“Sugar in the Raw” That’s Not

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 9, 2012

If a food is labeled as “raw”, what exactly does that mean?

To a consumer, it means that the food is completely unadulterated and has not in any way changed from it’s original natural form.  Nothing has been added, removed, or heated to a temperature that would change any of the inherent nutritional characteristics.

Unfortunately, to food manufacturers, the definition of “raw” can be quite different.

I’ve blogged before about how most cheese labeled “raw” at the store is not raw at all in reality!

Another fake raw food at the store that is fooling a whole lot of people from the emails I’ve been getting is the Sugar in the Raw product also known as turbinado sugar or natural cane sugar.

But wait!  There’s a “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval in the upper right corner of the box!

Doesn’t that mean that the product has been checked out and is legitimate in it’s labeling claims?

Apparently not.  Here’s what the manufacturer of Sugar in the Raw has to say about it’s product:

Enjoy sweet moments naturally with Sugar In The Raw®, our all-natural Turbinado sugar grown in the tropics. The hearty, golden crystals are never bleached, so they keep the rich flavor and color of their natural molasses. So go on, stir it in or sprinkle it on. Bake and cook with it too. Whatever you do, just do it naturally with Sugar In The Raw®.

It seems that just because the sugar is unbleached makes it raw.

Perhaps that is what the USDA allows when it comes to labeling sugar products, but to me, a sugar that is truly raw means much more than just unbleached.  It means that nothing has been removed or added as well.

The wording above is so sneaky because it leads the consumer to believe that the natural molasses is intact.  And, for Sugar in the Raw, a small amount of the molasses is indeed intact because it is a darker color than white sugar.

But, the truth is that most of the molasses has been stripped away and Sugar in The Raw can claim it is raw all day long, but I for one, know it’s not.

Check out the picture to the right which shows a bowl of Sugar in the Raw next to a bowl of sucanat which is a truly unprocessed, all nutrients and molasses intact sweetener.

The sucanat is much darker showing that Sugar in the Raw is a fake and is not an unadulterated product that is in it’s original, natural form contrary to the sneaky claims by the manufacturer.

Buy Sucanat As Your Healthiest White or Brown Sugar Substitute

Sucanat is the best substitute for white or brown sugar in your recipes for cookies and cakes – NOT Sugar in the Raw or other turbinado sugars.  Florida Crystals is another processed sugar attempting to masquerade as natural so beware.

Sucanat is simply dehydrated cane sugar juice and has been used for thousands of year by the people of India.   While sucanat is your best choice when trying to find a truly natural and unprocessed substitute for processed cane sugar, be careful not to overdo on the sucanat as eating too much can upset blood chemistry very much like white sugar or a fake raw sweetener like Sugar in the Raw.

It always pays big dividends to do a little checking before buying into any labeling claims.  Sugar in the Raw is just another clever marketing scheme designed to make money off of consumers who genuinely are trying to improve their diets but don’t have quite enough information to make a completely informed decision.

Where to Find Quality Sucanat

Please see my Resources page for vendors I buy from who offer quality sucanat as well as other wholesome sweeteners.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

 

Comments (150)

  1. Yep, I found myself trying Sugar in the Raw when I had ran out of maple syrup for my tea at work. I immediately got a reaction and moved it to my “never again” list. The reaction was the same as I would get from white sugar. So now, I know if I run out of my preferred sweetner, I just go without. So while they may be able to attempt to fool you on the label, your body can tell you what’s real.

    Reply
      • Sure, for me not a headache or stomach issue, but I would call it a “loopy” feeling mentally, and a general malaize – unlike what I feel when I use honey or maple syrup as a sweetner where I feel strengthened and just good – kinda like when you eat anything that is nourishing to the body and soul.

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    • Sugar in the raw is real. The only thing that’s been done to it is that it’s been washed. Not bleached, mind you. Just washed. The only difference between it and Sucanat is that Sucanat hadn’t been washed, so its surface molasses remains intact, which makes it more suitable for recipes calling for brown sugar. That’s it. That’s the only difference. This entire “article” is misleading and promotes an agenda. Because there is nothing unnatural about washing our food. We do it all the time.

      Reply
  2. Does it really make much of a difference though? Is Sucanat actually going to CONTRIBUTE to good health? I’m not seeing how Sugar in the Raw is exactly detrimental when compared to Sucanat. Personally, I don’t really add sugar to anything, and if I want something sugary and bad-for-me I just go for “the real thing” (ie: I won’t Paleo-fy a recipe, I’ll just get the crappy treat I’m interested in, since it happens so rarely) so if I was at the worst place in the world (Starbucks) and wanted some sugar I wouldn’t really think twice about using Sugar in the Raw.

