This post is in response to a recent question from a follower of my food blog. It's also a question I have been asked many times over the years by nutrition clients. I think the answer may surprise you!
1. White granulated sugar is 99.9 per cent sucrose, refined from sugar cane but with all impurities completely removed.
2. Caster sugar and Icing Sugars have the same composition as granulated sugar, but the crystals are smaller so it dissolves quickly. It's best for baking, especially light sponges and meringues and icings.
- All three sugars have the same moderate
Glycemic Index or GI of 65,
which is much lower than pure glucose at 100.
4. Raw sugar is made from cane juice and is more golden in colour. Nutritionally they are virtually identical to white sugar - at 99 per cent sucrose, they have a few minerals but not enough to give a great health advantage over white sugar.
5. Brown sugar contains 95 per cent sucrose and 5 per cent molasses, which adds a delicious toffee flavour and moistness but no great nutritional benefits over white sugar. There's a little potassium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals but not even to really matter if you're like me and use it sporadically at best.
So put down that more expensive bag of "raw sugar" if the only reason you're buying it is because its supposed to be healthier. That being said, I use maple syrup, honey and dandelion jelly as a sweetener whenever I can as I prefer the taste.