The health risks of too much sugar are well known.
Yet there are a myriad of sugar substitutes and alternatives to sugar available today.
It is no wonder that people have trouble choosing between them.
People often substitute demerara sugar for regular, white sugar because they consider demerara sugar to be healthier.
In this article, we examine whether demerara sugar is healthy or not.
What Is Demerara Sugar?
The sugar we know as Demerara sugar is derived from sugarcane and consists of large grains, giving it the crunchiness and the flavor of baking sugar.
In South America, it is native to Guyana (formerly Demerara). However, most of the demerara sugar that can be found in today’s market comes from Mauritius.
You can use it to decorate cakes, muffins, and even add it to tea and coffee.
It is naturally brown in color and has a caramel flavor because it naturally contains molasses.
5 Facts About Demerara Sugar
1. Sugarcane is the source of Demerara sugar
Sugarcane syrup is dehydrated to make Demerara sugar. It’s similar to how white sugar is made.
It differs only from sugarcane syrup in that sugarcane syrup is purified.
2. Demerara sugar does not contain nearly as many minerals as it should
Sugar’s mineral content is determined by its ash content or molasses content. The majority of sugar’s ash comes from minerals. As long as they are not impurities, these minerals can be used.
In most cases, demerara sugar contains as little as 0.45% ash. This level of white sugar is significantly lower than alternatives.
Therefore, neither demerara sugar nor white sugar contains enough minerals to be considered healthful. Sugar intake should be limited to a few teaspoons daily.
Also read: How To Stop Sugar Cravings With Supplements
3. Demerara sugar is lower in sucrose and higher in molasses
Demerara sugar has less sucrose and more molasses when compared to white sugar. Demerara sugar is composed of 96-98% sucrose.
The minerals magnesium, calcium, potassium, and fructose found in molasses, however, help to bring about a balance.
Although it contains more sucrose than white sugar, it is still very similar.
White sugar or demerara sugar will not benefit people on a weight loss regimen significantly. Demerara sugar has nearly the same amount of calories as white sugar.
4. The sugar is either partially refined or raw
Demerara and white sugar are processed in the same way. However, demerara sugar is made from raw sugar from the first pressing of the cane.
As a result, the molasses and sugar color are retained. Compared to white sugar, demerara sugar’s grain is bigger.
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5. Sugar from Demerara has a rich flavor
Demerara sugar is unique and intriguing due to its unique flavor. A favorite flavor of many is its deep toffee flavor.
Cakes and pastries are commonly made with brown sugar. Demerara sugar has larger crystals than white sugar. In drinks, they dissolve more slowly than white sugar.
How Healthy Is It Compared to White Sugar?
Some people cite demerara sugar as a healthier alternative to white sugar.
However, their health conditions may be similar.
Processing is minimal
Demerara sugar is minimally processed.
Initially, sugarcane juice is extracted from sugarcane. A syrup is eventually formed when it is boiled and thickened. It cools and hardens once the water has evaporated.
White sugar undergoes a lot more processing than demerara sugar, and is void of vitamins and minerals.
Demorara sugar is much less processed than white sugar, but it is still considered an added sugar – a sugar that has been altered or changed.
The consumption of added sugar increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Thus, demerara sugar should only be consumed in small amounts and only occasionally.
Sucrose is the main ingredient
A white or regular sugar is made up of entirely sucrose, which is a combination of glucose and fructose.
An excess of these compounds can lead to type 2 diabetes.
A majority of the molasses present in demerara sugar is sucrose, but there are also traces of glucose, fructose, vitamins and minerals, along with a small amount of water and plant compounds. Antimicrobial properties are possible with the latter.
The main component of both sugar types is sucrose, which has negative health consequences.
Minerals and vitamins are contained in this food
Besides molasses, demerara sugar also naturally contains vitamins B3, B5 & B6, iron, magnesium and calcium.
Dermanara sugar’s darker color indicates that it contains more minerals and molasses.
However, studies suggest that brown sugars, such as demerara, are not a good source of vitamins, so when consumed in small amounts, they may only contribute to the recommended dietary intakes (RDI).
As a result, you should refrain from eating large quantities of demerara sugar because any benefits derived from the vitamins and minerals are outweighed by the negative effects of excessive sugar intake.
Calories are the same as regular sugar
White sugar and demerara sugar are equally calorific.
Both of them are entirely composed of carbohydrates in the form of sugar. According to estimates, every gram of carbohydrate provides just under four calories.
A teaspoon (four grams) of either sugar, therefore, contains 15 calories.
Demerara sugar has the same calorie content as white sugar.
Additionally, since it contains added sugar, it should be consumed in moderation.
Blood Sugar Levels are Affected Like Regular Sugar
Regular sugar and demerara sugar affect your blood sugar levels in a similar way.
A food’s glycemic index (GI) depends on how they may impact blood sugar levels. In assessing foods, glucose standards are used, which have a 100-point rating.
The GI response to all added sugars is similar.
Sugar added to foods like demerara and white sugar makes them sweeter and more satisfying. If you’re not careful, you might end up eating more food than you intended.
The result of excessive sugar consumption is that your blood sugar may spike, which may lead to chronic diseases.
The effect of calories on diabetes
Demerara sugar contains 16 calories per teaspoon (4g), which is exactly the same number of calories as white sugar. In other words, demerara sugar shouldn’t be mistaken for a food in calorie-deficient diets.
Demerara sugar has fewer calories and common properties as white sugar, but it contains more vitamins and minerals.
Taking sugar can raise blood sugar levels the same as plain white sugar, so diabetic patients must avoid it.
How To Use Demerara Sugar
As a substitute sweetener for white sugar, Demerara sugar can be used in coffee and tea. A little demerara sugar leaves your hot drinks with a toffee-like taste.
The crunchy texture makes it suitable for sprinkling over desserts, fruits, and cereals. Additionally, demerara can be used for coating baked goods to give them a crunchy texture.
Demerara sugar is mostly used in baking recipes by health-conscious people. Because demerara sugar has a crunchy texture, it is commonly used as a topping for biscuits, cakes, or crumbles.
Substitutes for Demerara Sugar
The preferred substitution for demerara sugar in the absence of this particular sugar is turbinado sugar, because of its coarse texture that matches that of demerara sugar more closely.
If you do not have any light brown sugar (or turbinado sugar), you can use an equal amount of light brown sugar. In addition to their golden brown color, both of these sugars have an earthy molasses flavor.
In a pinch, you can also use granulated sugar in place of demerara. It can be swapped measure for measure. The texture and flavor of granulated sugar (since it does not have molasses flavor) will be different in your recipes.
If you add one tablespoon of molasses to each cup of granulated sugar, this will make up for the difference in flavor.
Demerara sugar has less processing than white sugar and contains traces of vitamins and minerals.
Yet both types contain sucrose, have the same number of calories, and have the same effect on blood sugar levels.
Even though demerara may be a little healthier, it still shouldn’t be used excessively.