I am using muscovado for one of our products. It is a healthier alternative to white refined sugar. Although both came from sugar cane, the first is minimally processed. Crude extraction and crystallization only. It is naturally brown. Has large sugar bits that are often eaten like candies. Sometimes contains visible dirt and sugar cane fibers. I cannot say it is nutritious because nutrients usually degrades thru boiling process. Not all but majority.
Refining by definition itself removes all the unwanted. In sugar refining, the resulting product is white semi transparent crystals. All the dirt, pigments and nutrients (if there is any) are ejected away. It is a several stage process and the common issue for health practitioners is the use of bleaching agent such as sodium metabilsulfite.
Sodium metabisulfite is not considered as ingredient. It is a processing aid. Meant to remove the brownish ugly pigment. It is then washed by subsequent process. The final product is supposed metabisulfite free but traces is inevitable.
Both sugar refined and crude should be consumed in moderation. In case you are diabetic, both will definitely increase your blood sugar level.
Oh! My real question is not about which is healthier. I have been using muscovado for a long time now but I still have no idea of how to test its purity. How do I know the muscovado sugar I am buying is not adulterated with white refined sugar.
The reason for adulteration.
The two step process of extraction and crystallization seems too easy. However, the production output versus labor input is relatively low. Adding white refined sugar shortens the process and decreases the cost. On the dealer’s side, he may intentionally mixed white or semi-refined sugar to pure product so he can get higher margin.
I became suspicious when I noticed numerous cubical crystals in muscovado sugar I was using. The typical is powdery with no visible crystals. Then I stumbled to one pack with white blotches. My last batch was confirmed adulterated.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.