Health News
Dee's 2014 Holiday Gift Guide PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Monday, December 08, 2014

 

 

With the holidays upon us, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite gift ideas for yourself or someone you love who wants to be a little healthier in the New Year.  These are some of the things I have in my home (or that I’m wishing to have in my home) that make Processed-Free Living easy and enjoyable.

There’s still time to take advantage of free shipping offers, so if you’d prefer to avoid the crowds at the malls and just shop from the comfort of your own home, I’ve included the links and current prices for easy online shopping.   You’d better hurry though, some of these great prices may not last….

Happy Holidays!

 

THE SCIENCE OF SKINNY COOKBOOK

SOS Christmas Book Image

Get all the details about my new cookbook by clicking here.  Order your autographed copy today and get it in time for Christmas!

Holiday Gift Guide1. Kleen Kanteen Stainless Steel Reusable Water Bottle ($22.95)

I don’t go out without my BPA-free reusable stainless steel water bottle. I carry my 40-ounce Klean Kanteen bottle with me wherever I go. Water just tastes so much better when it’s in a stainless steel container, which means I am eager to drink more of it. They come in many sizes – so maybe you’ll want to get two!

2. Glass Straws ($37.80)

I love drinking from a straw—whether I’m sipping my morning smoothie or chilling out with some lemonade or iced tea on those hot summer days.  If you want to go green and stopping adding plastic straws to landfills, this gift will be perfect for you or your favorite eco-friendly friend or family member. These glass straws have a wide hole for sipping thick smoothies, and they come with a cleaning brush to make sure they get used over and over again.

3. 100% Natural Beeswax Candles ($17.15)

Do you know someone who loves to burn candles?  These 100% Beeswax candles are sure to please.  Beeswax is a renewable all natural product with no additives or fillers. They burn clean and bright without smoke or soot.  Unlike most of the manufactured paraffin candles, beeswax is non-toxic and hypo-allergenic, great for people with allergies or other sensitivities.  Beeswax candles are naturally drip free and do not require chemicals to make them dripless like paraffin candles. The molecular structure and higher melting point of beeswax makes beeswax candles much better at holding their wax pool, so with a properly maintained wick and a draft free environment, the candles are drip free.

4. Breville Juicers ($99 and up)

Freshly extracted vegetable juice is a delicious way to get high amounts of raw vegetables and dark leafy greens into your body on a regular basis.  Juicing is optimal health in a glass, so a juicer may be the most powerful and loving gift of all.  When properly prepared, fresh juices can quickly shift the body from acidic to alkaline, leading to increased energy, better digestion, weight loss, and an overall sense of well-being.  Once you start juicing, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it, and you’ll keep coming up with new combinations of tasty veggie juices to dazzle your taste buds for years and years.

The Breville Juicer Fountain series offers a large selection of juicers with a variety of features and price ranges.  From the economically priced Juice Fountain Compact ($99) to the top-of-the-line Juice Fountain Duo ($382.72), a juicer and high powered blender in one.  Breville juicers are high quality appliances that are easy to clean and make juicing a fun and enjoyable health practice.

5. Nut Milk Bag ($8.99)

This 12”x12” drawstring bag is larger than most other nut milk bags and is one of the best I’ve seen.  It is made of Food Grade Certified BPA-Free Fine Italian nylon mesh and can be used over and over again to make your own nut milk, yogurt, cheese and more.  Also, if you don’t have a juicer, you can use a high powered blender to make juice by blending your veggies and straining the pulp through the nut milk bag.  As a bonus, when you buy this nut milk bag you get a free recipe e-book and how-to videos by logging on to the web address on the package label.  This makes a perfect gift for anyone who loves almond milk or other nut milks.

