Sugar is a well-known substance, which is basically used in every meal. Everybody knows that it is a main source of energy for our body. Sucrose (which is sugar itself) provides the organism with a large amount of calories. However, is that all this sweetness can give us?
Brown Sugar Nutrition – Are There Anything But Carbs?
Let us consider brown sugar first, as it has become very popular all over the world. The reason is its unique taste, which is different from regular white one. Does this taste mean there is something else in the content of brown sugar?
Talking about carbohydrates, they take approximately 98% of cane sugar content. This is not much less from white one. However, when it is about vitamins and minerals, every milligram counts. Therefore, there is also a small percentage of proteins in brown sugar. It is like 100 mg per 100 g. Such amount cannot be considered as a big one, as our body needs 800 times more every day. So, what else the brown sweetness is good at?
There is a significant amount of calcium in a brown equivalent of white sugar. The number is something like 80 mg. Of course, it is not even close to a daily norm. Moreover, one spoon of oatmeal can provide you with much more. Nevertheless, it is better something than nothing at all, isn’t it?
Brown sugar also contains some small amounts of magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and other elements. We are talking here about 20 mg and less.
However, the fact is cane sugar wins its beet equivalent when talking about microelements. It might seem weird, but there are also vitamins in the brown goody. It is mostly B5, B6 and K. All of them are used in metabolism processes, building of immune system (all the information about health effects of brown sugar you’ll find out at this article). K vitamin is the most significant with 0.1% of cane sugar.
Summing up, brown sugar is actually better than white one when talking about nutrients. It does contain some vitamins and microelements, which are helpful for your body. However, you will have to eat a whole lot of sugar to get some real benefit out of it. Of course, nobody should consume it in kilos, because disadvantages would be much more significant.
Nutrition Facts of Brown Sugar
|Name of nutrition component||Content per 100 g||Percent of daily norm|
|Vitamin B5||132 µg||1,3%|
|Vitamin B6||41 µg||2,1%|
|Vitamin K||133 mg||varies|
Nutrition of White Sugar: What is Inside?
Since we have learned that brown sugar is slightly nutrient, let us talk about its more common equivalent – white sugar. This kind has a content of almost 100 percent of carbohydrates, meaning there is no place for anything else. Is it so?
This white sweetness is the purest one. Basically, this substance is just sucrose (that is just carbs, meaning calories). There might be some really small amounts of minerals, but perhaps it is only admixtures. Anyway, white sugar on the average contains 3 mg of calcium, triple less of potassium and much more less of iron. It is also possible to find some vitamin K in there.
We do not consume this white goody to get nutrients. All we need from this powder is only energy, and there is a whole lot of it. 10-13 teaspoons of sugar is your daily norm of carbs. Should we ask for anything more?
Nutrition Facts of White Sugar
|Name of nutrition component||Content per 100 g||Percent of daily norm|
|Vitamin K||3 mg||varies|
As you see form the chart, brown sugar has a lot more calcium and vitamins. However, even that one is nothing to compare with one apple or a bowl of porridge. Neither white sugar nor brown one can be named a nutrient product. Both substances are just sources of energy for human body.
If you want your sugar to have some more nutrients, consider using coconut or maple ones. These kinds are made differently. They contain some vegetal components, which means many vitamins. For example, there is twice more vitamin K in maple sugar than in brown one. Moreover, it contains zinc and manganese in large amounts.
Glycemic Index of Sugar (White, Brown, Coconut)
The value of glycemic index stands for how fast does a product splits, compared to pure glucose. It can vary from 1 to 100, where the less, the longer it takes for a product to be digested. Meals with a high glycemic index, getting into the body, are rapidly digested. They increase the level of sugar in blood, stimulating the pancreas to a sharp release of insulin.
Sugar is almost pure sucrose, which is almost like glucose. That is why its glycemic index is high with the value of 70.
Brown Sugar Glycemic Index
Brown sugar is known to be somewhat different from white one, talking about vitamins and elements content. However, this does not affect the glycemic index. It is still 70.
Glycemic Index of Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is not so similar to any of previous ones. It does contain a lot of vitamins and useful microelements, so the glycemic index is less. The value we are talking about is 35, which is the lowest for this group of sweetness.
How Much Sugar Should You Have per Day?
It is very important to realize the difference between the sugar we add to our food and sugars that are present in products initially. Last ones are actually good for health, while added sugar can be really harmful.
According to the data collected in the US in 2008, one person consumes more than 60 pounds (28 kilograms) of added sugar per year. This is 77 grams per day, which is equal to 20 teaspoons and 300 kcal. Such numbers are far from OK, because we are not even counting the sugar you add in tea and coffee. Excessive consumption of sugar is associated with diabetes and obesity, vascular diseases, certain forms of cancer, dental and liver diseases.
So, how much sugar per day is a normal amount? Unfortunately, it is impossible to answer this question simply. Some people can eat the sweetness without harm to health, while others should avoid it. It depends on your personal features. That is why many people ask for help from nutritionists.
According to the researches of the Association for the Study of Heart Diseases, the maximum sugar intake per day should be:
- 150 kcal for men;
- 100 kcal for women.
As you see, that is twice or even three times less than indicated in the statistics. For a clearer idea: one can of cola contains 145 calories from sugar, and the standard size Snickers contains 125 calories from sugar. If you are healthy and active, such volumes of sugar will not harm you in any way. Some exercises will help in burning all that energy. However, it should be said that added sugar has nothing to deal with diets. If you go on one, give it all up.
If you have overweight, obesity, diabetes, then you definitely need to stay away from white powder.
Consume added sugar no more than once per week. Soda and non-alcoholic drinks, pastries, convenience foods… these products should be forbidden in a diet of a healthy and fit person.
Sugar is a needed product. Without it, we would not be able to do anything, as it gives power to our organs and muscles. However, there is almost nothing else but carbohydrates in white or brown sugar content. No matter what kind you choose, you should not eat too much sucrose. Added sugar is the most dangerous one. Try to avoid eating it as much as possible.