The Truth About Sugar You Need to Know About
Sugar might be one of the most common food ingredients everyone knows about but it’s also one that’s intensely scrutinized. Is sugar really bad for you, or does it just get a bad rap? If you’re checking for sugar on the nutrition label but don’t read the ingredient list, it’s time to discover your sugar source. And, because we frequently have customers ask us about sugar and the role it plays in our cookies, we figured it was time to get to the bottom of the sugar myths once and for all.
What is Sugar?
Naturally found in different types of foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts, sugar has been in our diet for thousands of years. This sweet ingredient is a simple carbohydrate which supplies our body with energy. The body breaks down all sugars and starches into fructose and glucose molecules which help our major organs, muscles, and even our brain run smoothly. The human brain alone requires around 130 grams of glucose each day to cover basic energy needs!
But not all sugar is created equally. Most sugar that’s readily available in stores and supermarkets today has undergone extensive amounts of processing and is zapped of nutrients. Processed sugar, which is usually white in color, has been linked to various types of health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity (just to name a few.)
Here at PNW Cookie Co., one of the most significant ways we give our cookies a natural boost of sweetness is by opting for organic evaporated cane juice. A completely natural sweetener made from sugar cane, evaporated cane juice isn’t processed as much as other common sugars, such as table sugar, which allows it to carry more nutrients, like calcium, and vitamins A and B from the sugar cane plant. The juice from the sugar cane is filtered, evaporated into a syrup, then crystallized, and cured. Any liquid that’s left after the crystals are removed and dried is known as molasses. Because evaporated cane juice undergoes less processing than white sugar, it’s able to retain its natural rich amber color. It’s a common sweetener used in yogurts, snack bars, and (you guessed it)... Cookies!
The Difference Between Sugars (and why it matters to us)
Nutritionally, the two sweeteners aren’t radically different, but we strongly believe that organic cane juice is a better choice when used in moderation due in part to its limited processing and fewer calories. But there’s more to sugar than just satisfying your sweet tooth. If you’re a strict vegan and avoid eating or using products made from animals, evaporated sugar cane might just become one of your new favorite ingredients to look for.
While sugar is traditionally sourced from sugar beets and sugar cane, it’s actually a gray area ingredient for many vegans. Many sugar refineries use charred animal bones — known as bone char — as part of the filtration process to help decolorize sugar and give it a stark white color. Yup, that’s right: every year, millions of tons of cow bones (usually from countries like Africa, India, and the Middle East) are processed into bone char by being heated and refined to a powder-like substance which sugar manufacturers then use to whiten sugar. Therefore white sugar is usually not vegan. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the integrity and source of the ingredients is not to be overlooked. That’s why we specifically source our organic evaporated cane juice from companies that do not use bone char in their refinement process. It’s how we keep up with the highest vegan standards!
Is Sugar Really That Bad for Us?
Keeping relatively close tabs on how much sugar is in your diet can help you live a healthier lifestyle. But don’t let this get too overcomplicated. To us, having a healthy relationship with sugar isn’t about creating restrictions, it’s about tapping into the options we have available to us.
6 easy tips for having a healthy relationship with sugar:
Toss the table sugar and stick with unrefined sugar and molasses.
Stop drinking soda and grab a LaCroix or Spindrift instead.
- If you’ve got a big sweet tooth, integrate more fruits into your diet to get a boost of sugar in its most natural form.
Start reading the ingredient labels, not just the nutrition label, to make sure that when you do need a sweet treat, you’re getting the best sugars around.
Watch serving sizes. Eat half of one of our cookies at a time OR split one with a friend.
- And, for all you vegans out there, look for bone-char-free sugar.
The Final Verdict on Sugar
Here’s the thing: sugar is sugar! While our body loves the quick burst of energy associated with ingesting sugar, it doesn’t necessarily know how to determine where the sugar is coming from. Make smart choices when choosing sweets and keep an eye out for organic evaporated cane juice on the ingredients label. This ingredient is without a doubt a better option than consuming refined sugars, like corn syrup and table sugar, that are packed into candy bars, ice creams, big-name brand cookies, and other sweet treats.
It’s all of our responsibility to make sure that we stay on top of our own sugar intake. And when you’re reading the ingredients list looking for which type of sugar has been used, make sure to read the suggested serving size; all PNW Cookie Co. cookies are so big that they can easily be split between you and a friend.
Many people seem to assume that because a cookie is vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free, it should also have low sugar content, but that’s just not the case. At PNW Cookie Co., we believe that you should never have to compromise taste for health no matter your dietary restrictions. We stand behind the quality of our ingredients and know you’ll love them, too!
White, over processed table sugar is out for us, but here’s what you can expect to find with our cookies:
- 100% preservative-free
- Zero chemicals
- Wholesome, locally sourced ingredients
- That oddly satisfying crumbly texture
- Unforgettable flavors
- And 100% cookie monster approved!