6. Digital Greek Yogurt Maker ($47.99)

The healthiest yogurt is the one you make yourself, and it’s so easy to make yourself when you have a yogurt maker!  This one makes both regular and rich creamy Greek yogurt. Any type of milk can be used, from whole milk (preferred) to reduced-fat varieties. For those who choose not to consume dairy products or those with lactose intolerance, almond milk or coconut milk can be used with delicious results as well. Homemade yogurt contains the higher amounts of probiotics than any store bought variety.

Besides, organic Greek yogurt prices at the grocery store are way overpriced, so you can beat the prices by making your own yogurt at home. This yogurt maker comes with a set of six (7-ounce) glass jars with lids for storing or making single portions, and one large (17-ounce) plastic container with lid for making yogurt in larger batches.

7. Bodum Presso Glass Storage Jars ($16.50 and up)

These jars are perfect for storing dry goods like beans, rice, popcorn, teas or liquids such as smoothies or juices.  The jars are made from silicone and borosilicate glass and can resist extremely high temperatures from very hot liquids.  Another eco-friendly product, these jars are made of fully recyclable materials. They come in several sizes from 8-oz, 20-oz, 34-oz, 64-oz, 68-oz, and 85-oz.

8. Belgique Stainless Steel 3-Quart Soup Pot ($49.99)

Belgique cookware is my absolute favorite.  This sleek, stylish, beautiful bell-shaped pot with a tempered glass lid is perfect for making soups, stews, and stocks.  It’s made of stainless steel durable enough for professional chefs and the demands of a busy kitchen. The bell-shaped body enhances heat and moisture for tender, flavor-rich meals.

If you like this pot, you may just want to buy an entire 11-piece set ($222.04). Cooking is so much more enjoyable when you have nice cookware!

9. The Best Lemon Juicer ($23.97)

Teaching someone about drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning will be easier if you give them this gift. This lemon juicer is stainless steel, which makes it superior to the ones that are made of plastic or painted with chemicals that might make their way into your water.  Morning lemon water is easy when you have this handy tool.

10.Mini Trampoline (Rebounder) ($35 up to $318.50)

Rebounding, a.k.a bouncing on a trampoline, is the only way to guarantee that all 75 trillion cells in your body get the ideal workout all at once.  Working out on a small, low trampoline applies weight and movement to every cell in the entire body—the most efficient and FUN way to become stronger, more flexible, healthier and slimmer.

Any trampoline will suffice to get you started.  I have selected a few that I know are good qualilty. If your budget is tight, you can get the Stamina Trampoline ($35.70). It’s pretty good and very reasonably priced.

For a better product, I recommend the Urban Rebounder ($129.95), and for a bigger investment, go for the high quality one that I have—the Needak Rebounder ($318.50). It’s the top-of-the-line primo of rebounders. The Needak is well worth the investment, and it comes with a lifetime manufacturer warranty on the frame, 5 year on the cleats & Springs, and 2 year on the matt.

To learn more about the amazing power of rebounding, listen to my podcast.

Here are a few more gift ideas to tuck under the tree this year:

lunchskinsReusable Ziploc Sandwich Bags, 3-pack ($25.43) 

In keeping with my “green” theme this year, I must recommend these amazing eco-friendly sandwich bags called Lunchskins. You’ll be saving so much money and landfill space when you start using these snack/sandwich bags that can be reused many many times by cleaning them in your dishwasher. They come in a variety of patterns to suit grown ups and kids alike.

lunchskins2

 

 

 

 

 

packit lunch bag

 

 

 

Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip Closure ($19.16)

This freezable lunch cooler bag is designed to keep contents cool for up to 10 hours.  It features a freezable gel permanently built into the bag liner, so there is no need for ice or gel packs.  You simply fold your PackIt Lunch Bag flat and freeze it overnight.  The next day, open it and fill it with your lunch items.  It’s made from nontoxic materials and is easy to wipe clean.

