Why Do People Say That Refined, White Sugar Is Bad and Unhealthy For You?

This nonsensical claim is a mystery to me.

It seems that some people take the word refined as an indication that we humans have somehow defied a law of Nature by having the audacity to remove some undesirable materials from a food before eating it. White sugar is just raw sugar with those other materials removed.

When sugar is refined by three successive crystallizations, everything but pure sucrose is left behind in the molasses.

The less-refined, browner sugars from earlier stages in the process are more flavorful because of the traces of molasses that they contain. Whether you use light brown or the slightly stronger-flavored dark brown sugar in a recipe is purely a matter of taste.

Many brown sugars sold today in the supermarket are manufactured by spraying molasses onto refined white sugar, rather than by stopping the refining process in midstream. Domino and C&H brown sugars are still made in the traditional way, however.

My point is this: In raw cane juice you have a mixture of sucrose plus all the other components of cane that end up in the molasses. When the molasses components are removed, will someone please explain to me how the remaining pure sucrose suddenly becomes evil and unhealthful?

When we eat the more “healthful,” browner sugars, we’re eating just as much sucrose along with the molasses residues. Why isn’t the sucrose evil in that form?

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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