    So, is this more about false advertising? cus if so we’re in agreement, but if it’s about one being healthier or just “not as bad” as the other, I’d need a little bit more to go on. I get that something closer to nature is always going to be better than something more processed, so maybe that’s all the answer I need.

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist May 9, 2012 at 9:12 am

      Sweets need not be avoided completely. It is possible to be healthy and still satisfy the natural and instinctive desire for sweet things with homemade desserts that are both nutritious and delicious.

      Using an unprocessed sweetener like sucanat is an excellent choice for home baked treats.

      Sugar in the Raw even in small amounts will give me a canker sore where sucanat never has even if I’ve overindulged a bit.

      Reply
        • The fact in which it is not washed by hand and it is indeed washed by a machine categorizes it as processed. Processing foods is an extremely broad term.

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          • Haha, my clothes are processed! Kinda nit picking isn’t it? I’m sure if you wash it by hand, you’re still using something other than your hands in the process. How is the juice taken from the cane, is it wrung out by hand or does a machine do it? I really have problems with your article.

    • iniQuity: What do you consider “the real thing?” Because, while I’m not convinced that there is any health BENEFIT to using Sucanat vs processed sugar, the Domino sugar you get is hardly more of “the real thing” than a much less processed version of sugar cane.

      Reply
    • Eating sugar (and carbs) requires our body to use a lot of nutrients to deal with the breakdown and management of high carb foods. When those foods do not include any nutrients (like processed sugars and flour), our bodies use our nutrient stores to process them, leaving us with less of the good things we need. Sweets aren’t just empty calories; they are negative calories! Our bodies are very adaptable, though, and strive to survive as long as possible, regardless of what we feed ourselves. That is one of the reasons there is so much seemingly contradictory info about nutrition out there! So, to sum it up simply, sweets aren’t good for you, but unprocessed sweets are most likely less bad!

      Reply
  3. Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    One reason to use whole sweeteners like sucanat that are full of minerals rather than a processed sugar even if you don’t eat sweets that much is because metabolism of sugar requires nutrients and if there are nutrients in the sweetener itself because it is unprocessed, then that means less or no nutrients will be coming out of your tissues as a tradeoff for your indulgence.
    Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: “Sugar in the Raw” That’s Not

    Reply
    • I noticed, while trying to disolve “sugar in the raw” in cold water, that the molasses, rather that being infused in the grains like you’d think nature made it, washed off! Water turned brown, dumped it out, and was left with white sugar. So in my opinion, this product is standard, processed white sugar with a molasses coating – probably sprayed on. How’s that for false advertising.

      Reply
      • You’re kidding, right? If not, molasses is too expensive to extract, then use the expensive technique to spray and dry the coated processed sugar. All it is doing is leaching out of the grains where it is naturally.

        Reply
    • You know, if the tiny difference in mineral content between one packet of coffee sweetener and another is enough to be significant in your diet, there’s probably a lot more wrong with your eating habits than switching to slightly darker sugar is going to cure.

      Reply
  4. I’ve seen Sugar in the Raw in Krogers before, but didn’t think much of it since I usually stick to plain evaporated cane sugar.

    Reply
    • Pavil, the Uber Noob May 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      There is a caveat with coconut sugar. The process to harvest the coconut palm tree for sugar circumvents production of coconuts, hence no oil. For my money, the oil is more precious, especially since there are other sources for sugars.

      Reply
      • I found this out the hard way, but coconut sugar curdles cream, I had to throw out a whole batch of ice cream. Just FYI. I have also found that when I indulge in white sugar treats I always get a sugar head ache and wake up the next morning with a stuffy nose and a sore throat. This is not true with succanant.

        Reply
  5. i had been using Piloncillo for my sugar substitute and it has worked wonders. i have been looking for another substitute for a while now, thanks for this! and i had no idea about the ‘Sugar in the Raw’.

    Reply
    • Piloncillo is an unrefined Mexican sugar. The cane is crushed, boiled and the juice is poured unto molds to form the cone shape. It must be grated, chipped away or melted in hot water to make sugar water to use. It has a smoky, caramely and earthy taste as opposed to the simple sweet taste of white sugar.

      Reply
      • If you look in the Mexican food section of most major grocers, you may be able to find this CHEAP. We have a large Mexican population here in Eastern NC and the grocers have a pretty good selection of Mexican food products, not just the Old El Paso garbage. There are Mexican/Hispanic wholesellers that sell herbs/spices in these stores and the Piloncillo is usually one of the products. Usually there are 3-4 cones per package and it only runs about $1.99 or less. Check it out and see if your store has them. http://chefcheapo.blogspot.com/ for more ideas on saving some cash and eating well.

