Refined Sugar 101

Hello friends!


Apparently someone thinks they’re a princess.

That’s right. He thinks he’s a princess. 


But what a cute princess he is.

And we can’t forget about Rude Rudy. Who actually isn’t as rude as the princess above ;)

Right, you’re here for the food pictures, aren’t you? I could easily become one of “those” dog owners :P

Speaking of which, The Princess busted into my room this morning without my realizing. I woke up at 8am spooning a poodle.

Essentially the two eggs + two pieces of ezekiel bread of yesterday, but dipped in the eggs and french toasted today.

The mandatory citrus. Scurvy watch!


Dipped into sugar-free syrup. I actually prefer table syrup to maple syrup for dipping. Not as rich.

Admittedly, the ezekiel was not ideal for french toast. I prefer fluffier breads for this. But it was still edible to say the least ;)

Declared it a rest day in order to make amends with my body. So I spent the morning catching up on blogs. Definitely not the type of Monday mornings I’m used to!

Natural sugar + peanut butter. Nomnom. There may have been a couple bites of Queen Elizabeth cake, but there is no photographic evidence to prove this.

Lunch was another gargantuan salad.

Massaged kale for the base, with some feta, tuna and watered down hummus for the dressing.


Have you tried watered down hummus as a dressing yet?? It’s ohsooogoooood.

Was out running errands in my hometown today (I technically grew up across the river from where my mom lives now). Population 16,000. Ran into half a dozen people I know in a span of 30 minutes. Oh, and I hung out in my dad’s office for a bit – we made plans to go to a spin class together this week!

Afternoon snack:

I need to make some homemade protein bars while I’m here – I’m missing them! This will make do in the meantime, a Kashi Seven Whole Grain Almond bar and four egg whites with Frank’s hot sauce. Egg whites make a really good snack!

I originally thought my mother was going to make dinner. We started talking about how to use up the chicken breasts and eggplant that were in the fridge. Then I said I’d get started on it because I was hungry. 45 minutes I was calling her upstairs to come eat while it was still hot. How did that happen?

She definitely weasled her way out of this one.

I chopped up the chicken breasts and fried them in one tablespoon olive oil, with some onions, mushrooms, green pepper and garlic.

I then added that to a pot with a can of diced tomatoes and tomato soup, with the chopped eggplant, few pinches of basil, few shakes of hot sauce and a few cranks of the pepper grinder. Served on top of whole wheat egg white noodles.

My mother also took the pretty bowl. Thanks mom ;)


Refined Sugar 101

As I mentioned yesterday, I wanted to elaborate on refined sugars, what they are, and why I want to cut back the amount in my diet. It’s no secret I have a rabid sweet tooth. I can, and have, eaten sweets until I feel sick. I’m hoping by cutting back on refined sugars in particular, I can train my palette not to crave it, and hopefully do my body some good!

Refined sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beets. The refining process begins by extracting the sucrose through a number of cycles including boiling, putting through a centrifuge and filtering. The result is called “raw sugar,” contains 95% sucrose, and sold as turbinado sugar (the larger, brownish crystals).

Table sugar is raw sugar usually bleached with lime or carbon dioxide. Water is then added and it is further whitened by being put through an animal char filter, which also removes any leftover minerals, further refining it to a near complete sucrose state. Bone char by the way, is charred animal bones, and also often used to remove heavy metals from water. This is also why strict vegans don’t eat white sugar or salt (and why I didn’t when I was vegan).

Table sugar is about 99.9% sucrose, and contains virtually no vitamins or minerals for its high calorie content. It’s high on the glycemic index, meaning it quickly affects your blood sugar levels and your body’s reaction to regulate them.

Molasses is the by-product of the second extraction of the refining process, and blackstrap molasses is the by-product of the third extraction. Brown sugar is simply table sugar with added molasses, and powdered sugar is pulverized table sugar.