 

 

Stainless-Steel Electric Kettle ($79.73)

I don’t know what I would do without my electric kettles.  I keep one at home for morning lemon water and hot tea and one at my office so that I can have hot water for hot tea at any time.  I even cook hard boiled eggs in my kettle at work in case of a protein emergency!  The inside of this Breville hot water kettle is stainless steel, not Teflon like so many others.  It’s also cordless so it can be conveniently carried away from the hot plate.

rice cooker

 

Stainless Steel Rice Cooker ($38.99)

A rice cooker is absolute essential kitchen appliance because it’s not just for cooking rice.  You can can cook any grain in a rice cooker, including quinoa, millet, and even oatmeal.  Most rice cookers have Teflon lined inner pots, which is unfortunate.  This Aroma Simply Stainless Rice Cooker has a cooking pot made completely of surgical-grade stainless steel.  It has a 14-cup cooked-rice capacity (7 cups of uncooked rice will yield 14 cups of cooked rice), and comes with a measuring cup and serving spatula.  It super simple to operate, just add the amount of rice you want to cook plus water and press the “on” button.  When it’s done, it will automatically shift to the “keep warm” setting.

Stainless Steel Steamer Basket for Rice Cooker ($16.99)

steamer basketIf you want to use your rice cooker as a steamer (highly recommended), you can add this stainless steel steamer basket to your list as well.  You can easily steam meat and vegetables in your rice cooker while the rice cooks below for easy one-pot meals. This steamer basket is only for use with the Aroma Simply Stainless 14-Cup Rice Cooker (above).

 

Digital Kitchen Scale ($19.99)

kichen scale

The best bakers weigh their ingredients rather than measure the volume to ensure their recipes turn out perfectly every single time.  I also like to weigh my portions sometimes just to keep myself honest about how much I’m eating.  A kitchen scale comes in handy for both purposes.

 

 

ceramic knife set

 

9-Piece Ceramic Knife Set ($30.63)

I love my ceramic knives, they never need sharpening and they don’t leave a metallic taste on foods.  The pretty colors are fun to look at too!

 

 

Julienne Peeler, Zucchini and Butternut Squash Pumpkin Peeler, Vegetable Spaghetti Noodle Zoodle Cutter ($15.97)

vegetables slicer carrotThis is one of the best multi-purpose peeler/julianne slicer for making noodles and zoodles out of carrots, zucchini and other squash.  It also makes peeling a butternut squash super easy.  A “must have” for anyone who likes to make vegetables look fancy.vegetables slicer zucchini

 
Are Microwave Ovens Safe to Use? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Tuesday, April 29, 2014

With little but my chemist’s intuition, we threw out our microwave in 2004. Remember, I am a chemist, and what I think of is cell wall integrity.  It just didn’t make sense to me that the cell walls within the food could stand the radiation, making the food deformed and “dead”.

But that’s all I had – just my concerns. Well, I found evidence to share with you.microwaveimage

How Do Microwave Ovens Work?

Similar to light waves or radio waves, microwaves are a form of electromagnetic energy. Microwaves travel at the speed of light and are very short waves. Today, microwaves are used to relay television programs and telephone transmissions across our planet.

In all microwave ovens, there Is what is called a magnetron, which is a tube in which electrons are excited by magnetic and electrical fields to produce a specific micro wavelength radiation of about 2450 Mega Hertz (MHz). This radiation interacts with the atoms, molecules, and cells in the food by reversing the polarity 1-100 billion times a second.

All this activity creates molecular friction, which ultimately heats up the food. The friction also causes substantial damage to the surrounding molecules, often deforming them or simply tearing them apart. The scientific term for this deformation is "structural isomerism".

Not with even the low energy range (milliwatts) used in a microwave oven, no atom, molecule or cell of any organic system can withstand such violence for even a short period of time. In other words, it destroys the cell walls.

Don’t Microwave Mother’s Milk

With little notice from the public, there have been announcements from the CDC and others warning parents to not use the microwave to warm mother’s milk.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) website states that microwaving milk will ‘destroy the nutrient quality of the expressed milk.” If they know that and recommend we don’t microwave breast milk, why would they allow us to consume anything else that is microwaved?

