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Some white cane sugar is processed with the
use of bone char. If you're worried about this, you can
contact the manufacturer of that brand of white cane sugar
and ask to be sure. Because we at VegHealthGuide
believe in being "practical"
vegans rather than merely "symbolic"
ones, we believe the effort you could
put into worrying about a minute amount
of animal product that may or may
not be used in the production of cane
sugar could be better focused elsewhere.
Quick Page Summary: Avoid high-fructose
corn syrup and white sugar whenever possible, as they're
extremely unhealthy and have been linked to a number
of health problems. Replace traditional sugar with unrefined,
raw cane sugar, maple syrup, molasses,
or stevia, a nutritional sugar substitute that doesn't
affect blood sugar.
More important than the issue of whether
or not white cane sugar should be considered
vegan is the issue of our health. White
sugar consumption has been linked to
depressed immune systems, mood swings,
allergies, diabetes, migraine headaches,
obesity, and a whole host of other ailments
that inhibit us. We should, from a health
standpoint, strive to reduce the amount
of sugar we consume.
You can minimize the damage that sugar
does to you buy choosing unrefined sweeteners,
such as maple syrup, brown rice syrup,
barley malt syrup, fruit concentrate,
and beet sugar (still refined but never
with bone char; they use an ion transfer
process instead). Most of these sweeteners
contain trace nutrients not found in
your standard white cane sugar. Most
also do not affect the your blood sugar
levels in such a severe way.
Maple syrup and blackstrap molasses,
in particular, are two of the healthiest
sweeteners on the planet, according
to the George Mateljan Foundation's
Healthiest Foods" web site.
Tip: If you use maple syrup or blackstrap
molasses, look for organic versions.
Both non-organic maple syrup and non-organic
molasses frequently use lard as a foam
reducer (making organic much healthier—and
It's important for our overall health
to reduce or eliminate the amount of
sugar that our diets contain. North
Americans consume an incredible amount
of it every year—pounds and pounds
per individual—through convenience
foods, and soft drinks, "juices,"
candies, and baked goods. It's a hidden
ingredient in toothpastes and even table
You should especially avoid high-fructose
corn syrup, which is common in many
processed sugary foods, particularly
soft drinks, as it appears to behave
more like fat with respect to the
hormones involved in body weight regulation.
Consuming a lot of this, like consuming
too much fat, can contribute to weight
gain. Recent research also suggests
that fructose may also alter the magnesium
balance in the body, which can accelerate
Note: Brown sugar—unless
the package specifies that the sugar
is unrefined, you're probably looking
at refined white cane sugar that had
molasses (a by-product of making sugar
that is removed) stirred back into
Stevia: A Completely
Safe Sugar Alternative
A great-tasting sugar alternative that's
completely safe, non-caloric, and completely
free of side effects is stevia. Learn
more about stevia at www.stevia.com.
"The only non-caloric sweetener
I recommend is stevia, an herb in
the chrysanthemum family native to
Paraguay that you can buy in whole-leaf
or extract form. The extract—stevioside—is
a granular white powder that you dissolve
in water and dispense with a dropper.
Stevia is safe for diabetics and is
widely used as a sweetener around
the world, especially in Japan and
Brazil. A few drops of the liquid
provide the sweetness of an entire
cup of sugar." —Dr.
Stevia is sold as a "dietary supplement"
in the U.S., who blocked its sales as
a "sweetener" to keep it from
competing with aspartame. The American
Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has
petitioned the FDA to lift the ban on
stevia, based on the fact that stevia
is not a food additive, but a food with
a long record of safety. The FDA has
yet to act on this petition.
the meantime, you can find it in just
about any herbal supplement store as
a powder or liquid, and occasionally
in loose-leaf form. One popular brand
Because of the FDA regulations, the
label doesn't mention that it can
be used as a sweetener (instead, it
calls it a "supplement"), but rest
assured that it is perfectly safe as
a sugar replacement. In fact, it's
commonly used to treat diabetics! It's
even safe for children and pregnant
Stevia is best (tastiest) when used
in beverages (hot or cold).
It's a bit on the expensive side (about
$12 for 2 fl. oz.), but when you consider
that a couple drops (when in liquid
form) can sweeten an entire cup of
tea, it's actually pretty economical.