During the Holidays many of us want ALL the treats. And there are so many tasty things! Overall, is sugar just sugar? We like to think that looking for whole food, organically grown, natural sweeteners is worth the effort.
While a lot of people argue that the amounts of additional nutrients found in a less processed cane sugar is negligible, there may be others that argue the more homeopathic approach to nutrition. The trace amounts of amino acids, minerals and vitamins are still there and measurable. However, the amounts of nutrients are very small and this truly is no excuse to eat gobs of sugar. If we are talking about caloric intake and how excess sugar can upset balance in the body’s systems – sugar indeed is just sugar. It is good to be mindful of our sugar intake.
Does a smaller amount of processing required to achieve a finished sugar product mean that the environmental impact of consuming that sugar is less overall? In this sense, sun-dried raw cane juice may be the most environment-friendly way to appease our sweets cravings. Of course, going with organically grown sugar is one way we can try to lessen the amount of unfriendly pesticides and herbicides applied to the soil and water systems.
Is it worth it to think about all this? As a basic argument in favor of considering the outcomes, “sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) remains to be the world’s largest cash crop with estimates of 23.8 million hectares in more than 90 countries, and with a worldwide harvest of approximately 1.69 billion tons by the year 2010” (Omwama, 2014). People are going to be eating sugar into the future and growing cane sugar does require large swaths of land.
If we can begin to support sustainable, regenerative farming of cane sugar one purchase at a time, it may be worth the effort to seek out alternatives to refined white sugar or brown sugar. And who knows, maybe there are hidden benefits of consuming a more natural, whole food form of sugar over intake of refined white or brown sugar over a lifetime. One last thing to consider… once you get used to eating all natural, whole foods – the taste of high quality, gourmet style ingredients is arguably tastier.
If you decide you would like to opt for more natural, organic treats this Holiday season, we have some very tasty products at each of our locations!
Omwoma S et al. (2014) Environmental impacts of sugarcane production, processing and management: A chemist’s perspective. Environmental Research Journal, 8(3), 195-223. Available from: LINK [accessed Dec 16 2018]