Refined Table Sugar: Organic Sweetener Alternatives & Substitutes
Learn about the benefits of organic unrefined cane sugar, agave inulin powder, and coconut blossom sugar.
With consumer awareness in matters concerning their health and the environment at an all-time high, it is more important than ever to select sweeteners for foods and beverages carefully. We took a closer look at our portfolio of organic sweeteners to help you find the right alternatives and substitutes for your foods and drinks.
Glycemic Index, Blood Sugar & Insulin Levels
The glycemic index (GI) is a scale from 0 - 100 which measures how slowly or quickly sugars in foods increase blood glucose levels: low GI foods (45 or less) release glucose slowly, high GI foods (60+) release glucose rapidly. Low GI sugars are considered to be healthier than high GI sugars because fast increases in blood glucose levels over extended periods can lead to serious health problems.
Sucrose (table sugar) is a disaccharide. It is made up of the monosaccharides fructose and glucose, into which it is broken down before entering the bloodstream. Sucrose and glucose raise blood sugar levels rapidly, which in turn raises insulin levels to allow the body to metabolise the sugars. With fructose, on the other hand, blood sugar levels rise at a much slower rate, thereby keeping the insulin levels at bay. Thus, fructose is considered to be healthier than sucrose or glucose.
Refined Table Sugar: The Underlying Problems
Refined table sugar, a pure form of sucrose derived from sugar beets or sugar cane, is the most common sweetener in foods and beverages today. However, scientific research linking high levels of refined sugar intake to alarming health issues, such as heart disease, hormonal imbalances, weight gain, obesity, and cancer, have cast a shadow on the ingredient within the industry. Due to the carbohydrate’s lack of proteins, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, it has also been subject to much scrutiny for its low nutrient-value.
As a result, manufacturers in the industry are increasingly looking for healthier alternatives and substitutes. The following three sweeteners in our portfolio are excellent replacements for refined table sugar in your foods or drinks.
Organic Unrefined Cane Sugar: Less Processed & Lower in Calories
Unrefined cane sugar is produced by collecting and clarifying cane juice and then boiling it down into a concentrate. In this process, molasses forms around the pure sucrose crystals. In contrast, refined cane sugars undergo a process of centrifugation to remove the molasses from the sugar crystals. Because around 8 - 15% of the molasses and moisture are retained in unrefined cane sugar, ultimately it contains fewer calories per serving. Unrefined sugar comprises around 90% sucrose, i.e. 10% less than refined sugar. We do, however, also offer a so-called Very High Polarity (VHP) variant comprising 99.4% sucrose. Unrefined cane sugar is an ideal substitute for refined cane sugar in all foods. Keep in mind that molasses’s dark colour and richer flavour will have a slight effect on the appearance and taste of your foods.
Organic Agave Inulin Powder: High Inulin, High Fructose & Low Glycemic Index
The agave plant, which is native to Mexico and South Africa, can be used to extract sweeteners, such as agave syrup and agave inulin powder. The latter carries the added benefit of being a natural thickener. Thus manufacturers are increasingly choosing it over its syrup counterpart.
Furthermore, the presence of inulin in agave inulin powder promises a range of health benefits. These include facilitating the growth of healthy gut bacteria and increasing the body’s ability to absorb magnesium and calcium. Moreover, inulin is a fructan, meaning it is made up of chains of fructose molecules. These are absorbed by the body more slowly over longer periods of time. This also means, however, that it is not suitable for consumers who are fructose intolerance. With approximately 90 grams of inulin present in 100 grams of powder, this low glycemic index sweetener is a fast-growing alternative to both raw sugar and agave syrup.
Organic Coconut Blossom Sugar: Low Glycemic-Index & More Nutrients
In recent months, we have seen a staggering increase in organic coconut blossom sugar orders. This rising star amongst our sweeteners is extracted from the sap of the coconut palm tree’s flowers and boiled down to evaporate the water and isolate the sugar. Its colour is comparable to unrefined cane sugar, making it ideal an ideal ingredient for snack bars and cakes. Despite its high sucrose content, organic coconut sugar is classified as a low glycemic index (35) sugar. The reason for this is that it contains inulin, a prebiotic fibre which slows down the speed at which glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream. Organic coconut sugar also contains a handful of nutrients, including iron, zink, and potassium, as well as antioxidants.
If you are interested in purchasing a sweetener that is not currently listed in our portfolio, such as stevia, xylitol, or maple syrup, please reach out to our Sales Team. We are always happy to assist you in sourcing high-quality ingredients from our trusted partners.
Imagery courtesy of foodcircle.com, unsplash.com