The many shapes, smells, tastes and colours of sugars
Sugars, what are they?
Sugars come in many different forms. First of all, you have to make a distinction between natural, healthy sugars (at least less bad sugars) and those of synthetic origin. Natural sugars are the sweeteners which you find in nature and which may or may not be refined.
These include cane sugar, but also sugars in fruit. Synthetic sugar is always added sugar: it is not in the product itself (like fruit sugar), but is added later for a specific taste effect.
What exactly are sugars?There are many types of sugar. It is first important to distinguish between sugars that consist of only one molecule ('monosaccharides') and sugars that consist of two molecules ('disaccharides'). Monosaccharides include fructose, glucose and galactose. Disaccharides include maltose, trehalose, sucrose and lactose. Sucrose is popularly known as ordinary granulated sugar.
A lot of different names
A lot of difficult names, which will not mean much to most people. On the packaging of products is therefore often a threefold distinction made. The distinction is that between natural, refined and naturally occurring sugars.
Refined sugars include cane sugar, dextrose, granulated sugar and soft sugar. The really natural sugars are honey, maple syrup, palm sugar and agave syrup.
Natural sugars are the sugars naturally present in products. It concerns unprocessed products such as vegetables, fruit and dairy. If you pick an apple from a tree, or take a tomato from the field, you will see sugar in it.
An apple pie is a good example of a combination of natural and added sugars: the sugar in the apples is naturally present, while the sugar in the dough is added. Both sugars are processed in the cake.
What are sweeteners?Sugar is a sweetener, but not all sweeteners are sugar. Sweeteners give food a sweet taste - a taste that many people experience as pleasant. Sweeteners come in various shapes and sizes. Think of Stevia: this is a sweetener, but it is not sugar.
What is meant by raw sugars?Raw sugar is sugar in its 'original' form, before it has been processed by humans. Another term for raw sugar is unprocessed sugar. It is said that these are good sugars, because human hands have not 'tampered' with them. One thing is certain: unrefined sugars are the most natural sugars. At Vehgro, you can purchase various forms of unprocessed sugars, such as unprocessed cane sugar.
Why raw sugars?Try it out and immediately notice the difference with refined sugars as you are used to them in the supermarket: taste the taste of pure nature. A new world will open up for you.
Refined sugars: what are they?
Refined is another word for 'processed'. Refined sugars are sugars which are 'cleaned' in the factory before they are put in the shop or processed in a product.
When you refine sugar, it often gets the beautiful white colour as you are used to from the supermarket. An advantage of processed sugar is that it often has a longer shelf life than raw sugar. For that reason alone, products often use refined sugars.
Does refining also have disadvantages?
Refining has a few advantages: the sugar has a longer shelf life and becomes nice and white, but it also means that the good substances in the sugar are washed away. Unrefined sugar contains, among other things, magnesium, potassium and vitamins B1-3. These substances play an important role in the processing of the sugars.
This is why you will find unrefined sugar at Vehgro. These sugars are full of good substances and are an excellent alternative for 'boring' kilo packs.
Corn sugar and coconut blossom sugarVehgro has various forms of natural sugar, including maple sugar (the widely known sugar or syrup from the Canadian Maple tree). Vehgro's natural sugars are from nature (100% natural) and for the most part organic.
Why unrefined sugar?
One advantage of unrefined sugar is that it is not purified. Processing does take place, but it is minimal. Unrefined sugars are close to sugars in their natural state.
Unrefined sugars are less easily absorbed by the human body and therefore enter the bloodstream less quickly. This does not mean that unrefined sugar is not a fattening food. You may enjoy it, but do so in moderation.
Raw sugars and nutrientsIn unrefined sugars are nutrients that have disappeared from processed sugars. There remains a limited percentage of healthy nutrients and that's always a good thing.
Carbohydrate or sugar?
Did you know that sugars are carbohydrates but not all carbohydrates are sugars? Sugars are often also called 'fast sugars', because they are absorbed by the blood much faster than other carbohydrates.
’Fast carbs' is actually a better name. You can often find the words "Carbohydrates, of which sugars ..." on the label of products. It is known that sugar is small energy bombs, which in the short term a boost.