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  6. I love this site because I just keep learning and learning. I have been using Sugar in the Raw. Thanks Sarah , again! :)

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    • Ha ha on me! Above I said I use Sugar in the Raw…….then as I was eating my Quinoa with REAL maple syrup , I suddenly thought…..I have not used ANY sugars in months! Honey and a little maple syrup! Needless to say I loved that thought! I HAVE sugar in the raw in my cupboard but I don’t USE it ! :)

      Reply
  7. Great Post sarah,another good sfuff is Panela it is raw and unprocess and very cheap,it is what people in Indias useas jaggery, another name is Rapadura,I also read the definition the other day that Muscovado sugar it is the same as Rapadura,it taste as like you eating the sugar cane

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  8. Thanks for adding a bit of clarity to this. Can you explain the difference between dehydrated cane sugar juice (sucanant) and evaporated cane juice? I can get Wholesome Sweetener brand evaporated cane juice organic sugar for a great price at Costco, but as the color is lighter it must be different from sucanant.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      If the color is lighter, its been processed with nutrients removed. Truly unprocessed evaporated cane juice is dark as shown in the picture.

      Sugar manufacturers make more money when they strip the molasses out and sell it separately from the sugar. This way they make money on more than one product line. Fooling the consumer into thinking a processed sugar is whole is good for them as they think they can get it coming and going.
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: “Sugar in the Raw” That’s Not

      Reply
  9. well I found in internet store that have a very good Panela , I haven’t buy from them yet, but I will ,I just going to put the link just in case anyone want to check this out,is call Amigosfoods.com they have 16 onz for 3.29

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  10. Yes, I am with those asking about Wholesome Sweetener brand. I buy it from Costco and use it for Kombucha and fermented punch. Is this the right stuff, because it looks like sugar in the raw color! Amazing how difficult it has come to get nutrient dense food!

    Reply
    • I use this too but also have sucanat on hand. I do not like the taste of sucanat in Kombucha so I use the wholesome sweetner evaporated cane sugar instead. Definitely need to know your opinion Sarah!

      Reply
    • You guys are so silly, where do you think Wholesome Sweeteners buys the sugar from? The big name brand sugar refiners, that’s who!

      Reply
  11. Thank you Sarah for bringing the labeling and marketing maneuvers to light.

    Is “color” an enough and reliable indicator as to how “raw” a certain sugar is? I’m not a sugar expert but I realize that there must be different varieties of canes or even beets used to extract sugar. I’ve drank freshly squeezed sugar cane juice in the past and I don’t recall the color to be that dark so I’m thinking that perhaps the crystal version of it wouldn’t be that dark either.

    We use Turbinado/Sugar in the Raw at home for everything and have no problem with it, while we enjoy the molasses flavors… I’m not defending those folks but to me I would appreciate seeing more conclusive evidence before dropping a brand/type of sugars.

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  12. Thank you so much for this information. It burst my bubble a little since this is what I was buying instead of the white refined sugar. Just found a place I could purchase the sucanat in a 50lb bag for just 15 cents more than what I was paying for the other. Happy about that!

    Reply
  13. Thanks so much Sarah! I have wondered about this because the truly raw sugar – dehydrated cane juice- I found is so much darker than what I have found in the grocery. It is called “Organic Whole Cane Sugar”

    Reply
  14. Angela South Workman via Facebook May 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I enjoy organic coconut palm sugar’s ….I don’t know if it’s raw, but it sure is great!

    Reply
  15. Pavil, the Uber Noob May 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    If I am not mistaken, primitive cane sugar also goes by the name of ‘jaggery’.

    Ciao, Pavil

    Reply
  16. Good to know. I have been using “Sugar in the Raw” in my water kefir and it works well. I once used Rapunzel Organic Whole Cane Sugar (unrefined and unbleached) and someone “in the know” told me I may have ruined my kefir grains. Turns out I didn’t, but I’ve been afraid to use it since. Any thoughts?

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  17. This is an important topic and it reminds me that I’ve been meaning to research and compare other sweeteners more fully but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m curious to know more about the temperatures and other aspects of the various manufacturing processes and how these impact things like maple sugar and coconut sugar as compared to cane sugar, as well as their effect on blood sugar and whether they create “negative nutrition” (using up more nutrients from the body than they provide during digestion and metabolization) to a lesser degree than cane sugar.

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  18. I would say that the Sugar in the Raw still has a good amount of minerals in it because my water kefir thrives on it without any mineral supplementation, while it won’t multiply in white sugar without added minerals.

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  19. Sarah,
    What kind of sugar do you recommend for making Kombucha and water kefir? I have been using turbinado sugar, but have friends that say using the plain, white sugar from Walmart is ok. What do you think? Thanks for all the info you give on your blog!

    Reply
  20. I also use it for water kefir. Do you think it matters in this case. I know it’s not as good as sucanat, but I don’t know if I need to buy it for the water kefir. By the time I drink it most sugar is gone. What do you think?

