What is SUGAR?
Most commonly processed sugar cane or sugar beet plant in granular form. From plant to granular form involves several chemical processes.
Where does SUGAR come from?
Commercially producted table sugar comes either from sugar cane or from sugar beet.
How is SUGAR made?
Mostly Sugar is refined: In sugar refining, raw sugar is further purified. the beet or cane is first mixed with heavy syrup and then centrifuged clean. This process is called "affination"; its purpose is to wash away the outer coating of the raw sugar crystals, which is less pure than the crystal interior. The remaining sugar is then dissolved to make a syrup, about 70 percent by weight solids.
The sugar solution is clarified by the addition of phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide, which combine to precipitate calcium phosphate. The calcium phosphate particles entrap some impurities and adsorb others, and then float to the top of the tank, where they can be skimmed off. An alternative to this "phosphatation" technique is "carbonatation," which is similar, but uses carbon dioxide and calcium hydroxide to produce a calcium carbonate precipitate.
After any remaining solids are filtered out, the clarified syrup is decolorized by filtration through a bed of activated carbon; (bone char was traditionally used in this role, but its use is no longer common). Some remaining color-forming impurities adsorb to the carbon bed. The purified syrup is then concentrated to supersaturation and repeatedly crystallized under vacuum, to produce 'white refined sugar. As in a sugar mill, the sugar crystals are separated from the molasses by centrifugation. Additional sugar is recovered by blending the remaining syrup with the washings from affination and again crystallizing to produce brown sugar. When no more sugar can be economically recovered, the final molasses still contains 20–30 percent sucrose and 15–25 percent glucose and fructose.
To produce granulated sugar, in which the individual sugar grains do not clump together, sugar must be dried. Drying is accomplished first by drying the sugar in a hot rotary dryer, and then by conditioning the sugar by blowing cool air through it for several days.
Is SUGAR healty for me?
A small amount of table sugar or sucrose isn’t going to cause most people considerable problems. The trouble is, and the reason why many people consider sugar bad, is that most of us don’t stop at a small amount. Even when elaborate food plans are constructed and people are given a certain amount of discretionary or extra calories per day, they often consume way above the discretionary amount, and thus consume far more sugar than they need.
What makes processed sugar bad in large amounts? First, though it can provide the body with a little energy, it is essentially empty calories. We can satisfy the same energy needs with more complex sugars that offer us things like minerals, vitamins and fiber. Even when we eat fruit sugars, honey or maple syrup, we’re still not getting much in the way of nutrition that our body can use. The trade off with things like fruit sugars we consume when we eat fruit is that they may be paired with other vital nutrients that make eating fruit more worthwhile.
Some people should consider processed or white sugar bad under most circumstances. People with diabetes need to be extremely careful when they consume sucrose because it can dramatically increase blood glucose levels. All of us need to consider sugar bad for oral health. Though sugar doesn’t directly cause tooth decay, it does feed bacteria that degrades our teeth. If we’re eating plenty of sugar, especially without regular toothbrushing, we run a much greater risk of getting plenty of cavities.
It is often remarked that many people in Western countries have difficulty with obesity. We tend to be eating far more calories than we need on a regular basis. Foods with sugar have an additional problem. They may make us satisfied but cause us not to eat things that would actually be nutritionally beneficial. So we may consider sugar bad in the sense that satiated feelings from eating it could prevent us from eating foods that are better for us.
Is sugar bad, awful and terrible at all times? Some people argue that processing methods to create table sugar aren’t that healthy for us. Others say it’s fair to eat a small amount of table sugar. It may enhance food taste and is okay to consume. In diet plans like those offered by the US Department of Agriculture, plans allow for 100-300 discretionary calories a day. Don’t forget those calories tend to also include things like extra fats you don’t need.
If you want to use a little bit of your discretionary calories for something like a spoon of sugar in a cup of coffee, it’s not likely to make a huge impact. The average teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories. You can easily have your cup of coffee sweetened, provided you are not diabetic (or your doctor approves it if you are diabetic). This amount of sugar will not make a huge impact on diet or weight loss, and isn’t exactly bad for you.