Leonard and Sharon Wojno practice sustainability and wellness in their daily lives- Vegetarian and user of alternative nutritional therapies, and user of alternative house products. Sharon holds medical and nutritional certificate along with Masters of Science in Remedial Reading and Special education. She is operator of quantum mechanics health devices and advocates mystical practices. Leonard graduated from Stony Brook University in New York and took postgraduate courses at Radford University in Virginia. For the last decade he worked as a homebound school teacher for Rocky Mount Public Schools.

Refined sugar is known by many names, and it can be confusing to many. This is not a list for diabetics because these all refer to refined processed sugar. These are sugars that end in “ose”. GI stands for the Glycemic index which is how carbohydrates in foods affect blood glucose levels.

Dextrose GI 100 Sucrose GI 65 Glucose GI 100
Maltose GI 105 Lactose– Milk GI 45 Glucose=Fructose
Galactose GI 23 Fructose–fruit.  called Levulose also GI 23 Glucose Solids
  High Fructose Corn Syrup  

Others refined sugars using chemicals like white refined sugars do are:

Sugar Corn syrup
Liquid sugar Corn syrup solids
Refiner’s syrup (GI 60) (called golden syrup or Treacle  or Partially Inverted Refiners Syrup) Inverted sugar (syrup)– sugar plus water. Also called artificial honey.
Carmel syrup (candy- sugar plus ) Granulated white sugar
Speciality sugars for decorating cakes, etc Imitation maple sugar is corn syrup
Confectioners’ sugar or syrup Rock sugar

Brown sugar – In grocery stores this sugar is simply white refined sugar with some of the molasses added back. That is what makes it brown. A “Natural” brown sugar is less refined from sugar crystals. Other names for natural brown sugar are Turbinado Sugar, Demerara or Demerara sugar. Yellow sugar is light brown sugar. Rock sugar can be made from this.

Beet sugar – It is extracted from GM sugar beet, a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) product in the USA, etc. Beet sugar refineries use the ION exchange process and not bone char and this can be called granulated or fined granulated.

Maltodextrin – Corn product that is GMO produced. It is linked to intestinal disorders and, consequently, Crohn’s disease.

Dextrin – It is a hydrolyzed starch made from various starches such as potato, corn, tapioca, rice, arrowroot or wheat. Some side effects are: diarrhoea, flatulence, and gas pain. It uses an enzyme or an acid to produce it, but not harmful chemicals.

Sorghum Syrup – A natural unrefined unprocessed product with no chemicals needed that comes from a grass. However, its sugar content is very similar to white refined sugar. The GI is 50.

Evaporated cane juice – It is a more nutritious sweetener than white sugar because it is not as highly processed and retains more of the nutrients found in sugar cane. It is cane juice with the water removed. It can also be called sugar cane juice crystals.  Organic evaporated cane juice is made from sugar cane raised according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s organic standards, produced without using conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or sewage, bioengineering or ionizing radiation.

Fruit juice concentrate – Sugar extracted from fruit condensate and is similar to refined white sugar in glucose content. Though, it may not be so chemicalized.

Alternatives to White Sugar

There are many alternatives and I will attempt to explain the pros and cons of each.  Glycemic levels of a few of these alternatives are included. None of these are processed like white refined sugar.

Stevia – It is reported to not raise blood sugar and may help to control it and insulin levels, and has anti-inflammatory characteristics. It is supposed to lower blood pressure, and is anti-microbial, anti-diarrheal, anti-tumour and a diuretic. It may help fight against tooth decay and aid weight loss. Stevia is derived from the leaf of a plant. Stevia rebaudiana is its botanical name.  The GI is zero. Few stevia products are 100% stevia; they are usually cut with erythritol, etc, Straight leaves are pure. At least one extract is pure which is called Pluck One Pure Stevia Extract Powder which has only stevia extract and Pluck One Pure Stevia Drops which is distilled water and stevia extract.

Honey – Has anti-microbial and antibacterial characteristics. It is used for coughs and as a suppressant for sore throats.  Manuku honey is antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant now used on wounds. It is an actual food with minerals and other nutrients.  One must be careful that the honey they use is pure because some companies cut it with white refined sugar. The GI is 50.

Maple syrup – It is from the sap of a maple tree and is used to fight infection. It is healthy for the gut. One must be sure it is not cut with white refined sugar, corn syrup, alcohol, sulphurite, and caramel colourings.  The GI is 51.  You can boil maple syrup until it becomes a solid called maple sugar.

Black Strap Molasses – It has several minerals such as magnesium, potassium and chromium which helps with glucose tolerance, bone health and premenstrual systems.  During the raw sugar crystal milling, this is what remains.

Jaggery – It generally is dark in colour.  If it is white it has been heavily processed. White jaggery is treated with caustic soda, sodium bicarbonate and three chemicals that I question: zinc formaldehyde, an embalming chemical; and sulph oxylate, which is harmful and used by the textile industry, and sodium hydrophosphide which is a harmful and cheap detergent. Sometimes it is adulterated with chocolate, etc.

Coconut sugar – It is from the sap of the flower stem of the coconut palm tree and is unrefined, and there are no preservatives and no chemicals used in the processing because it is an extract of the sap.  It is dried in the heat.  Or, it is boiled and water is evaporated and it is sold as a syrup.  It contains many nutrients like potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, and other nutrients and is a probiotic fiber. There is inulin that gives it a low GI of 39 and it fosters gut microbiome. The only environmental issue with the coconut tree is that you either have to use the tree for sap or get the coconut fruit from it. You cannot get both.

Carob syrup – It is made by crushing the carob pod and immersing them in water. It is unrefined, and they don’t use chemicals in the process and it aids digestion.  I have used carob flour as a substitute for chocolate and I like it.

Barley Malt Syrup (also known as malt extract or simply malt) – It’s made from sprouted barley. Diastatic malt is made from whole-grain barley malt. It doesn’t seem to use any chemicals in its processing. The GI is 42.

Date sugar – It is ground up whole dates and is less refined.  It has antioxidants, fibre, and all the fruits vitamins and minerals. The GI is 50. Some manufacturers don’t boil it and simply let it evaporate which would make this a much healthy product.

Palm sugar – This is made from the sap of a tree and doesn’t require any chemicals Since you don’t cut down trees, it is sustainable. It can refer to coconut palm sugar but it can also refer to a variety of palm trees such as nipa, sugar palm, date palm or Palmyra (This comes from sap of flower). Be careful as some manufacturers of it will cut it with white refined sugar.

Brown Rice Syrup – It is produced commercially by cooking brown rice flour or brown rice starch with enzymes. Its GI is 25.

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