    Reply
  21. Jennifer Keune Reed via Facebook May 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I was wondering about this. Any one with information on these…
    What about Xyithol (sp?)? I use in my homemade toothpaste. I know it is anti-bacterial (only kills the bad bacteria)
    What about raw coconut sap (dehydrated and in a crystal form)? I just found this and it is good.
    Stevia in the raw? (it has added stuff, I don’t know anymore (I did accidenitally get “cup for cup”?

    Reply
  22. Karen Sage Buffington via Facebook May 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Shannon, Fruit doesn’t work because its sugar is fructose, and processed by the liver, unlike other sugars. Too much of it creates fatty liver disease, just like an alcoholic. About 1/2 a fruit of today’s modern variety is enough; more is excess, to say nothing of HFCS!

    Reply
  23. Karen Sage Buffington via Facebook May 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Geri, CA law says that almonds must be pasteurized to prevent food poisoning yet the nuts are still legal to label as raw. Check out the Truly Raw brand from Organic Pastures, near Fresno (not to be confused with Organic Valley, with whom I wouldn’t do business on a bet!). organicpastures.com

    Reply
  24. From what I understand kombucha likes regular old white sugar better then sucanat. The yeasts and bacteria use up most of the sugar anyway so it usually isn’t a problem. (That’s why it doesn’t/shouldn’t taste sweet) I have white sugar but just for kombucha, it’s much cheaper. I use sucanat and honey for all by baking and sweetening.

    Reply
    • I’m right there with ya Susan! The post about fruit is breaking my heart! This is sure a learning experience isn’t it?

      Reply
  25. Sarah, have you seen STEVIA in the RAW? It’s made by the same company as Sugar in the Raw. First ingredient is malto dextrin, then stevia extract. I did a lot of research on malto dextrin, basically it’s a highly refined starch used as a food additive and it’s in almost everything these days. Basically this Stevia in the Raw is nothing more than granulated malto dextrin sweetened up with Stevia extract.

    Reply
    • It’s because Stevia is about 800 times sweeter than sugar. If you bought a 1 gram packet of Stevia in the Raw you would basically have an empty packet. You guys are so clueless.

      Reply
      • Mike, thank you for informing us (I mean it, thank you!), but calling people clueless is unnecessary. We may be clueless, but we’re here trying to learn. You must have been clueless too, before learning what you know today. Just be nice about it, please.

        Reply
  26. Sarah, I looked at your resources page for a place to purchase a good quality sucanat and it did not list one. Am I looking in the wrong place? Can you direct me to where you purchase yours?
    Thanks for all the helpful information.

    Reply
    • I use xylitol from http://www.globalsweet.com Used to buy from Epic Dental until I found out they get it from corn in China. Ugh. And, I know, I know . . . xylitol is not a traditional sweetener. But, it has its good points and I usually go 1/2 and 1/2 it with honey or maple syrup or whatever I’m baking with to cut down on the fructose content. Dr. Mercola says its okay too so I use it.

      Reply
  27. I was duped by this for more years than I care to admit. Now I only buy local honey and maple syrup and sucanat and coconut sugar from Trader Joes. I do use Florida Crystals organic sugar for my kombucha. Cultures for Health have a great list of all sweeteners and whether and why they are suitable for kombucha on their website. I still miss white sugar for some things. I made lemon curd with sucanat and it looked like baby poop. I just couldn’t get beyond the appearance and I missed the beautiful yellow color. My son and I eat it like pudding. I hope I can find a better substitute.

    Reply
  28. Jan Posch via Facebook May 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I use sucanat, but I just purchased honey granules to use as white sugar. Honey granules is supposed to be sucanat with the molasses taken out and replaced with honey. What do you think about that?

    Reply
  29. Hi Sarah,
    I love your blog, it helps me tremendously. I can not access any of the links on your resource page:( Help
    Thank you
    Nicole

    Reply
    • I should say that I am on a Mac and I can see the links, however I can not click on them and can not see any of the resources under them. I have thought there was nothing there and am now realizing it is just me.

      Reply
  30. Raw honey can be substituted for white sugar, ounce for ounce, up to one cup, in any recipe. After one cup, slight adjustments must be made for the liquid components, but still perfectly doable, without using any type of refined, processed products!

    Reply
  31. Jennifer Keune Reed via Facebook May 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    For my toothpaste I have been using
    2 Tbsp benodinite clay
    2 Tbsp coconut oil
    1-2 tsp xylitol
    peppermint essential oil to taste and for anti-bacterial/bad breath fighting
    I

    Reply
  32. Jennifer Keune Reed via Facebook May 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    oops..
    I’ve read also,
    1 tsp salt
    and trace minerals, but I am really happy with my blend for now and I am (hopefully when I get time) going to do more reading on re-mineralizing the teeth and oil pulling and maybe more research on the other ingredients
    I know the clay pulls toxins from the mouth, coconut oil (virgin) is anti-bacterial properties, as well as xytiol and peepermint ;)

    Reply
  33. oooh Jennifer..I’ve recently had the urge to learn about natural toothpaste. I don’t know about placing clay in my mouth but I might since you’re pleased with this mixture. Is benodinite clay the same used for face masks?

