Sucanat® is an unrefined, healthier alternative to generic white or brown sugar.
Sucanat is a type of unrefined, natural cane sugar. Unlike most of the added sugar in our diets, Sucanat maintains its molasses content. In this review, we’re going to focus on the differences between Sucanat and standard added sugar, such as:
- Nutrients. Because Sucanat is unrefined, it retains small amounts of the vitamins and minerals from the sugarcane plant.
- Lower glycemic response. A study suggests that Sucanat causes a smaller rise in blood sugar levels in diabetics than normal added sugar.
- Flavor. Sucanat has a rich molasses flavor that can make it easier to reduce the amount of sugar you use in recipes.
Sucanat is a brand of whole cane organic sugar that contains minerals and vitamins. First introduced by German raw food materials company Pronatec in 1978, Sucanat undergoes minimal processing, which allows it to retain molasses unlike the refined sugar most people are familiar with. This high molasses content gives Sucanat a strong flavor, and also helps retain small amounts of minerals and vitamins.
Sucanat is made by crushing sugar cane, extracting the juice, heating it, and then hand paddling the resulting syrup until it dries into a golden brown, grainy mixture. Similar to stevia, it is used as a healthier replacement for standard sweeteners like white or brown sugar in baking, making drinks and smoothies, and other recipes.
Whereas refined sugar is 100% pure sugar, Sucanat contains about 93% sucrose, 3% other sugars, and 4% vitamins and minerals, most notably iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6. In addition, research suggests that Sucanat may cause a smaller glycemic response (rise in blood sugar) in diabetics.
Sucanat has several benefits over generic added white and brown sugar:
- Nutritious. Because Sucanat is unrefined, it retains small amounts of vitamins and minerals from the sugarcane plant, including iron, calcium, vitamin B6, potassium and chromium.
- Lower glycemic response. Limited research suggests that Sucanat may be a healthier sugar option for diabetics because it causes a smaller rise in blood sugar levels.
- Flavor. Sucanat has a strong molasses flavor similar to caramel and toffee, which can be used to add a fresh taste to baked goods and other recipes. In addition, the strong flavor can make it easier to use less sugar.
- Fair Trade: Sucanat is a Fair Trade product, meaning that it supports better wages & working conditions for sugar cane farmers in developing countries and promotes sustainable farming practices.
This study examined whether Sucanat had a smaller glycemic effect (rise in blood sugar seen after food consumption) than typical added sugar (sucrose), particularly for individuals with diabetes. Ten diabetics and 10 matched healthy individuals followed a 12 hour fast, and then took a drink containing 50 g of sucrose or Sucanat and had their blood analyzed for glucose levels for up to 180 minutes. Two weeks later, the experiment was repeated with the other drink.
After consuming Sucanat, diabetics had lower mean fasting blood sugar (149 ml/dl vs 156 for sucrose) and 2-hour post-prandial value – blood sugar levels 2 hours after nutrient consumption (171 mg/dl vs 189 mg/dl for sucrose). Overall, the researchers recorded a 4.5% reduction in blood glucose levels with Sucanat. There were no significant effects in healthy subjects.
- The researchers concluded that “Sucanat appears to be a potentially beneficial carbohydrate source for the NIDCM population.” 1
- Sucanat is typically used as a 1:1 replacement for white or brown sugar
Supplements in Review Recommendation
- Sucanat® as a 1:1 replacement for added sugar.
Sucanat is a healthier substitute for refined sugar. Sucanat is a healthier alternative to refined white and brown sugars in baking, smoothies, shakes, and other foods.
There is no standard dose. Sucanat is generally used as a one for one substitute for white or brown sugar, although its strong flavor allows for using smaller amounts.
- Anna Maria Bertorelli and Roberta Laredo. Serum glucose and insulin responses to sucanat™ and sucrose in non-insulin dependent diabetes and normal controls. Elsevier Journal of the American Dietetic Association Volume 95, Issue 9, Supplement, September 1995, Page A26 ↩