Demerara sugar or brown sugar is that exotic version of white sugar with a golden toffee colour to it. It is essentially a marginally less refined sugar which is made during the first pressing of sugarcane. It is made up of around 93% sucrose. White sugar on the other hand is made up of 97-98% sucrose. Demerara sugar has some minerals, but they are too less to be able to contribute to your daily recommended levels. The sugar got its name from the British colony of Demerara, which is now in republic of Guyana. This sugar was originally extracted from the sugarcane grown in volcanic soil of the region. The sugar has a distinct flavour to it with deep caramel-like touch to it. In this article, we will see if demerara sugar really healthier or in any way better than white sugar. Keep reading…
Delhi-based nutritionist Pooja Malhotra says that demerara sugar is less refined from white sugar. She says, “Demerara sugar has slightly less sucrose (88-93 percent) as compared to white sugar (96-98 percent). While white sugar has been completely refined to remove minerals, demerara sugar contains important minerals like magnesium, manganese, zinc, chromium, cobalt etc. However, these minerals are present in trace amounts. Both types of sugar provide essentially the same amount of calories (4 kcal per gram), and these minerals are needed by our body in small amounts to help digest the sugar. However, to meet our mineral requirements, we will have to load up on demerara sugar, which obviously makes no sense.”
She goes on to mention that if you choose demerara sugar over white, it will essentially be for its flavour rather than the nutrients it provides. “So remember, while raw sugars like demerara are nutritionally superior to white sugar, they can’t be called health foods and need to be used with the same caution as refined white sugar,” explains Pooja.
1. Demerara sugar is made from sugarcane
Demerara sugar is obtained from dehydrating syrup of sugarcane. The process is more or less like white sugar. The only difference is that is made by purifying syrup from sugarcane.
2. Minerals in demerara sugar are too little to count
Mineral content in sugar can be seen by the ash level or molasses in sugar. Most of the ash in sugar comes from minerals. This is provided that these minerals are not impurities. Ash level in demerara sugar is below 0.45% by most manufacturers of the sugar. This level is much lower than other alternatives of white sugar. Thus, neither demerara sugar nor white sugar contain enough minerals to be credited to being beneficial for health. Your daily intake of sugar should be in limited amounts only.
3. Demerara sugar has less sucrose and more molasses
When compared to white sugar, demerara sugar is found to have less sucrose and more molasses. 96 to 98% of demerara sugar is sucrose. However, minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium in molasses, along with fructose and glucose help in bringing a balance. But the high sucrose content makes it very similar to white sugar. People on a weight loss regime are not going to benefit vastly by opting for white sugar of demerara sugar.
4. It is partially refined or raw sugar
The initial process of demerara and white sugar are the same. But demerara sugar is taken from the raw sugar of first pressing of cane. It is not processed any further and thus retains the molasses and colour of sugar. The grain of demerara sugar is a little bigger than white sugar.
5. Demerara sugar has a rich flavour
The unique flavour of demerara sugar is what makes it unique and intriguing. Its intense toffee flavour is a favourite of many. Brown sugar is a popular ingredient in cakes and pastries. Crystals of demerara sugar are larger than white sugar. They take longer than white sugar to dissolve in the drink.
(Pooja Malhotra is a nutritionist based in Delhi)
Fruit and Vegetable Juices That Enhance the Immune System
Everyone knows that fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients that offer a wide range of benefits for the mind and body. Certain fresh produce help enhance your immune system, making it possible for you to easily avoid various infections and diseases. Juicing the following allows you to boost your immunity in a truly refreshing and delectable way:
The sweetness of carrot juice makes it loved by kids and adults alike. Carrots get their characteristic bright orange color from its rich supply of beta carotene, a nutrient converted into vitamin A for sharper vision and better eye health. More importantly, vitamin A is an essential nutrient for a stronger immunity.