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  34. I was talking to a friend recently who used to live in Hawaii. We were talking about the vog and the smoke from sugar cane fields. He said there are literally hundreds of miles of what looks like pvc piping they use for irrigating the sugar cane. Before they harvest, they burn the fields using a vehicle spraying fuel (I’m assuming petroleum product of some kind) and then burning it – pvc piping right along with the sugar cane. I’ve read that cane sugar is better than beet sugar because so many of the sugar beets are now GMO. If you do use white sugar for your kombucha or water kefir, then consider how the sugar is processed and whether it is from canes or beets. Just a little more food for thought.

    Reply
  35. I just needed to share with you how extremely EXCITED I am!!!!!!! I only found your website because my husband wanted me to try to get into extreme couponing. Somehow your website came up while looking for organic coupons online. After subscribing to your newsletter, I found out my son probably has eczema. Its just a little patch on his face, not bad at all. But then I found info on The GAPS Diet. Even though his eczema isnt extreme I dont want it to turn into something worse down the road and I figured my gut could use some healing too. Then I ran into a lady randomly the other day while I was out shopping and through conversation she mentioned The Weston A Price Foundation and Body Ecology! Dr. McBride (the author of The GAPS Diet) did an interview which I had just seen a few days before that with the author of The Body Ecologyr! Funny how everything was coming full circle. The lady also had a little kefir culture and kombucha culture because I told her I wanted to try to make my own soon but didnt know where to start. She had instructions with it and everything! Talk about being at the right place at the right time! So today is my first attempt at making chicken stock. And I just got the fermented cod liver oil in the mail…to make matters sooooo much better…..I just found out that a farm only 10 minutes away from me is a member of The Weston A Price Foundation!!!!!! If my husband had never wanted me to coupon and I never came across your website…who knows! Lets just say that I LOVE when stuff works out like this and everything just happening so wonderfully lets me know this is the right thing for me and my family and I am just so grateful you take the time out to do what you do!

    Reply
    • This is one of the very nicest posts I think I have ever read! This is really a lot like what happened to me , I wasn’t couponing , but my mind was ever open to the natural. So a friend posted one of Sarah’s posts on Facebook and as they say the rest is history! I have come a long long way since I first even heard of Sarah and The Weston A Price foundation ! Your excitment is wonderful . Keep on learning and doing. You are an inspiraton!

      Reply
      • I love this too! I think a lot of us started out this way, stumbling upon it and it being a daily journey ever since! I read comments from people all the time who have ‘always done this’ or ‘always stayed away from that’ – not me, I did everything the media told me to! No natural intuition to stay away from antibiotics, chemical laden products, processed food. Margarine is best? Done! hahah, oh how far we’ve all come, its incredible, and now posts like this to continue the fine tuning :) Definitely keep an open mind and stay excited :) All the way from Australia xx

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  36. I bought Sucanat a few weeks ago. When I opened the bag, the smell sickened me. I persevered and tried to use it in several ways. I’ve reached the point now where I actually gag when either the smell or taste hit me.

    So, if I can’t use Sucanat, what would be the next best thing?

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  37. Great topic, and from reading the comments I didn’t realize so many people didn’t know. Off in my own little world I suppose. I love sucanat, and have been using it for more than 3 yrs. I also have tried many other sugars, date, coconut, billingtons molasses sugar, maple syrup, molasses and can’t remember what else. I use it for baking mostly.
    While it’s best to cut down on sugars in the diet, including fruit sometimes we crave a sweet and this fits the bill.
    for the pp who said if they want say a starbucks treat, then go for it. There are many reasons why I would not go for the “real” thing. First of all, I’d say it’s not real. Plus, I would be ill from all the additives that would be in a treat from anywhere. Preservatives, soy, corn syrup, dyes etc. can cause a lot of problems. Not to mention, they can make the sweet craving worse. I was the biggest sweetaholic of anyone I knew. By cutting down on my carbs, eating more veggies, and some fruit, I’ve found that I have the self discipline to not over indulge. I have no idea why, the chemistry behind it, but I’d never have believed it if it hadn’t happened to me.
    I get my Sucanat from Azurestandard.com, which is situated in Oregon. I live in CA. I last ordered a 50lb. bag, but now realize that I’ll have to half that next time as our consumption over the past year has become very low.

