Sugar is a kind of simple carbohydrate that is usually obtained from sugar cane, but can also be produced from beets, for example. Its function is mainly to add sweetness to drinks and food.
With a very long history (sugar cane was already used in Asia 6,000 years ago to add sweetness to food), it has been gaining variety over the centuries. Whether you are looking for a healthier lifestyle or the impossibility of planting sugar cane, today you can find different sugars. Check out 6 of them and their specifics here.
1. Brown sugar
Brown is the version of sugar in which it is raw. This means that it has not undergone any chemical refining process, which makes it brown or gold. It’s always good to be aware that you find brands that are blends of brown sugar with crystalline sugar and not different versions.
Brown sugar retains some of its vitamins, calcium, iron and mineral salts, as well as preserving cane molasses, ensuring a stronger flavor. Its texture is moist and sandy and its unique taste makes it more than a great substitute for the refined type, but also a key ingredient in gastronomy.
2. Confectionery sugar
Also called powdered sugar, icing sugar is finer than refined type and contains some kind of additive in its composition that guarantees greater lightness. Up close, it looks like a kind of talcum powder or flour.
It is a type of sugar that is mainly used in baking and confectionery, as its characteristics make it very adherent to the surfaces of breads and sweets. It is also preferred for whipped cream, icing and glasses. With a name like that, it couldn’t be any different, right?
3. Coconut sugar
A favorite of the moment, coconut sugar, a substance extracted from the sap of the flowers of the coconut palm, is very nutritionally rich, although its caloric value is not very different from other species. It is an excellent source of B vitamins, as well as potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
In its composition it contains a dietary fiber called inulin, excellent for delaying the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. Because its glycemic index is lower, it helps keep blood sugar low. There are those who complain that “it does not sweeten like the refined”, but it is about educating the palate.
4. Sucre Demerara
With a very high nutritional value, very similar to brown sugar, demerara sugar undergoes a slight refinement, but does not receive any chemical additives. Its beans are light brown in color and have a subtle molasses flavor.
It is used in confectionery to make icing in baked goods such as cupcakes and cookies, while its use as a sweetener is more common in hot beverages such as coffee and tea. Now, unlike coconut, demerara is a sugar with a high glycemic index, which means that it should be consumed with caution.
5. Crystalline sugar
One of the most consumed in Brazilian homes, crystalline sugar is a type with large, irregular crystals. They vary between transparent and slightly yellow, being the result of a process of purification, evaporation, crystallization and drying of the juice of the sugar cane. Due to this production method, it loses a lot of minerals and vitamins.
This is the preferred type of food industry when it comes to offering different versions. With the addition of artificial dyes, you can easily find crystals of many colors such as blue, pink and orange. However, make no mistake, it changes color, the product is the same.
6. Refined sugar
Ancient war, present in most households in our country, refined sugar is a type obtained from crystalline sugar. During refining, crystalline sugar dissolves so that it undergoes clarification and filtration.
The method is heavy and includes the addition of chemical additives such as sulfur, in order to obtain a white color. It turns out that in this process almost all vitamins and minerals are left by the way, leaving almost exclusively sucrose.