Vitamin C in lemons makes these citrus fruits excellent boosters of your immune system. Vitamin C is a well-known powerful antioxidant that protects the body from colds, cough, flu and others. Lemon juice may be acidic, but it has an alkalizing property once ingested, helping to restore optimal pH balance in the body.
Other than vitamins and minerals, apples also contain plenty of insoluble fiber. This type of carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the body works as a broom that sweeps out toxins along the intestinal tract. With all of those accumulated poisonous substances out of your body, your immunity is in top-form.
When it comes to fruits, some of the best sources of vitamin C are kiwis. Other than this super antioxidant, kiwis also contain vitamins A and E, both of which are necessary for a stronger immune system. Insoluble fiber and potassium in these fruits are also highly favorable for your cardiovascular system.
Cranberry juice is admired for its ability to bolster the urinary tract system. However, it also contains plenty of vitamin C that helps safeguard you from illnesses brought about by invading microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.
A vegetable that makes for an excellent immune-boosting juice is broccoli, thanks to its rich supply of beta carotene and vitamin C. Every glass of broccoli juice also provides your body with sulphur, a mineral with powerful antimicrobial properties. Sulphur promotes healing as well because it detoxifies the body at a cellular level.
What makes beet juice capable of supporting the immune system is its long list of vitamins and minerals. Some of them include vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, potassium and manganese. When juicing, it’s a good idea to mix beets with other fruits and vegetables of your choice due to its strong, earthy flavor.
Reduce asthma symptoms with Omega-3
A new study has found that consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is linked to fewer childhood asthma symptoms which are triggered by indoor air pollution.
The study published in ‘American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine’, lays out that families and health care providers may be able to protect children from harmful effects of indoor air pollution by serving a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids while reducing foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids such as soyabean oil and corn oil.
“Our group is working on ways to reduce the levels of indoor air pollution in Baltimore City homes,” said lead author of the study, Emily Brigham. “Results are promising, but we don’t want to stop there,” Brigham added.
The study found that for each additional gram of omega-6 intake, children had 29 per cent higher odds of being in a more severe asthma category.
Conversely, with each 0.1-gram increase in levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, researchers saw 3 to 4 per cent lower odds of daytime asthma symptoms.
Indoor air pollution, from sources including cooking, cleaning activities and cigarette smoke, is a known trigger for asthma symptoms.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found abundantly in fish and certain nuts and seeds, are considered healthy as they are known to reduce inflammation.
Omega-6 fatty acids, primarily found in vegetable oils (including corn, soybean, safflower, and sunflower), as came out in other studies, have mixed effects on health, but have the potential to promote inflammation.
The researchers, however, noted that it doesn’t prove the relationship between fatty acids and asthma severity.
“Among populations known to be disproportionately affected by asthma, we may find that improving diet and air pollution together has the greatest impact on health,” said Brigham.
New cell that can heal hearts discovered
Researchers have discovered a previously unidentified cell population which could lead to new treatments for patients with injured hearts.
The cell, described in the journal Immunity, was discovered in the pericardial fluid found in the sac around the heart of a mouse with heart injury. The researchers from the University of Calgary in Canada found that a specific cell, a Gata6+ pericardial cavity macrophage, helps heal an injured heart in mice.
The same cells were also found within the human pericardium of people with injured hearts, confirming that the repair cells offer the promise of a new therapy for patients with heart disease. “Our discovery of a new cell that can help heal injured heart muscle will open the door to new therapies and hope for the millions of people who suffer from heart disease,” said Paul Fedak, a professor at the University of Calgary.
“The possibilities for further discovery and innovative new therapies are exciting and important,” said Fedak. Heart doctors had never before explored the possibility that cells just outside the heart could participate in healing and repair of hearts after injury, researchers said.
Unlike other organs, the heart has a very limited capacity to repair itself which is why heart disease is the number one cause of death in North America, they said. “We always knew that the heart sits inside a sac filled with a strange fluid,” said Fedak. “Now we know that this pericardial fluid is rich with healing cells. These cells may hold the secret to repair and regeneration of new heart muscle,” he said.