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  38. By the way, I was at a demo of the vitamix at costco, and when the guy made a fruit smoothie, he of all things ruined it by putting Agave Syrup in it. He tried to pick an argument with me since he was angry that I wouldn’t taste his smoothie nor give it to the 3 yr old. I told him the fruit should have been enough sweetener. LOL!
    I don’t know if you’ve done an article on Agave, but after the little bit that I’ve read, I do not use it at all.

    Reply
  39. In my city in Australia, in the health food stores, a small bag of Rapadura is expensive! Its organic but maybe for fermented beverages which is what I mainly use it for, I should go hunting in an Indian store, would the quality really be much different? If the colour is the same I’ll be happy. Is this better than substituting honey in recipes do you think?

    Reply
  40. Jennifer Keune Reed via Facebook May 9, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    I got my clay at whole foods and it was the facial clay 100% benodnite. I have heard there is a good website mountain rose herbs with quality herbs and minerals and stuff for good prices. I do really like the tootpaste. It seems my teeth feel clean all day. I found everything at Whole Foods. I don’t know it they have one in your area. I am in Missouri.

    Reply
  41. Interesting. But according to Nourishing Traditions p536-537 “Guide to Natural Sweeteners”, sucanat is also not recommended. I am confused now.

    Reply
  42. At my local health stores, they have several different sugars all labeled as “evaporated can juice” ranging in light color (off-white) to very dark (chocolate color). It can be confusing to simply purchase based upon “evaporated cane juice”, color is a good judge, especially if it says sucanat on it. Some brown sugars are really white sugar with some molasses mixed back it, so the sum of the parts don’t equal the whole sugar.

    As for fruit, modern fruits have been cultivated for maximum sweetness. A handful of grapes can contain a lot of sugar. If you ever get the chance to eat some wine grapes (merlot, cabernet, etc), you’ll know the difference as they’re quite tart. Sure, fruit is more of a whole food than cookies, but you can overdo it. Everyone is going to have to trust their own gut as to what is right for them. An easy place to overdo it is in fruit juices. We treat fruit like a special treat, like a cookie, not something that we eat on a regular basis and my energy levels have never felt so stable (no highs and lows).

    Reply
  43. I also am at a loss now. I use honey for nearly everything, and I didn’t use the In The Raw stuff, but my organic Wholesome Sweeteners evap cane juice is light brown. Wassup wi’ dat? Sarah, maybe a whole new post on natural sugars would be a good idea?? Thanx and God bless!

    Reply
  44. “Sugar in the Raw”(tm) Please Harvest Cane w/o Burning
    To be delivered to: HC&S
    Dear “Sugar in the Raw” folks,

    We who buy your product care about the environment. And we’d like to know that you care too. When you burn the cane fields on Maui, it adds to the CO2 and worsens climate change. And the smoke from your burning is damaging the lungs of your workers, your workers’ children and the residents of Maui.

    We love your product and want you to change to no-burn harvesting so we can continue to buy it, knowing we aren’t contributing to Global Warming and lung disease.

    http://signon.org/sign/sugar-in-the-rawtm-please.fb10?source=c.fb&r_by=1621974

    Reply
  45. “Sarah, I’m wondering why Nourishing Traditions Says to use Rapadura but not Sucanat. Sucanat is listed under their ‘sugars to be avoided’ on page 537. Any help on this is so appreciated! I’ve never been able to find Rapadura but I’ve been able to find Sucanat.”

    I’m also wondering the answer to this question asked above… any ideas?

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  46. Thanks so much for posting it! I only buy organic and decided to try this brand and remember that sugar from beets in the US has GMO. I tried to research this brand to make sure it’s not GMO and found this article. thanks a lot!

    Reply
  47. “Sugar in the raw” was called “sugar in the raw” before “raw” became a fad diet/lifestyle. I am sure if they came up with their name now, they would be more sensitive to your delicate nature.

    Reply
  48. Are you a Sucanat distributor ? And why make such a big deal out of it ? Personally, I like the Sugar in the Raw. It tastes better than refined sugar, and I use much less of it than I would use refined sugar. And, it’s readily available at all grocery stores, which goes to show you, I’d never even heard of Sucanat until I read this article.

    Reply
  49. Refined white sugar gives me nasty migraines. I have not eaten white sugar in over 15 years. Turbinado, evaporated cane crystals, or organic sugar does not give me migraines but I still use it sparingly.
    I guess something in the final process of bleaching the white sugar is what’s sets it off for me.
    Personally I’m glad I can fall back on the “sugar in the raw” when baking a special treat.

    Reply
    • Allie, What in the world made you think refined sugar is bleached?? You are totally clueless like half the other tree huggers on this site. Geez.

