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Wait…What is Evaporated Cane Juice?

Wait…What is Evaporated Cane Juice?

If you are a label reader, you have, no doubt, happened upon the listing of the ingredient “evaporated cane juice” (or “evaporated cane sugar”). Most likely it has appeared in an assortment of “natural” products that you may have gathered up from the local natural food store or Whole Foods. I know many people are somewhat comforted by the idea that, instead of sugar, you have a sweetener that is “evaporated” with “cane” and “juice” origins. But are we being duped?

Yes, and no.

In reality, “evaporated cane juice” or “evaporated cane sugar” is a moderately processed sweetener that comes from sugarcane juice that has been evaporated. This, in many people’s minds, is nutritionally superior to white sugar because white sugar goes through one additional processing step, stripping it of all traces of molasses and color. But when you really examine the facts, evaporated cane juice is not all that different than white sugar. The miniscule difference is that “evaporated cane juice” has a trace more vitamin A, C and calcium than white sugar, which is devoid of any nutrient. In its raw cane form, natural sugar cane is brimming with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fibers, and phytonutrients that help the body digest the naturally occurring sugars. The minerals required to digest sugar are calcium, phosphorous, chromium, magnesium, cobalt, copper, iron, zinc and manganese. It also contains vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which work synergistically with the minerals to nourish the body. But when you break it down, white sugar and “evaporated cane juice” are both 99 percent sucrose and, as sweet as they are, are also just empty calories.

So with all sugar being essentially the product of liquid extracted from the sugarcane plant, do you feel any better about eating one form of sugar over another? What are some of your preferred sugar alternatives and why?

Related Links:
Directory of Natural Sweeteners
7 Tricks to Tame Your Sweet Tooth

Read more: Blogs, Desserts, Eating for Health, Following Food, Food

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

33 comments

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4:58AM PDT on May 3, 2013

Is it healthy enough?

4:30PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

I've wondered about this. Thanks.

6:40PM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

These days, I've gotten off 90% of artificial sweeteners, and mix stevia powder with non-GMO, organic cane sugar.
Helping me down out my sweet tooth a bit.

But don't tell me about how it's poison anymore.
I'd rather die 10 yrs. sooner than give up ALL sweets. And I'm a damn good dessert maker!

7:30PM PDT on Oct 31, 2012

I've wondered about that and didn't know that sugar cane had all that good stuff in it. I guess we should munch on the raw stalks if we can get them. Points made by others about energy saving and vegan enabling are worth considering. Thanks for explaining.

5:03AM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

Sugar is sugar

5:08AM PDT on Oct 25, 2012

Stop using sugar and you'll be heading in the right direction

1:03PM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

thank you

2:42AM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

Thanks.

10:37PM PDT on Oct 23, 2012

Sounds like the only real benefit is that less processing uses less energy in the manufacture.

9:42PM PDT on Oct 23, 2012

As long as its not HFCS.

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