Some terms you may want to know:

Saccharose – aka sucrose
Oligosaccharides – short-chain carbohydrates found in things like beans and onions. Not very sweet.
Glucose – a sugar found in many plants, as well as in blood. Sweeter than sucrose.
Fructose – sugar in mostly fruits and honey, almost twice as sweet as sucrose.
Dextrose – another term for glucose
Lactose – the sugar found in milk
Maltose – the sugar found in malt and beer
Palm sugar – the saccharose/sucrose from dates

So, I’m attempting to get my sugars from real foods and using things like maple syrup and honey which are sugar solutions made with water. I also use stevia, which is a whole other post!!

As always, read the ingredients labels to see what foods have sugar, and what kind of sugar it is. It has a funny way of sneaking into diets ;)



Pssst… don’t forget! I’m giving away a waffle maker!!

Posted on May 10, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. Wow that’s a lot of stuff I didn’t know about my addiction to sugar!
    Nice dinner you made tonight. Your mother derserves an extra day doesn’t she?

  2. I’ve gotten so I just think of sugar as sugar anymore. The small amount of nutrients one gets from something like molasses or honey is negligible unless you eat a lot of it (and that isn’t so good, either! LOL).

    It’s the stuff made from the sugar in cahoots with the white flour and stuff that make it so darn addicting!

    And hey – go with that inner pet picture poster that is coming out :D

  3. Great tips on refined sugars – I’ve been trying to use maple syrup and honey more lately as well, actually.

    Also, how do you do the massaged kale thing? I hear it talked about all over the blog world – but I have no idea what it means… lol :P

    • Haha, massaged kale is just that! Kale is a naturally stiff green that is usually wilted through cooking. But you can also soften it up by massaging, or working it with your hands. It’s really good!

  4. I <3 the pup pictures! :D Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to have a date stuffed with peanut butter! ;-)

  5. Egg whites and Franks Red Hot = perfect combo. I have tried to cut back on refined sugars a bit, and have found that my insatiable sweet tooth isn’t so bad any more. It’s partly because sugary desserts often go along with milk which upsets my stomach which can help convince me not to grab the extra cookie or slice of cake!

  6. I love that you have become one of “those” dog owners! I just returned home yesterday after completing a semester at school and already have what feels like hundreds of pictures of my puppies!
    Haha I did not wake up spooning a poodle, but the idea of that is hysterical!

  7. i lurv using hummus as a dressing! i always use apple cider vinegar to water it down :)

    mmm you make me want some eggs for bfast now! haha maybe lunch? love your pupperoon girlfran!

  8. agreed about ezekiel not being ideal for FT. with that said, your FT still looks epic! i love how eggy it is! and i am SO into you becoming a crazy dog lady! you know i love the poochie pics! love watered down hummus dressing but i always add mustard (spicy mustard) for a kick! that soup you whipped up looks awesome. i love egg noodles. and i love cooking for my mom :)

    yay for the refined sugar info! i did learn a few new terms so thank you for that!

    LOVE YA LOTS! and i LOVE that dang cup holder! thanks so much. i take it everywhere, and then make marshall take my photo.. haha.

  9. I had frozen yogurt for dinner tonight. With yogurt chips. Yeah…I clearly need to work on the sugar thing…starting tomorrow….

  10. Madeline - Greens and Jeans

    I actually said “awww” out loud at some of those puppy pictures!

  11. love the sugar info. doesnt mean i will be giving up table sugar in my coffee or anything :) i can drink coffee sweeter than anyone i know and i happen to love it like that!
    Stevia. yes, it’s own post LOL


  12. Susan, what are your thoughts on agave nectar? I’ve heard both side of the coins about it. Confusing, for sure!

    • Yes, I’ve heard conflicting things on agave too. I personally don’t care for the taste of it, so I don’t use it. But I suppose it’s a good alternative to honey for vegans. Moderation being the key thing (which, doesn’t always happen when sugar is involved ;) )

