White sugar (also called table sugar)
To make sugar, machines are used: sugar cane (or sugar beet) is initially pressed and the juice is then mixed with lime to achieve the desired ph balance and to help settle out impurities. Reduction of this solution through evaporation produces a solid mass that is passed through centrifuge to get sugar crystals. It is then dried further to produce granules. This sugar is light brown in color and is termed raw sugar. The brown color of raw sugar is due to presence of molasses. Raw sugar is the most natural sugar you can hope to lay your hands on.
Do not confuse raw sugar with brown sugar. Brown sugar is simply refined white sugar with a molasses syrup mixed in, then dried again.
What is the difference between raw sugar and white sugar?
To make white sugar, sulfur dioxide is added to cane juice before it gets evaporated. This gas does the bleaching of the juice so that it does not turn brown and produces white sugar. At later stages, phosphoric acid, calcium hydroxide or carbon dioxide is added to absorb impurities. This juice is then filtered through a bed of carbon and then crystallized in a vacuum many times. Finally the crystals are left to dry on their own to get paper white crystals of sugar.
Is raw sugar better?
- Environmentally speaking, the less processing required means the less energy used, less waste products and fewer chemicals: raw sugar is the more earth friendly option and brown sugar oddly enough is the worst choice.
- As brown sugar contains some amount of water, it has a slightly lower caloric value by weight than white sugar: calorific value per teaspoon is 11 kcal for raw sugar, 16 kcal for white sugar.
- Because of the presence of molasses in raw sugar, it has a distinct flavor that is missing in white sugar.