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You Ask, I Answer: Evaporated Cane Juice

Posted Aug 25 2008 6:55pm
It seems like a lot of organic products use evaporated cane juice instead of sugar. Why is this?

Since it's evaporated, does that mean it has less calories than [standard table] sugar?

-- Chris Steward

Portland, OR

There are two reasons I attribute to the use of evaporated cane juice in food products -- marketing and veganism.

Despite the fact that all forms of sugar are calorically equal (one teaspoon, or four grams' worth, equal 16 calories), many people erroneously think less-processed varieties -- such as evaporated cane juice -- are healthier, lower in sugar, or lower in calories.

It's not surprising, then, to see such ingredients in products sold at higher-end stores like Whole Foods or smaller boutique supermarkets.

Food companies, regardless of their size, ultimately want -- and need -- to make profit.

Someone who normally would not buy conventional cookies (i.e.: Chips Ahoy) might be tempted to pick up a box of chocolate chip ones made with evaporated cane juice, stoneground wheat flour, and hemp seeds.

They are essentially getting the same sugar and white flour. The alternative names and addition of a funky seed is nothing more than clever marketing.

Many vegans specifically seek out less-processed forms of sugar
since, unlike with standard table sugar, the production process skips the step of filtration (via animal bone char).

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