If you were asked to make a list of your guilty pleasures, sugar would most likely be one of the things mentioned. Sugar, the stuff made up of irresistible sweetness, found in all your favourite desserts. From the juicy gulab jamun to the creamy chocolate cake, sugar is the magical ingredient behind the flavour you love so much. It is the sugar that has you reaching for a second and even a third helping. It is this sugar that has you coming back for more and more.
Yet, as good as it tastes, too much sugar can also prove very unhealthy. It can be a hindrance in your balanced diet, working as a fattening agent and also causing conditions such as diabetes. Thus, we must learn how to resist this saccharine temptation and consume it in a limited amount. There are also ways to switch your normal white sugar for a healthier option.
One such alternative to white sugar that is often suggested is brown sugar. Many people swear by several brown sugar benefits, such as brown sugar for weight loss, brown sugar for the skin, etc. However, not all of these are fully true. Today, we are going to discuss some facts about brown sugar and separate them from myths, so you can make a well-informed decision about whether to choose this an option or not.
Brown sugar has more to it than just its colour. Brown and white sugar both originate from the same sources, either sugar cane or sugar beet.
There are two ways of producing brown sugar. For refined brown sugar, the process is almost identical to white sugar. First, sugar juice is extracted from the crop of choice and then purified, as well as heated, to form a brown concentrated syrup called molasses.
Then, this is put through a centrifuging process to separate the sugar crystals from the molasses. After this, a filtration process is performed to remove impurities, giving refined, white sugar. Then, the molasses are simply added back to this white sugar to make refined, brown sugar.
The second way is used to make whole, unrefined brown sugar. In this, the sugar juice simply undergoes less processing, allowing for the sugar crystals to retain some of the molasses, along with its natural brown colour. Unrefined sugar contains more minerals than the refined brown sugar and it also is more naturally made in comparison.
Before learning about brown sugar benefits, let’s talk about how brown sugar affects food differently, as compared to white sugar. The first obvious difference is the colour. Adding brown sugar to your desserts will give them a brownish hue, while white sugar will result in lighter-coloured desserts.
The second difference is that brown sugar gives a deeper, caramel taste due to its content of molasses, while white sugar is sweeter.
Lastly, brown sugar gives softer, moister and denser texture, while white sugar will allow for the entry of more air, letting the dessert rise more.
Hence, when baking any desserts, the choice of sugar is a deliberate one depending on the desired result.
Now, let’s examine the benefits of brown sugar for the skin. Brown sugar has been used as an ingredient in many homemade remedies for the skin, such as in natural face masks, scrubs, etc. Here are a few examples of how brown sugar works on your skin:
Brown sugar’s granulated particles help in clearing away the dead skin cells on the surface, allowing newer, fresher skin to shine. Brown sugar is a source of glycolic acid, which is also the smallest alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA).
This means that brown sugar can penetrate deep into the skin, loosening the bonds between skin cells and promoting new skin growth. This gives you a radiant glow that can make you feel happy and bubbly inside.
Brown sugar can hold onto moisture from the atmosphere and transfer it to your skin, acting as a natural moisturizer which softens your skin, keeping it hydrated. It is much gentle and soft when applied to your skin.
The benefits of brown sugar are not just limited to healing the skin. A warm sugar scrub can also be used in spa treatments to give a fragrant effect, which can be relaxing and soothing in nature, while also polishing your body.
Brown sugar has anti-bacterial properties which help in the reduction and prevention of acne, giving you clearer, smoother skin.
The glycolic acid present in the brown sugar helps in lightening scars, while also making the skin fairer.
Brown sugar is often chosen over white sugar under the assumption of it being healthy. However, this is not entirely true. While it is true that brown sugar contains more minerals when compared to white sugar, while also being a little lower in calories, the difference is almost negligible. Hence, it does not provide any significant added nutritional benefit over white sugar.
Also, while whole, unrefined brown sugar has a bit more natural content, refined brown sugar is simply white sugar with added molasses, making them pretty much similar. Thus, the benefits of brown sugar for weight loss are not significant enough to be counted and you should watch your sugar consumption regardless of which sugar you choose to consume.
There are a few other brown sugar benefits, such as acting as an energy booster for a short period. Hence, eating brown sugar when you are feeling drained and lethargic can help temporarily.
Another use of brown sugar is that it is often mixed with ginger tea as a remedy for relieving menstrual cramps and digestive troubles. It is an ancient Chinese remedy which is said to be effective, as long as it is taken in a limit. If you are pregnant, it is important to ask your doctor before consuming anything with ginger.
Another benefit may be that unrefined brown sugar contains more of its natural properties, such as its mineral content, but the quantity is not enough to make a significant difference.
In the end, whether you choose brown sugar or white sugar, you need to be careful with the amount you eat. This is why it is always essential to research any recommended remedies before trying them out. While some of them may be true, others may lead to more harm than good.
Thus, if you are considering limiting your sugar intake, you are on the right track. Search for other natural substitutes such as honey and stevia. Along with that, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and switch out those sugary late-night snacks for something much healthier. That way, you will be one step closer to the future with a healthier, happier you.