In the December 9, 1989 Lancet (world's leading general medical journal and specialty journals in Oncology, Neurology and Infectious Diseases), a Dr. Lita Lee reported (Dr. Lee has a doctorate in chemistry from University of Coloorado):

"Microwaving baby formulas converted certain trans-amino acids into their synthetic cis-isomers. Synthetic isomers, whether cis-amino acids or trans-fatty acids, are not biologically active. Further, one of the amino acids, L-proline, was converted to its d-isomer, which is known to be neurotoxic (poisonous to the nervous system) and nephrotoxic (poisonous to the kidneys). It's bad enough that many babies are not nursed, but now they are given fake milk (baby formula) made even more toxic via microwaving."

Stanford University reported in a 1992 article in Pediatrics that heating breast milk, even at a low setting, can destroy some of its disease fighting capabilities (antibodies). Since these changes were found in very low temperatures, the researchers said, “microwaving itself may in fact cause some injury to the milk above and beyond the heating”.

A 1991 Swiss Study

In 1991, Dr. Hans Ulrich Hertel and a university professor published in issue 19 of the Journal Franz Weber that the consumption of food cooked in microwave ovens has a cancerous effect on the blood.

Their conclusion was that microwave cooking changes the nutrients in the resulting food, and changes took place in the blood of the participants that could cause deterioration to their bodies.

The volunteers in the study, over intervals of two to five days, received the following on an empty stomach: (1) raw milk; (2) the same milk conventionally cooked; (3) pasteurized milk; (4) the same raw milks cooked in a microwave oven; (5) raw vegetables from an organic farm; (6) the same vegetables cooked conventionally; (7) the same vegetables frozen and defrosted in a microwave oven; and (8) the same vegetables cooked in the microwave oven.

Blood samples were taken before eating and at defined intervals after eating the above items. The blood samples from intervals following the consumption of food cooked in a microwave had significant changes. These included a decrease in all hemoglobin and cholesterol, especially the ratio between the bad cholesterol (LDL) and the good cholesterol (HDL). There was also a significant decrease in white blood cells (lymphocytes) immediately after consuming microwaved food.

According to Dr. Hertel, "Leukocytosis, which cannot be accounted for by normal daily deviations, is taken very seriously by hemotologists. Leukocytes are often signs of pathogenic effects on the living system, such as poisoning and cell damage. The increase of leukocytes with the microwaved foods were more pronounced than with all the other variants. It appears that these marked increases were caused entirely by ingesting the microwaved substances.

"This process is based on physical principles and has already been confirmed in the literature. …There is extensive scientific literature concerning the hazardous effects of direct microwave radiation on living systems. It is astonishing, therefore, to realize how little effort has been taken to replace this detrimental technique of microwaves with technology more in accordance with nature.”

Industry Tried to Hide Truth

As soon as Dr. Hertel’s findings were published in 1992, the Swiss Association of Dealers for Electro-apparatuses for Households and Industry, known as FEA, struck quickly. A gag order was placed against Dr. Hertel and, in March 1993, Dr. Hertel was convicted of "interfering with commerce" and barred against any further publishing of his results.

However, in 1998, The European Court of Human Rights held that there had been a violation of Hertel's rights in that 1993 decision.  The Court also ruled that the "gag order" issued by the Swiss court in 1992 against Dr. Hertel, prohibiting him from declaring that microwave ovens are dangerous to human health, was contrary to the right to freedom of expression. Additionally, Switzerland was ordered to pay Dr. Hertel compensation.

Microwaving Diminishes Nutritional Value

The FDA states that “foods cooked in a microwave oven may keep more of their vitamins and minerals, because microwave ovens can cook more quickly and without adding water,” but studies show this is not true.

Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture in 2003 published a Spanish study that contradicts the FDA. Researchers from CEBAS-CSIC (the Spanish scientific research council) found that microwave cooking destroys several key nutrients in vegetables. According to co-author of the study Dr. Cristina Garcia-Viguera, microwaved broccoli lost 97 percent, 74 percent, and 87 percent of the three major cancer-protecting antioxidant compounds (flavonoids, sinapics and caffeoyl-quinic derivatives). In comparison, steaming broccoli loses 11 percent, 0 percent and 8 percent of the very same antioxidant compounds.

Microwaved Foods Contain Carcinogenic Substances

The following is a summary of a Russian investigation published by the Atlantis Rising Educational Center in Portland, Oregon, as reported by Dr. Lee (mentioned earlier in this article).

All microwaving was conducted only to do what was necessary (cooking or thawing to insure sanitary ingestion). Carcinogens were formed in virtually all foods tested. The results were:

• Microwaving prepared meats sufficiently to insure sanitary ingestion caused formation of d- Nitrosodiethanolamines, a well-known carcinogen.

• Microwaving milk and cereal grains converted certain of their amino acids into carcinogens.

• Thawing frozen fruits converted their glucoside- and galactyoside-containing fractions into carcinogenic substances.

• Extremely short exposure of raw, cooked or frozen vegetables converted their plant alkaloids into carcinogens.

• Carcinogenic free radicals were formed in microwaved plants, especially root vegetables.

In Principles of Orthomolecularism by R. A. S. Hemat (an advanced medical textbook), it states that microwaving creates new compounds in the food, called radiolytic compounds, which are not found in nature. Radiolytic compounds are created by molecular decomposition - decay - as a direct result of radiation of the food.

Microwave oven manufacturers state in their literature that microwaved and irradiated foods do not have any significantly higher radiolytic compounds compared to broiling, baking or other conventionally cooked methods. But according to writers of medical textbooks for doctors, this is not true.

If you’d ask me, I wouldn’t wait for the FDA to make any changes to their opinion – you need to take care of yourself and your family. Chuck the microwave!

Source:

http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/handling_breastmilk.htm

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/health-hazards-to-know-about/microwave-ovens-the-proven-dangers

http://www.naturallifemagazine.com/0506/microwave.htm

http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/library/downloads/microwave-cooking-2011-12.pdf

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/18/microwave-hazards.aspx#_edn15

http://books.google.com/books/about/Principles_of_Orthomolecularism.html?id=ED_xI-CEzFYC

http://www.litalee.com/documents/Microwaves%20And%20Microwave%20Ovens.pdf

 
Ready for Battle: Vermont Set to Become the First State to Require GMO Labeling PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael McCaffrey   
Monday, April 28, 2014

Hooray for Vermont! Last week, the Vermont Legislature passed a bill mandating that foods that contain GMO's must state that the food was produced with “genetic engineering” The bill also makes it illegal to state "all natural" or "natural" on a GMO food.vermontgov

The Governor, Peter Shumlin, said he would sign the bill. This will be the first GMO Labeling bill that will take effect without any triggers. Maine and Connecticut have passed GMO labeling laws, but each had triggers that keep them from taking effect until nearby states pass similar laws. This bill in Vermont will take effect on July 1, 2016.

This means that any company that has GMOs in their food will need to change their label to state it is produced with “genetic engineering” .

The state took unusual measures to prepare for a potential battle with the likes of Monsanto. The bill requires creating a fund of $1.5 million to settle the state's defense against a lawsuit. If they lose a lawsuit (let's hope that doesn't happen), they are expected to shell out anywhere from $5 million to 8 million in legal costs.

90 percent of the corn and soybeans sold in the U.S. are genetically modified. It gets more complicated with eggs, milk and meat producers who feed their animals with GMO crops. Unfortunately, companies who do feed their animals GMO feed are not required to label or even to notify anyone about it, because the FDA says they "do not raise any safety issues" on this practice. This is a legal question not answered in Vermont yet and will be something to watch for.

