who care about the line and diabetics.
It is worth noting that there are no significant differences between these products. The only benefit of using cane sugar is the subtle difference in taste and trace amounts of minerals, including iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. However, these are minimal quantities that are not important in covering the daily needs of the human body.
Some people prefer the taste of cane sugar and therefore use this product to sweeten drinks and baking. In Poland, it is not a popular food, but it is used in Asian, Indian and Mexican cuisine.
Often, we also deal with the falsification of cane sugar. With the addition of caramel, the beetroot sugar is suitable. The price of cane sugar is higher than white sugar.
A much better alternative to cane sugar are natural sweeteners with reduced calorie content such as stevia, xylitol or erythritol.
Cane sugar is often presented as a dietetic product with pro-health properties. However, it turns out that in terms of nutritional value, it does not differ significantly from white sugar.