All things sweet…
After the trip to the Sugar Factory, AtharvanLife takes you to the other sugar lands, introducing different sources of extracting sugar. Let’s go!
Beet sugar is derived from a root vegetable closely related to beetroots called sugar beet. They are processed to make the most common type of sugar, white sugar. Sugarcanes and sugar beets go through similar procedures to produce sugar. Other types of refined sugars like brown sugar and sulfur-less sugar can also be made from sugar beets.
However, since the source of the sugar is not always disclosed on food products and labels, it can be difficult to determine whether they contain beet or cane sugar.
An estimated 55–60% of all sugar manufacturers in the US are obtained from sugar beets. Germany, France, and some parts of Europe also manufacture beet sugar.
Palm Sugar is a broad category of natural sweeteners that are derived from any variety of palms including the Palmyra palm sugar, Coconut palm sugar, and Date palm sugar. While the use, taste, and composition of each type of palm sugar might be different, the extraction and processing of these sugars are the same.
Palmyra Palm Sugar
Sugar that is extracted from the sap of the flowers of the Palmyra palm grown in parts of Africa and Asia is known as palm sugar. The Palmyra palm sugar is found to have a low glycemic index of 54 making it an ideal healthy sweetener. It is rich in Vitamin B Complex, Iron & Calcium.
Traditionally, it’s known for its therapeutic properties and is used in various ayurvedic preparations. It pacifies the Vata while increasing pitta and Kapha doshas and also helps cure health issues like constipation, indigestion, and cough.
Coconut Palm Sugar
Another popular sugar source is the flower bud of the coconut tree. Coco sugar or coconut sugar is widely used in Southeast Asian countries like Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia, coconut sugar has many regional names too.
It has a subtle sweetness with a tinge of caramel. A sweet soya sauce called kecap manis in Javanese is made using coconut sugar in Indonesia. Closer to home in Goa, Patoleo is a Goan sweet dish prepared using cocoa sugar.
Two types of natural sugar can be extracted from the Date palm tree. The first one is called date palm sugar – made from the tree’s sap and the other is made from making a paste of raw dates, which is then dried and granulated.
Did you know that Tamr dates are considered best to make date sugar, due to their high sweetness and very low moisture content.
Rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and sugar, Ayurveda lauds dates for its nourishing properties. The madhura rasa in dates helps increase the moistness of tissues. It is used in Southeast Asian and Indian cooking.
Hope you enjoyed reading about these different sugar sources, we encourage you to use healthy alternatives like dates and jaggery and avoid the use of processed versions.
We will soon bring to you the benefits and dietary instructions on sugar consumption as per Ayurveda.