Label Decoder: Cane Juice

by in Label Decoder, August 20, 2009

Check the labels on some of those new “natural” beverages at health food stores — you might notice a common sweetener: “cane juice.” But is it really any better than sugar?

What is it?
Simply put: cane juice = sugar. Many food companies have started using cane juice instead of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners in their mixes. The only difference between cane juice and regular table sugar is that table sugar undergoes an extra step during processing. Because cane juice is less processed, it retains a bit more riboflavin, a nutrient that’s naturally found in sugar cane. Cane juice comes in a variety of forms, all of which are darker in color than typical white sugar and have a molasses-like flavor. You might see it listed as “evaporated cane juice,” “milled cane sugar” and “dried cane juice” on labels, but it’s all still sugar.

Any Risks?
Like table sugar, cane juice mainly is composed of two sugar units, which combine to create the “double-sugar” called sucrose. Sucrose is quickly and easily digested by the body. Just because you find it in foods marketed as healthier, don’t be duped. Cane juice is safe to consume, but eating too much sweetened, processed food can rack up calories quickly. Studies have linked sugar-heavy diets to contributing to obesity, tooth decay and heart disease. Plus, new reports show that Americans are loading up on sugars more and more these days — the average woman should only get six teaspoons a day but most are getting 22 teaspoons (and teens are consuming even more!).

A little cane juice won’t hurt; like we always say, it’s all about moderation.

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Comments (4)

  1. Tamara says:

    Manufacturers will go to great lengths to disguise how unhealthy their products are. They seem to think if they break "sugar" up into a lot of little bits ('cane juice,' 'high fructose corn syrup,' etc.) customers' eyes will glaze over and they'll buy the pretty package blindly.

    That teensy bit of riboflavin doesn't make much difference–you can get much more from leafy greens and nuts.

  2. Joie says:

    I find this really interesting as I have by happenstance ended up with a bottle of it cane juice–how can I use it up?

  3. veggie says:

    Cane juice is also vegetarian; most people are not aware that most white sugar is filtered through bone char (charcoal made from animal bones). This is done to remove the "molasses" flavor and brownish color. Cane juice retains at least a hint of "molasses" flavor, so it does not taste right in every situation. The use of unrefined cane juice versus white sugar is important, if you don't want to eat dead animals.

  4. Anon says:

    And it is DEFINITELY better than HFCS.

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