  13. I’ve never tried the watered down humus you eat but I’m pretty sure I’m gonna!! x

  14. Mmm watered down hummus as a dressing sounds awesome, thanks for the tip!

    This is a great, informative post! I have obviously had all this shtuff banged into my head during nutrition, but for the average person, SO many people don’t know the diference between processed sugars (aka BAD sugars in my book) and unrefined (aka GOOD sugars in my book)! The terms are tricky for sure. Great post :D


  15. Hey Susan!
    I’ve been dealing with horrible stomach problems over the past few notes, and was told by my family doctor that it was “simply IBS(irritable bowel syndrome)” and i’d have to live with it. Then I found a naturopath who did some blood tests to see what foods it was I’m not digesting….and I got the results yesterday!
    Dairy and REFINED sugars.
    The refined sugar thing is soooo annoying, because it’s in all my favourite things! (D’oh!)

    • Hahaha, dairy and refined sugar is exactly what I gave up this month!! Definitely struggling with the refined sugar thing the most. In my opinion, GPs are too quick to diagnose digestive issues as IBS. There’s usually A LOT more to it. But that’s a whole other post too ;)

  16. I love your experiments Susan! I actually quit oats a month ago and my stomach problems have vanished :( I miss them but not the upchucking feeling they gave me. I had 2 TJ”s pb pretzels last week and BAM…woke up the next day all gassy. I think I have a reaction to flours etc. Dr. says it’s IBS. Whatever dude.

  17. I’ll be sad when the poochie pics are gone!
    Thanks for all the info on sugars. It can get pretty confusing especially with all the ones that have more than one term for one meaning. Yikes.
    I try to eliminate most refiend sugars as well. Not good for the ol’ spike and crash of blood sugar.

  18. Totally not a veggie but the whole charred animal bones thing makes me really glad I’m stuck on sugar in the raw! lol!

    Love the pup pics. So funny to wake up spooning a poodle. You can’t sleep with my dog because if you so much as move a toe he gets mad and jumps down making a really funny annoyed snort! My cat will spoon though!

  19. I definitely need to cut back on refined sugars too (says the girl who just ate cookies ahaha).
    Interesting info, thanks for sharing Susan! :)

  20. heck yeah that pasta bowl looks DELICIOUS. Sugar is a hard hard habit to break. Ive been consuming more sugar lately, prob should cut back, Im hoping it just happens naturally :)

  21. LOVE using hummus as a dressing!

    I also try to limit refined sugars, relying as much as possible on maple syrup, honey, and stevia. I’ve also recently started using Sucanat as a sub for brown sugar. Do you have any thoughts on this? My understanding is that it’s basically just pure dried cane juice.

    • Yes! I actually really like the taste of sucanat and used it when I was vegan. It is pretty much unrefined cane sugar, and straight cane sugar is sooo good. It’s really expensive though. I wasn’t as good of a baker back in my vegan days either, but I found the cookies I made with it always turned out a little harder, but they also lacked butter and eggs ;)

  22. I use real sugar (table sugar), agave nectar, and syrup (store bought or if I want to spend money I get the good pure maple syrup) I honestly do not get caught up in the whole processed sugar thing…the body will process it all as one thing: sugar!

    Stevia to me tastes too chemically…

  23. Super interesting and useful post Susan! I did not know about this charring process and am kind of disgusted! Knowledge = power and a side of disappointment!

  24. Hehe…my mom does the same thing. “Oh, honey- can you get started on dinner while I change my clothes?” An hour later, dinner is cooked and my mom appears. Gotta love it.

    Interesting stuff about sugar- I eat a ton of artificial sweeteners and am trying to cut back to retrain my palette. Oddly, I find real sugar (things like dates, Lara bars, etc) far too sweet. Yet I add upwards of 15 sweeteners to a cup of coffee. I think I have grown to love the chemical taste…

  25. I’ve always wanted to try kale but never had any courage to do it yet. Maybe one of these days :)

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