Both sucanat and sucanat with honey (molasses crystals and honey crystals) *are* refined. They are still less refined than white sugar. The juice of the sugar cane is extracted and heated to make a syrup. To make sucanat (molasses crystals) the moisture is then evaporated off. Honey crystals are made by adding honey to the syrup then evaporating the moisture off. Both of these products are about 97% sucrose. White sugar ( pure sucrose) is 100% sucrose. It starts with the same syrup as well but then goes through about 13 different steps for refining and the removal of everything (all the molasses and vitamin and minerals) and even a bleaching process. I have always stressed that both sucanat and sucanat with honey are refined but are much less refined than white sugar. The 3% of whatever is left in these products does seem to effect the way it is metabolized as I have had diabetics tell me that they can use sucanat and sucanat with honey with no blood sugar issues. I will always promote honey as the only truly unrefined sweetener. Molasses crystals and honey crystals should be used in moderation only where honey will simply not work as well ( cookies, brownies).
We also have just started carrying a new sweetener known as agave nectar. I am very excited about this sweetener in that it has a lower glycemic index than even honey. The glycemic index is a measurement assigned to foods which rates how fast the blood sugar rises after eating them. The glycemic index for honey is 57 while agave nectar is only 37. It is very sweet and has no distinctive flavor as honey does so it can be used in places where honey lends too much flavor. It is also not viscous like honey so it dissolves immediately, cold or hot. I have enjoyed using it to replace honey crystals in sweetening tea, lemon and and limeade. I have also used it in place of honey in yogurt, smoothies, fruit, whipped cream. It lends no flavor at all!!! It is only minimally processed. We carry only the raw that is not heated above 113 degrees. I am excited about the possibilities of this very minimally refined sweetener. I hope to encourage diabetics to replace the artificial sweeteners with the agave nectar.
Honey will always be my sweetener of choice, but I will replace it with agave nectar where I just do not want the flavor of honey at all. I will continue to use sucanat and sucanat with honey for my cookies, cakes, brownies and icing as I feel they are better than pure white sugar but again I want to stress that I only indulge in these "goodies" every now and then. I will use honey in my breads and other baked goods like pies, muffins etc. I will use the agave nectar for drinks, smoothies, and cheesecake (on special occasions :-) ).
I find there are alot of opinions on sweeteners out there. Many honey experts even think honey is no different than white sugar!!! Go figure! Honey is the sweetener that God has given us and it will always be my preference and it is loaded with a multitude of nutrients. It is definitely different from white sugar which is devoid of any nutritional value.
Sincerely Sue Becker
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