      Reply
  50. I was under the impression that Rapadura was true sugar in the raw and unrefined state, but is almost impossible to buy. I think Sucanat is still treated and separated from the molasses but then they are brought back together again. Sucanat was the closest thing to Rapadura that could be found here in the U.S. I read that here; http://quirkycooking.blogspot.com/2009/07/rapadura-sucanat-muscavado-turbinado.html

    There are similar products to Rapadura, such as Sucanat (USA – a trade name), and Jaggery (India). Sucanat is different to Rapadura in that the sugar stream and the molasses stream are separated from each other during processing, then reblended to create a consistent product, whereas Rapadura is a wholefood product which can vary according to sugar cane variety, soil type and weather. This is why one batch of Rapadura may be lighter or darker than the last batch. (See this diagram) Because Rapadura is not separated from the molasses, it has more nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Jaggery can refer to either whole cane sugar or palm sugar. From what I can understand, it is also heated to higher temperatures, as much as 200 degrees C, which Rapadura is not. Like many of these similar sugars, Jaggery is solidified and formed into cakes, which can then be grated for use.

    Sara, I am not disagreeing with you, only curious. I shopped for rapadura the other day and that was the information I found, so I bought Sucanat. If it’s the same thing, that’s great!

    Reply
  51. Great Article!!! This is the type of truth that needs to be exposed to the masses. We as a culture are dying. The main reason, we do not know what we are putting in our bodies. Thanks so much for the TRUTH!!!

    Reply
  52. For those asking about what to use in kombucha, she does say on her video to use regular white sugar because it gets used up in the brewing process.

    My problem with Sucanat is that I can’t get everyone to eat things I make with it because of the potent smell. So, as we adjust, I bought some sugar in the raw (and then some organic cane sugar…which looks and tastes exactly like Sugar in the raw, though I realize it is organic and Sugar in the Raw is not). For us, it is about transitioning in the times we do need it. Luckily, my family is more than happy to use raw honey and real maple syrup for most things, but for regular baking you still need some kind of sugar or substitute for many things. I am hopeful we will gradually move to all sucanat, but it is one of those areas where we have to move slowly or I fear my hubs will say “forget this” and go buy regular table sugar and I will have to start all over!

    So, keep in mind moving forward is good, even if it is in baby steps! Eventually we will all hopefully get to where Sarah is but it doesn’t happen overnight! Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us Sarah!

    Reply
  53. Pingback: Raw Sugar Isn’t Raw Sugar? « To Health in 2013

  54. While I do feel the same as you regarding ‘sugar in the raw’, it strikes me as unfair to the company that you can come to an assessment on their product based simply on your opinions. Perhaps you should at least contact the company and ask them to clarify. Give them a chance. Again, I do believe that you are correct in your assessment, but you have many followers of your blog who ‘take your word for it’. But no REAL research has actually been done. Just a sight test. And ‘raw’ is not synonymous with ‘unrefined’. These are two entirely different topics…..

    Reply
    • True, I think “in the Raw” is really the brand name and not a product description and is not suppose to be interpreted literally. I do like agave or honey for tea, but sometimes I like the bake or make hot chocolate homemade with the Sugar in the Raw. Maybe if people send a requet to the brand, they could make an alternate sugar like Sucnate, for those who are a little mor health conscous. I think sugar in the raw is minimally processed and broiling done is minimal and just enough to get just a little of the molassas out, I am guessing for majority they believe who prefer the lighter color. However, I would use sometime like Sucnate for my baking as it seems like it would produce similar results. I like the taste of Sugar in the Raw and that is why I purchase it. Perhaps they could change the name to Natural sugar, but I think sugar in teh Raw is just a catchy name.

      Reply
  55. Well I guess its kind of false labeling and I suppose that other sugar you mentioned is better, as all its color is remained, however those sugars are sometimes hard to find. You could get sugar in the raw anywhere and even pocket them from Panera Bread or Starbucks. I think the less processing the best, so either way, it is still better then white sugar or even brown which is still processed. I think in the Raw is the name of the brand, not the sugar, the sugar is Turbani sugar and In teh Raw is the brand that makes it. They also make Stevia in the Raw, which I bet is cooked as well. Sucnate sounds better and I will keep my eyes pealed for it next time I run out of the Sugar in the Raw. I do buy Agave or honey sometimes for tea but like Sugar in the Raw for baking and varous things.

    Reply
  56. Pingback: Recipe–Rebecca on Ree– Dulce de Leche Coffee | My Whit's End

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  58. The product isn’t called “Raw Sugar”. If it was I might agree with you. I read “In the Raw” to mean just what they describe. Interpretation is subjective I guess. I just don agree with yours…

    Reply
  59. This article is not accurate. Turbinado sugar, i.e. Sugar in the Raw is naturally lighter than the other brown sugars.