The failure of 2013 ballot initiatives in California and Washington state to require labeling was a tough blow for labeling proponents, who have welcomed the news from Vermont.

Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Organic and the Just Label It campaign, said in a statement. "This is a huge victory for consumers across the country ... Vermont's law will establish a precedent that other states are sure to follow."

To stay up on this issue, stay in touch with http://justlabelit.org. 

 
Processed-Free America Tells FDA "Evaporated Cane Juice" is a Misleading Term, and You Can Too! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Monday, April 07, 2014

 

pfa-fda-pic2Today, Processed-Free America submitted a formal comment to the FDA in favor of banning the use of the term “evaporated cane juice’ on food ingredient lists.  We are hoping that you will post a comment too, and we’re making it easy for you to do so.  The details for posting your own comment are below, but first, here’s the scoop on why this is important.

In 2009 the FDA created a Draft Guidance for Industry, basically telling food manufacturers and sugar producers that processed crystallized sugar products should not be declared as “evaporated cane juice” because that term falsely suggests that the sweeteners are liquid juice.

Now in 2014, the FDA is cracking down on food manufacturers because they are marketing their products as being healthier than they really are.   This has become such a serious issue that law suits are cropping up all over the country to end this misleading labeling and preying on the average consumer’s lack of sugar processing knowledge.  The plaintiffs argue that "evaporated cane juice' is just plain old sugar, and should be described as such. (Read about the lawsuits here.)

I wrote an article titled The Skinny on Evaporated Cane Juice  to help educate consumers about what exactly “evaporated cane juice’ is.  The article clearly explains that “evaporated cane juice” is a wrongly used term by the industry to appeal to health-conscious consumers.  This article has been seen over 129,000 times.

For once, I sort of agree with the FDA. I believe that the use of the term is misleading.  Many people think it’s a healthy sugar, when in fact it’s a far cry from healthy.  Even the representatives of Wholesome Sweeteners, a leading importer and distributor of “evaporated cane juice” in the U.S., admit that “the sugar is processed in a similar manner as refined white sugar, minus the chemical decolorization and final refining process. “Evaporated cane sugar” is processed in such a way to retain a miniscule amount of molasses, resulting in a clear crystal with a light tan color.”  It resembles white sugar in both appearance and sweetness level, and was distinctly developed to give food manufacturers an alternative to the traditional darker sugars that don’t work so well in “natural” cookies, breakfast cereals, ice cream, ketchup, and many other food products.  In fact, according to Wholesome, it has been accurately estimated that over 9,000 current products list evaporated cane juice as an ingredient on the label.

I wrote a detailed comment to the FDA, letting them know that Processed-Free America and its followers believe that the term “evaporated cane juice” is misleading and should be renamed to reflect its true nature.

The commenting period is open until May 5, 2014 and we are asking our community to post a comment on the regulations.gov website.

You can write your own comment, or you can copy and paste the following suggested comment to the page:

 

I believe that Evaporated Cane Juice is a deceiving term for consumers.  It does not accurately reflect the nature of this new type of sugar, and leads consumers to believe that it is a healthy, natural alternative sweetener.  In actuality, this sweetener is processed in a similar manner as refined white sugar, minus the chemical decolorization and final refining steps, yielding a sugar that contains only a miniscule amount of nutrients. It is just as damaging to the human body as refined white sugar, and needs a new name that allows consumers to identify it accurately.

I therefore respectfully ask that the recent FDA guidance Docket#FDA-2009-D-0430 be revised, and there should be a follow-up comment period for industry and consumers to suggest a new name that reflects the true nature of this new type of sugar.

 

To post your comment, follow the instructions below for submitting your comment:

1.  Log on to the regulations.gov website.  You will see a page that looks like the picture below. Click on the blue "Comment Now" button as indicated in the picture.

regulationsgov2

2.   Once you click on the Comment Now button, it will take you to the next screen, that looks like this:

comment page2

comment page4b

3.  Fill in all the boxes as indicated in the picture.  When you click the blue "Continue" button, it will take you a Preview screen where you can double check that everything is accurate.  Then click submit.  You're all done!

