02 May, 2013

Sugar (2). The different forms of sugar as sweeteners.

Pictured above, clockwise from top left, outer circle:
  • White, refined, cane sugar cube
  • Aspartame pellets ('avoid like plague')
  • Palm sugar rock candy  (this is an alternative, less refined sugar, with a subtle, earthy flavour)
  • Organic, sulfurless, refined white cane sugar (organic or sulfurless doesn't make it very much better)
  • Dried fruit: apricot (khubani), Fig (anjeer) and raisins (draksha, kishmish) (fairly healthy substitutes)
  • Shakkar, or unrefined cane sugar resembling powdered jaggery (marginally better than refined sugar)
  • Jaggery chunks (from sugar cane) (marginally better than refined sugar)
  • Jaggery granules (from sugar cane) (marginally better than refined sugar)
  • Mishri (large, cane sugar crystals)
  • Elaichi Dana (a form of cane sugar)
Clockwise from top left, inner circle:
  • White sugar rock-candy chunks
  • Bura or Tagar (a form of powdered sugar*)
  • Khandsari, (a yellowish, crude form of sugar, manufactured in small khandsari units, not crystal, not graded*)


  • Unprocessed honey (marginally better than refined sugar)

Fruit come laden with good sugars. Eat them whole, fresh and uncooked.

The best forms of sugar are the natural ones which come bundled along with other important things like fibre, besides micro and macro nutrients.  They are not empty calories. 

Eating a fruit or drinking date-or-fruit-sweetened smoothie may not provide a sugar rush like any of the confectionery items below (alas, a far too common sight everywhere these days, so easily available, so unperishable), but they will go a long way in keeping blood sugars in balance and satiety levels in check, along with a feeling of fullness, giving our body what it really craves - nourishment, that goes along with the calories!

Refined sugar on the other hand, provides no nutrients at all (often comes bundled with other undesirables like refined flour, which is nearly as bad as the sugar itself!) gives an unnatural and unhealthy "high"
followed by a "crash" that invariably follows as the body tries to cope with the "almost pharmacological doses" of what some would unequivocally call a drug, and a not very good one at that.

The bad sugars are the ones that provide empty calories, devoid of nutrients.

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