Unrefined sugar: locking the goodness in

August 15, 2017 11:47 am Published by Leave your thoughts

There’s an intense focus on sugar in our diets at the moment. Everyone’s going ‘sugar-free’ (at least for a day or two, until they fall off the wagon) – and nutritionists and dieticians pinpoint sugar as the biggest problem in our modern diets. Yet we continue to eat it by the barrel! A little bit won’t do us any harm, will it? Even if it does, how can we possibly escape it? And is there any chance at all that unrefined sugar might be a healthier option?

Is unrefined sugar better for us?

What exactly is unrefined sugar?

Putting sugar in its place

We can’t uninvent sugar. There’s not a civilization on earth that doesn’t enjoy it, in whatever form they can find it. It seems that there’s always going to be a place for it in most people’s diets, even if it’s just for celebrations or for keeping us going through arduous physical activity. But the good news is that we can make sure the sugar we eat is as good for us as it possibly can be.

Unrefined and refined sugar

All sugars start off unrefined, in a natural form, such as honey, nectar, sugarcane and fruit. These unrefined forms are harvested, the sugar extracted and made ready for transportation and selling. According to Billingtons (specialist sugar-sellers), unrefined sugar undergoes about six different processes before it reaches our tables.

Refined sugar, on the other hand, is subject to around 32 different processes, including crystallisation and recrystallisation, mingling, melting, carbonation, filtration and the removal or addition of colour. You end up with a bright white sugar – or with a bright white sugar that’s been artificially coloured brown.

Refined sugar is sweet, but that’s about all you can say for it. It doesn’t have a particular taste and has uniform, tiny crystals. Its original mineral content has been thoroughly refined out of it. It’s the culprit for blood sugar surges and a range of health issues.

Unrefined sugar also retains a wide range of minerals.

Fudgey, toffee-ish, caramel-like, treacly – wonderful unrefined sugar!

Unrefined sugar, meanwhile, has a much stronger and more distinctive taste. You might call it ‘toffee-ish’ or ‘like caramel’, ‘fudgey’, ‘treacly’ or ‘like butterscotch’. It has a coarser and more interesting texture. Most importantly, the goodness in it has been ‘locked in’, as Billingtons puts it, rather than refined out – it retains its calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium elements.

Our unrefined sugar

At Naturally Good Food, we sell all types of unrefined sugar. Some of this is in standard sugar form (caster sugar, granulated sugar and so on – all ready for recipes). Some of it is as close to its native form as we can get it: pots of maple syrup, tubs of agave syrup, jars of molasses, packets of jaggery.

A traditional unrefined sugar, with a range of health benefits claimed for it.

Why not give jaggery a try?

So when you need to add sweetness, make it sweetness that’s got something worthwhile to it!

See all our sugars and syrups here.

For a good, individual run-down of the various types of sugar we stock, see our blog Sugar for my honey, in which we look more closely at:


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This post was written by Yzanne

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