Is Muscovado Sugar Healthy?

5.3 min read
Is Muscovado sugar healthier than other sugars?

What is muscovado sugar?

Muscovado sugar, also known as Barbados sugar, is a partially refined cane sugar. Muscovado sugar has a dark brown colour and a strong molasses flavour making it a popular bakers’ choice for gingerbread cookies. Muscovado sugar is stickier and slightly coarser than other partially refined brown sugars such as turbinado and dermerara sugar. Of note, these partially refined brown sugars are not the same as the so-called brown sugar commonly found in supermarkets. Supermarket brown sugar is actually highly refined white sugar that’s had molasses added to it to make it appear brown.

What is the best form of sugar?

“You may be surprised to hear that we don’t feel any different about any of these sugars,” notes Kimberly Gomer, Director of Nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa.  Sifting through the sweet messages about different types of sugars can be challenging and confusing. Perhaps you are left wondering, what is the best form of sugar? It’s all sugar. Regardless of where it comes from, or how it is made, all forms of sugar behave the same in the body. Gomer has an easy rule to help avoid getting stuck in the syrupy messages that exist about sugars on the internet, “If weight loss is your goal, sugar should not appear in the first 5 ingredients of a food. If health is your goal it should not appear within the first 3 ingredients.”

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Is muscavado healthier than white sugar?

The main difference between muscovado sugar and white sugar is they are made from two different sources. Muscavado sugar is a type of cane sugar. Raw cane sugar (muscovado, dermerara, turbinado) is partially processed so it retains high proportions of molasses. As such, it has an intense almost burnt taste. Unrefined canes sugar is called sucanat. Alternatively, white sugar is made from sugar beets. White sugar is refined. The process of converting sugar beets into white sugar can include the use of chemical flocculents, animal bone char and bleaches. The processing creates small crystals of pure white sucrose.

Both cane sugar and refined white sugar are types of sugar which are high in calories and cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Deceivingly, you will find muscovado sugar, along with demerara and turbinado sugar in the natural food section of stores. They are located there because they are less processed than refined white sugar. It is important to remember that if it is called sugar, it is a sugar and will react in your body as sugar does.

Yet, natural does not always mean healthier. All sugar is high in calories, low in fiber and absorb quickly to spike your blood sugar levels. These natural sugars may be a better choice. However, they are all sugar and, as with all sugars and should be consumed sparingly.

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