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!
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.Check 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 in North America is partially or totally beet sugar. This sweetener is nearly always genetically modified. GMO beet sugar is visually and taste-wise completely indistinguishable from white cane sugar. Is beet sugar healthy? It comes from a vegetable after all. No, it is not!
Sugar from sugar beets is nutritionless and contaminated with gut destroying glyposate residue. Nearly 100% of farmers growing it use Monsanto’s Roundup Ready sugar beets. The package must specifically state that the sweetener is cane sugar. Else it is almost certainly a mixture that is wholly or partially GMO beet sugar. Even brown sugar commonly contains at least some white beet sugar mixed with cane sugar molasses. The molasses from sugar beets is not fit for consumption.
To get the real thing, look for sucanat or sugarcane 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
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. This is why making baby formula at home is a better choice than commercial brands.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.