Muscovado Sugar is not just empty calories. It’s dark brown, coarse and moist, and still retains many of the nutrients of raw cane sugar. Muscovado is still sugar, and for that reason don’t go swilling it down. But if you’re tastebuds have been Paleofied to the point where you only need a little sweetness in your baked goods, then I’d say Muscovado is a valid option.
Muscovado Sugar – Is It Healthy and Nutritious?
Muscovado Sugar (also called Mascobado, Khandsari and Khand, depending on the country of production) presents a much higher nutritional profile than chemically refined white table sugar. Which isn’t difficult when you consider that refined white sugar has zero nutrition. White sugar is just empty calories – 387 per gram – which means it does nothing other than stimulate your tastebuds, send your blood sugar levels soaring and crashing, and push insulin production into overdrive.
Muscovado Sugar, on the other hand, provides us with a little goodness. It has 383 calories per 100 grams, as well as
- 3.9mg of Phosophorus
- 85mg of Calcium
- 23mg of Magnesium
- 100mg of Potassium and
- 1.3mg of Iron
Per 100 grams, it actually has more Calcium, Potassium and Iron than Cauliflower.
For every 100 grams, Cauliflower contains
- 44mg of Phosphorus
- 22mg of Calcium
- 15mg of Magnesium
- 299mg of Potassium
- 0.4mg of Iron
But compared with Sardines, that superfood of the sea, Muscovado Sugar falls a little behind.
For 100 grams, Sardines contain
- 257mg of Phosphorus
- 382mg of Calcium
- 39mg of Magnesium
- 375mg of Potassium
- 1.2mg of Iron
But regardless of being able to draw a comparison between healthy foods like cauliflower, we shouldn’t go so far as to convince ourselves that Muscovado Sugar is ‘healthy’. Like refined white sugar, it’s still composed of glucose and fructose, and once it enters the bloodstream, it’s still going to spike your blood sugar levels and your insulin production.
But I’m okay with it. And this is why:
7 Reasons Why I’m Okay with Muscovado Sugar
- It’s good for Paleo baking. I like baking. It’s a creative outlet for me, and it’s emotionally warming. There’s something lovely about the house being filled with the scent of a cake or cookies fresh out of the oven. We like our treats as much as the next person. A quick glance under the Recipes category Sweets and Treats will have you rest assured that, as far as we’re concerned, Paleo is not about deprivation. It is, rather, very much about moderation. Sure, we enjoy having a bar or biscuit in the tin, but baked goods are not the mainstay of our diet. We fill up on real, healthy and nutritious food.
- I don’t use much of it. If you glance through my recipes, you’ll notice that they rarely call for more than 1/3 cup of muscovado sugar. Our tastebuds have changed to the extent that anything more is just too sweet for us. 1/3 of a cup of sugar divided into, say, a cake of 12 portions, means just 1 teaspoon of muscovado per serving. That’s not going to cause too much of an insulin hissy fit in a healthy individual.
- It tastes good. Because it’s unrefined, it has an intense flavour that hints at molasses and liquorice. For this reason, you don’t need much for baking.
- It’s cheap. Compared to other valid (which means, reasonably nutritious) sweeteners, Muscovado is gentle on the wallet. At least where we live, maple syryp and coconut sugar are ok for particular situations, but they’d break our bank for biscuits.
- It’s not just empty calories. Just to run through those minerals again: Muscovado Sugar contains 44mg of Phosphorus, 85mg of Calcium, 23mg of Magnesium, 100mg of Potassium and 1.3mg of Iron for every 100 grams. That’s not bad for a little sweetness.
- It’s processed without chemicals. It’s essentially the juice of cane sugar which has been evaporated and then separated from the molasses through either a centrifuge, or through shearing.
- It’s ethically manufactured. You can buy Muscovado Sugar that has been produced by small to medium sized businesses who are aligned with Fair Trade practices. Look for the relevant logos.
All good reasons. Just don’t go overboard with it. Or any other kind of sweetener, for that matter, and that includes fruit. Remember, our DNA simply hasn’t evolved to metabolize vast quantities of sugar in any form. Before agriculture and industrialisation, natural sugars came from a little fruit in summer, and a little honey when stumbled upon. The fruit which we eat now is so much bigger and sweeter that our ancestors would hardly recognise it. And remember, it’s addictive.
So, yes, sweeten your baking with a little Muscovado Sugar. Have your cake and eat it. But only after your Sugar Dragon is well under control.
Why You’ll Never Kill the Sugar Dragon – an insight into why the pleasure will never fully die away.
10 Ways to Keep the Sugar Dragon Under Control – some tips and tricks to get you through the withdrawal phase.
Sugar Molecules: Friend and Foe – Sucrose, Glucose, Fructose, Fructans and Inulin. All you need to know.
Paleo Sweet Treats
Citrus and Coconut Poppyseed Cake – with a lovely baked-on topping.
Banana Bread – great for slicing, freezing, and pulling out a few slices for a weekend breakfast.
Strawberry and Lemon Coconut Slice – homely and wonderful!
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