THANK YOU very much for supporting this effort.  We rely on on our followers to carry out our great work!

Best of Health ~ Dee McCaffrey

 
The Skinny on Evaporated Cane Sugar PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Wednesday, March 05, 2014

 

If you're an avid ingredient label reader like me, you've probably seen "evaporated cane sugar" or "evaporated cane juice" on just about every packaged food product in the health food store. Many people ask me whether it's any better than refined white sugar.  I have spent many hours researching the answer to that question and have some interesting information to share.

Evaporated Cane Juice CrystalsIn the true sense of the term, "evaporated cane juice" or "evaporated cane sugar" would simply mean that the sugarcane juice has been evaporated, leaving  the sugar crystals with their nutrients still intact.  However,  that is not the case for the type of  "evaporated cane juice" that is being used in food products. According to the CEO of ASSURKKAR Sugar Company in Costa Rica, which provides raw sugar to U.S. companies, the term is wrongly used in the food industry, "prostituted" as he put it. "Nowadays the food companies are trying to sell more 'natural' products, so they use the most impressive or high impact wording to call the customer's attention", he said.

When it comes down to it, the kind of sugar that is wrongly called "evaporated cane juice" and white sugar are not much different. The subtle difference in composition between the two is simply the "evaporated cane juice" (ECJ) has a smidge more vitamin A, C and calcium (in a 100 gram sample). However, neither of these amounts are anywhere near what exists in the natural sugar cane or the true form of evaporated cane juice, called Rapadura or Sucanat (more on that in a bit).

After looking over many different websites and spec sheets for the different types of sugar on the market, I discovered the only difference in the processes used to produce the wrongly called "evaporated cane juice" and white sugar on an industrial scale is that white sugar goes through one processing step more than evaporated cane juice. That's the only difference. Both types of sugar come from the same crop (unless it's organic), and they are both about 99 percent sucrose (meaning empty calories).

Funny, the white sugar requires more resources and energy to produce, so one would think that it should cost more. However, it costs less than evaporated cane juice, because people are willing to pay more for products that sound like they're "natural", regardless of the truth.     

To understand why this wrongly called "evaporated cane juice" is not really healthy, you must first understand why a natural sugar cane is healthy and nourishing.  The natural sugar cane is brimming with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fibers, and phytonutrients that help the body digest the naturally occurring sugars. The minerals required to digest sugar are calcium, phosphorous, chromium, magnesium, cobalt, copper, iron, zinc and manganese. It also contains vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which work synergistically with the minerals to nourish the body. 

Of more importance is the presence of compounds in natural sugar cane called polyphenols.  Polyphenols are a large class phytonutrients with powerful antioxidant properties and numerous potential health benefits.  Sugarcane contains a unique mix of antioxidant polyphenols.  The polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals present in sugar cane help slow down the absorption of the sugars and prevent the sharp rise in blood sugar levels associated with refined sugar. Unfortunately, since the wrongly called "evaporated cane juice" has been refined almost as much as white sugar, it contains none of these health benefits.

When you eat any type of sugar that has been refined, your body has to pull stored nutrients from itself  to be able to properly digest the sugar.  This is called leaching refined sugar (including this wrongly called "evaporated cane juice") robs calcium and other minerals from your bones, tissues, and teeth in order to be digested.  Since calcium is one of the most abundant mineral in natural sugar cane and needed the most for proper digestion of sugar, it is the most limportant to retain.

Another important aspect of natural sugar cane is the balance of the different types of sugars.  Raw natural sugar has a balance of sucrose, glucose, and fructose, whereas refined sugars are almost exclusively sucrose (the fructose and glucose have been washed out).  The more sucrose, the more it raises your blood sugar.

