“Sugar in the Raw” is Not Really Raw at All!

by Sarah Healthy LivingComments: 169

raw sugarSugar in the Raw. Mmmmmm. If a food is labeled as “raw”, what exactly does that mean anyway? To a consumer, it means that the food is completely unadulterated and has not in any way changed from it’s original natural form.

In other words, 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. In fact, raw to Big Food can translate to a highly processed, industrialized food!

I’ve blogged before about how most raw cheese at the store is not raw at all in reality! And most recently, cold pressed raw milk is not raw either.

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 Sugar in the Raw box!

Doesn’t that mean that the Sugar in the Raw 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 Sugar in the Raw is unbleached makes it raw.

Perhaps that is what the USDA allows when it comes to labeling sugar products. 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 on the package in the picture 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.

The truth, however, is that most of the molasses has been stripped away.

Sugar in The Raw can claim it is raw all day long, but I for one, know it’s not. And now you do too.

Sugar in the RawCheck out the picture above which shows a bowl of Sugar in the Raw (right) next to a bowl of sucanat (left). Notice the dark brown color of sucanat which is a truly unprocessed, all nutrients and molasses intact sweetener. The sweetener labeled as raw sugar is anything but.

The sucanat is much darker visually demonstrating that Sugar in the Raw is a Fake. It is an adulterated product 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. It is best to bypass Sugar in the Raw or other turbinado sugar brands.

Florida Crystals is another processed sugar with molasses removed that attempts to masquerade as natural so beware.

Most White or Brown Sugar is GMO Beet Sugar

Another HUGE problem to watch out for is that most white or brown sugar on the market is GMO beet sugar or a blend of primarily GMO beet sugar with some cane sugar. The package must specifically state that it is cane sugar to avoid the GMO beet sugar issue. This is a problem only for North America, by the way.

To get the real thing, look for sucanat or jaggery that are simply dehydrated cane sugar juice. Ancestral cultures in India enjoyed these sweeteners for thousands of years. 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.

Sources for Sucanat and Other Natural Sweeteners

Please visit my Shopping Guide for a vetted list of vendors I buy from who offer quality sucanat, jaggery, coconut sugar, raw honey, maple syrup as well as other wholesome sweeteners.

Beware that popular “healthy” sweeteners like xylitol and other sugar alcohols as well as brown rice syrup used in many organic foods and baby formula are highly processed and not recommended.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

 

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The Healthy Home Economist holds a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Mother to 3 healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, ABC, NBC, and many others.

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