History of Favorite American Food Sugar Part 2
About the favorite American food sugar, its use in the diet, history of sugar cane, sweet refined taste.
Refining techniques are similar for the sugar beet which became popular in the early 19th century after sugarcane trade with the West Indies and Southeast Asia was blockaded. The Steffens process of recovering extra sucrose from molasses through 3rd or 4th boilings makes use of powdered quicklime added to diluted molasses instead of using milk of lime.
About 70% of worldwide sugar production is for domestic use and the sugar trade is based on prices negotiated between countries, biased, of course, by political relations. Although the U.S. produces most of its own sugarcane, the largest producers of cane sugar are Cuba, Brazil, and Australia, while the U.S.S.R., U.S., and France lead in beet production. There have been 3 international agreements since W.W.II to set floor and ceiling prices on sugar trade. Even when you don't buy plain sugar, it's been added to so many foods that you're probably buying it anyhow.
White sugar tends to have a negative effect on the nervous system, robs the body of B vitamins, causes tooth decay, interferes with calcium metabolism, and contributes to hardening of the arteries when used excessively. Brown, demarara, and turbinado sugar are not significantly better; "raw" sugar which is partially refined also contains 97% sucrose. Honey is a much more concentrated sweetener than sugar and so tends not to be overused as much. Other alternatives include carob molasses, carob syrup, unrefined sugarcane syrup, date sugar, palm sugar, and maple sugar. Several artificial sweeteners have been withdrawn from the market in recent years because of the infamous cyclamate furor. There is an experimental product, not yet on the market, called Aspartane--comprised of amino acids, aspartic acid, and phenylalanine--which is the creation of a contraceptive pill manufacturer. Most of us would be better off reducing our sweet craving instead of looking for artificial sources, or else developing a taste for foods with natural sweetness such as fruits, which can provide vitamins and other nutrients at the same time. Even maple syrup is sometimes adulterated since a poisonous pellet is used to kill bacteria in the tree and keep tapholes open longer. Honey is relatively pure but best in the raw and unfiltered varieties. When processed it loses vitamin F, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and ascorbic acid.
High blood sugar is linked with diabetes and low blood sugar with hypoglycemia. Considering the impact sugar has on our health, we should be suspicious of pro-sugar advertising and be more conscious of just how much sugar we consume.
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