Is Evaporated Cane Juice Better than Sugar?

What is Evaporated Cane Juice?

evaporated cane juice

photo source: DW Montgomery & Co

Before I started dissecting labels as an addiction habit, I bypassed the term EVAPORATED CANE JUICE quite frequently.  Most people look for the word sugar and when they don’t see it, they may think the product contains less sugar.

But that is false.

Sugar has taken on many names in the food industry in recent years, evaporated cane juice, being one of them.  It can also be labeled as “dried cane juice” “unrefined sugar” “milled cane sugar”.   But whatever you want to call it, it’s sugar.

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Based on the hours of research I’ve done on this subject, I’ve found there is only one real difference between evaporated cane sugar and refined sugar.  Refined white sugar goes through one more processing step than ECS.  Which as an end result means the ECS retains a smidge more vitamins and minerals in it, including Vitamin B.

Why is this important?

According to GreenMedInfo.com, “Sugar, as a carbohydrate, requires B vitamins to be processed by the body. When vitamins are completely stripped from sugar, the body needs to find other sources of B vitamins to do the job.  This is why it has been said that not only is white refined sugar a non-nutrient but it is a negative nutrient because it actually drains vitamins from the body.”

Something Else to Consider 

Evaporated cane juice comes from the sugar cane, not the sugar beet.   Sugar beets are genetically modified.  What this means is ANYTHING you buy that has sugar in it, unless it says ORGANIC, is made with GMO sugar. We’re talking everything from yogurt to the pie you get at a restaurant.

The only way to avoid Monstanto’s Round Up Ready GMO sugar is to get foods made with evaporated cane juice or products made with 100% cane sugar.

Sugar and Our Bodies

Now just because evaporated cane juice isn’t a GMO doesn’t mean we can go hog wild here.  It is still sugar.  Did you know that our bodies will not burn fat unless there are no carbohydrates available to burn.  This bears repeating:

“Our bodies will not burn fat unless there are no carbohydrates available to burn.”

What does that mean?  Let’s take 2 examples:

Example #1 ~

Sue is an average women, average height.  Her BMI is within normal range as well as her weight.  She eats a healthy diet and exercises 3-4 times per week.  She has relatively little fluctuation in her weight monthly.

  • Breakfast is a smoothie, fruit and yogurt or eggs.
  • For lunch she usually has a salad with chicken or salmon.
  • Dinner is also based on a protein and a complex carb.

They eat dinner out less than 3 times a month.  Sue is basically burning the same amount (or more) calories than she eats daily which is how her weight stays stable.

Example #2 ~

Lori is also an average women of average height.  Her BMI is a little on the high side as is her weight.  She’d like to lose 20 lbs.  Her diet is not the best due to life’s demands on her being a busy mom.   They eat fast food once a week and order take out food for dinner twice a week.  She needs a pick me up in the afternoons which consists of Starbucks and a high calorie high sugar snack.

  • Breakfast is either a bagel or a muffin from a local drive through.
  • Lunch is usually out with the girls from work and is a salad.
  • Dinner (when she’s able to cook) is a protein and boxed or frozen side dishes.

There are more carbs in her diet than fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins and she is gaining, on average, 1 lb a month.

Both Sue’s and Lori’s bodies function the same way.  They will both burn the carbs from the bagel, the bread on the sandwich or the pasta they ate BEFORE it EVER dips down to the fat as a means of energy.  So the MORE refined sugar a person eats the more likely they are to gain weight.

This is why people who are overweight and want to lose weight are placed on more protein ~ less carbohydrates based diets.  They want their bodies to start dipping into the fat they have stored rather than burn the quick carbs.

The Bottom Line

Sugar, whether it’s refined white sugar, cane sugar, or evaporated cane juice has no real health benefits and poses health risks.  Therefore, it should be consumed in extreme moderation.  Most processed foods contain dangerously high levels of sugar.

The new recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) are that only 5% of your daily calorie intake should consist of added, or ‘free’ sugars. This equates to approximately 5-6 teaspoons (25g) for women and 7-8 teaspoons (35g) for men.

Just to give you a visual of this … a Java Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks has 46 grams of sugar in it.  You’re done for TWO days!

javachip

If you’re a visual person like I am you might be interested in a post I did Shocking Sugar Finds Part I where I poured the amount of sugar in each product right next to it.  It is quite shocking visually to see that’s what you’re putting in your body.

Some alternatives to refined sugar are maple syrup and honey and I’ve been experimenting with both with great results.

If you’re looking for some sweet treats that don’t contain a lot of sugar, these flourless peanut butter & chocolate mini muffins are just the right size for a quick treat and I know this sounds weird, but you just have to trust me on this, my gluten free chocolate pudding is made with avocados and bananas.  Make sure both are very ripe, and I’m telling you, this is really good!

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