During refinement, the sugarcane juice is pressed from the sugar cane and boiled at high temperatures.  The boiling destroys the enzymes and many of the nutrients.   The juice is then separated into a sugar stream and a molasses stream.  Most of the minerals from the sugar cane go into the molasses, leaving the sugar stream virtually void of nutrients.  To further refine it (removing any remaining nutrients), the sugar stream is then crystallized through evaporation.  White sugar is usually further processed with phosphoric acid, formic acid, sulphur dioxide, preservatives, flocculants, surfactants (lard is frequently used as a defoamer), bleaching agents, and viscosity modifiers.

Sounds horrible, right?  It is! The resulting sugar does not even resemble what was in the natural sugar cane.  Because it is so far removed from its natural state, the body doesn't recognize it as a food.  It is more like a chemical.

Are there any healthy sugars on the market? Yes, but you have to buy these yourself to use in your recipes.  You will rarely, if at all, find them used in any food products that are mass produced.

My favorite is Rapadura.  Rapadura is the Portuguese name referring to a form of raw unadulterated dried (evaporated) sugarcane juice that is formed into a large brick.  In Panama it is spelled Raspadura, thought to derive from the words "raspar" (to scrape) and "duro" (hard), in reference to the way the hard sugar brick is shaven to produce useable shards for adding to foods and cooking.  The local dialect drops the letter "s", resulting in the word we hear as "Rapadura".

Rapadura is made by first extracting the juice from the sugar cane (using a press), and then stirring the juice with paddles while the water is evaporated out of the juice using very low heats.  It has not been boiled at high heats (like all other sugars), nor spun to change it into crystals, and the molasses has not been separated from the sugar.  Traditionally, the dried juice is formed into a brick for transport.· Modern methods now grind the sugar in a sieve, leaving a very dark brown colored grainy sugar.  Rapadura is produced organically, and does not contain chemicals or anti-caking agents. Rapadura Sugar

Because Rapadura is dehydrated at low heat, and not separated from the molasses, the natural balance of  vitamins and minerals naturally present in the natural sugar cane have been retained, including the polyphenols.  That is THE most important property of Rapadura that cannot be claimed by any other type of sugar.

A German company called Rapunzel formerly registered the name "Rapadura" as a German trademark for the organic sugar they sold, but the use of the name as a trademark greatly angered Brazilians, who see the name as a generic all-purpose word, like "lemonade" or "sandwich".  Because of the diplomatic problems it caused, the labeling on Rapunzel's sugar was changed from "Rapadura" to 'Organic Whole Cane Sugar.'  The sugar that Rapunzel sells is produced using the same traditional methods of pressing and drying at low heat with no cooking and no separation of the sugar from the molasses.  This type of sugar is also sold under the U.S. trade name Sucanat, which stands for Sugar Cane Natural. ASSURKKAR's CEO said the two sugars are exactly the same, they are just sold by two different companies.

Rapadura

 I have found Organic Whole Cane Sugar and Sucanat in Whole Foods Market, Vitamin Cottage, and online.  Another product called Jaggery (India), is similar to Organic Cane Sugar and Sucanat, however it is not as healthy as Rapadura.

Other types of so-called "natural" sugars on the market like Muscavado, Turbinado, Demarara, wrongly called "Evaporated Cane Juice and Evaporated Cane Sugar", Sugar in the Raw, and Organic Raw Sugar are all refined, though not as much as white sugar. They are all boiled, dehydrated into crystals, then spun in a centrifuge so the crystals are separated from the molasses. The clarifying process is usually done with chemicals, although sometimes through pressure filtration.  The crystals are then reunited with some of the molasses in artificial proportions to produce sugars of varying colors of brown.

Wrongly called "Evaporated cane juice" is a cream color fine crystal--nearly white.  Visually you can tell that it is refined.  It is available for purchase in natural food markets, but I don't recommend using it.

 
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