    Reply
  60. Pingback: Strawberry Basil Smoothie | Heather M. Edwards

  61. I agree with Iniquity. All this is about false labeling. So many companies are labeling their products raw when they are not. Along the lines of the raw sugar debate, “Wholesome Sweetners” is labeling their Organic Turbinado Sugar “Raw” but if you read about their processing they heat the sugar syrup before they evaporate it. So I doubt it is really raw in the finished product. Also many nut butter companies label their nut butters “raw” (Maranatha is one) but they aren’t in the finished product. They start out with raw nuts, but the grinding temperatures are high enough to render the final product cooked! We need truth in labeling so we can make informed choices. The reason we don’t have truth in labeling is Greed.

    Reply
  62. It seems to me that “In the Raw” is only the trademark and not really a guarantee of what the product is. Of course this leads to sales by confusing the public and though this is a technique used in marketing, if it is not truly raw, it is a dirty strategy since as I have mentioned before, it confuses people. This may be the only explanation why it is approved, as they can justify that the mention of the “raw” is only their brand name, and not necessarily the product they are selling. Would have to read the small letters to confirm all these, but this is what I suspect.

    Reply
  63. Is Morena sugar raw sugar? The package says “Morena PURE CANE SUGAR” “ALL NATURAL/GREAT TASTE”.

    “Zulka Morena is an all natural, unrefined and NON-GMO pure cane sugar that is made by squeezing and evaporating the juice from freshly harvested sugar cane.
    The result is a golden sweet srystal that tastes like biting into fresh sugar cane.”

    Reply
  64. I use sugar in the raw, not because it’s “natural”….but because white sugar, along with sugar substitutes hurt my stomach when I use them. Nothing is bad in moderation….that’s the key. Agave syrup is my go to most of the time, however, my grocery store is spotty about what and when they carry an item. Perhaps, more “investigating” by us consumers is the key….rather than believing what is freely available, an unreliable.

    Reply
  65. Sugar In The Raw is the name of the brand. That’s why there is the registered symbol next to the name. It isn’t saying, nor does it state anywhere on the box that it is RAW sugar. It does say it is turbinado sugar which is still a lot less processed than the white table sugar you buy from the grocery store.

    The company doesn’t say it is unadulterated. Yes, Sucanat is darker because it is not processed at all, but again, Sugar in the Raw never says it isn’t processed so there is nothing sneaky about their marketing.

    Sugar cane is pressed to extract the juice to make turbinado sugar. It is then heated to remove roughly 1/2 of the molasses, then spun in a centrifuge to dry it. There are no solvents or bone meal used in turbinado sugar. Since 1/2 (or more) of the molasses is still in tact, there are still some vitamins and minerals left in the sugar. http://www.emmshealthyliving.com/sugars/

    Is it as healthy as Sucanat sugar? No, but it’s not as bad as what you’re trying to make it out to be. And by me saying ‘as healthy as Sucanat,’ I’m not implying that I think sugar has any extreme health benefits.

    I believe this is where a big problem lies; blogs posting articles that aren’t entirely true and that causes others to become even more confused. I understand you want to make money by linking to your affiliate account on amazon for Sucanat sugar, but please rethink misleading people as you accuse a company of doing.
    Emm\’s last post: Sugars

    Reply
  66. The only difference between sugar in the raw and sucanat is that one has been washed, removing the surface molasses and making it more suitable for instances calling for white sugar and The other hasn’t, making it more suitable where brown sugar is called for.
    There is nothing unnatural about it.

    Reply
  67. I am just curious, I use sugar in the raw and I was wondering if coloring was the only thing you were referring to? I have noticed that sometimes, the sugar in the raw is very dark, while others it is not as dark, but it is always some shade of “caramel” what would account for this? Surely there are differences between canes, temperatures, processes etc? Otherwise why would there be variations even among the same brand? At the end of the day, our bodies are not meant to process large amounts of sugar (no matter how “raw” or “processed” they are). If you look at history, sweet things were very difficult to get, which is why are brains are hard wired to love them so much. They have (if you believe in evolution, which personally, I do) always been a rare treat so to speak. That is why they are addicting (and I mean that literally. They trigger the same reward center in our brains that heroin and cocaine do!) and why there seems to be an epidemic of obesity, because something that used to be hard to come by is all of a sudden in great abundance and getting more and more concentrated as time goes on…. Metabolically, your body does know the difference between honey, molasses, fruits, or cane sugar (raw or otherwise). To your body, they are all simple carbohydrates. The only thing that really matters is that with eating fruit, you get some fiber which helps your body process the simple carbohydrates and remove it from your intestines, which is why drinking a glass of OJ every morning isn’t as good for you as eating an actual orange. Sugar, in large, quantities is bad for you.

    Reply
  68. Pingback: Hasta La Vista To Two Favorites | lexa's journal

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