Common uses of sugar cane
sugar cane (saccharum) the plants are two to six meters tall and have robust, jointed and fibrous stems. These stems are rich in sucrose which accumulates in the internodes of the stem. Sugarcane represents 79% of the sugar produced worldwide. About 70% of the sugar produced comes from sugar factory and their hybrids. All sugarcane species can be crossed, and the main commercial cultivars are complex hybrids.
- Sucrose, commonly known as table sugar, is extracted from sugar cane in specialized mills.
- It is also processed to make cane sugar, brown sugar, molasses and jaggery.
- It is also fermented to produce ethanol.
- It is used to make rum. In Brazil it is fermented and used to make a liquor called cachaça.
- In some regions, people use sugarcane stalks to make pens, mats, screens and thatch.
- In some places in Southeast Asia, the young, unexpanded flower head eat sugar (stagnant) is eaten raw, steamed or roasted, and prepared in a variety of ways.
- The plant is also grown for biofuel production
- It is used to produce a juice that is considered very good for combating dehydration.
Nutrition facts about sugar cane
Close principles and dietary fiber:
- Moisture (Water) – 85.54 ± 0.99 g
- Protein (PROTCNT) – 0.16 ± 0.03 g
- Ash – 0.23 ± 0.02 g
- Total fat (FATCE) – 0.40 ± 0.05 g
- Dietary fiber- Total – 0.56 ± 0.09 g
- Insoluble fiber – 0.40 ± 0.05 g
- Soluble fiber – 0.16 ± 0.05 g
- Carbohydrates – 13.11 ± 0.93 g
- Energy – 242 ± 18 KJ
Starch and individual sugars:
- Total available CHO – 12.85 ± 0.80 g
- Fructose – 0.55 ± 0.22 g
- Glucose – 2.27 ± 0.49 g
- Sucrose – 10.03 ± 0.33 g
- Total free sugars – 12.85 ± 0.80 g
- Citric acid – 3.55 ± 1.01 mg
- Malic acid – 2.04 ± 0.49 mg
- Quinic acid – 132 ± 6.2 mg
- Succinic acid – 459 ± 5.4 mg
Is sugarcane healthy for diabetes?
A 1-cup (240 ml) serving provides:
- Calories: 183
- Protein: 0 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Sugar: 50 grams
- Fiber: 0-13 grams
Just 1 cup (240 ml) contains a whopping 50 grams of sugar. This equates to almost 12 teaspoons. According to Harvard studies, most adult women should consume no more than 100 calories a day, which is about six teaspoons or 24 grams of added sugar. At the same time, most men should consume no more than 150 calories a day of added sugar. That’s about nine teaspoons or 36 grams. This is also the amount recommended by the American Heart Association.
Sugar cane juice has up to 13 grams of fiber per cup (240 ml).
Sugar is a carbohydrate that the body breaks down into glucose. Certain foods and drinks high in carbohydrates can raise blood sugar excessively, which is obviously not ideal for people with diabetes. Therefore, people with diabetes must carefully monitor their sugar intake.
Although sugarcane juice has a low glycemic index (GI), it still has a high glycemic load (GL). This means it would have a disproportionate impact on blood sugar levels. The GI measures how quickly a food or drink raises blood sugar. However, GL measures the total amount of blood sugar rise. Thus, GL provides a more accurate picture of the effects of sugar cane juice on blood sugar levels.
So, is it advisable for diabetics to consume sugarcane?
Like most foods that have a lot of sugar, it is not recommended to eat sugar cane or drink the juice if someone has diabetes. The massive amount of sugar present in it could raise blood sugar levels drastically.
Some test-tube studies on sugarcane extract suggest that it contains polyphenol antioxidants that may help the pancreas produce more insulin, which is the hormone that regulates blood sugar. However, this research is preliminary. It cannot be assumed that it is okay for diabetics to consume sugarcane according to this research.
Sugarcane juice is nutritious and provides instant energy and iron. That doesn’t really make it a diabetic-friendly drink. However, it is a great substitute for packaged juices. It can be especially beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes if they experience hypoglycemia.
People with diabetes can benefit greatly from consuming sugar cane or sugar cane juice if their blood sugar suddenly drops, meaning they feel hypoglycemic. People with type 2 diabetes are prone to hypoglycemia, especially if they don’t consume enough calories after taking insulin. Sugarcane juice can be very beneficial in such cases.
It is important to note that although it is not as bad as manufactured or artificial sugar, moderation is the key when consuming sugar cane or its juice.
Depending on the severity of diabetes, it is recommended that diabetic patients consume sugarcane pieces instead of juice. The maximum benefits and fiber can be extracted in the form of pieces without even having to consume large amounts.
Risks of excessive consumption of sugar cane
It is well known that excess of anything is bad. Similarly, excessive consumption of sugarcane can also have adverse health effects.
- Sugar cane contains policosanol which causes insomnia, indigestion, dizziness and headaches, and weight loss.
- Sugar cane oxidizes very quickly. Consuming oxidized sugar cane can cause food poisoning.
- Sugar cane causes blood thinning. If someone is taking blood thinners, consuming sugar cane can cause complications.
Other health benefits of sugar cane
- Due to the high amount of sugar, sugarcane juice is excellent for hydrating the body and being an energy booster for patients who do not have diabetes.
- The calcium and phosphorus present in sugar cane help overcome deficiencies and tooth decay.
- It can reduce fatigue and prevent illnesses such as urinary tract infections, constipation or stomach infections.
- According to Ayurveda, the antioxidants in sugarcane juice treat jaundice and boost the immune system.
- Mixing it with aloe vera gel to make a face mask can reduce acne and make your skin more radiant.
Drinks for diabetes with sugar cane juice
Although it is best to consume natural sweeteners occasionally and in moderation, sugar cane juice can be consumed even with diabetes. A couple of simple healthy recipes are:
Sugar cane and ginger ice cream mocktail – 2 servings
- Ginger juice: ⅓ tablespoon
- Sugar cane juice: 1 ⅔ cup
- Powdered sugar: 1 tablespoon
- Lemon juice: ⅛ tablespoon
- Black salt: ⅛ teaspoon
- Combine all the ingredients in a jar/bowl and mix well. Make sure there are no salt particles or lumps.
- Pour the mixture into a mold to freeze.
- Freeze the mixture for 2-3 hours.
- Now, blend your frozen juice in a blender until smooth.
- Enjoy your homemade frozen mocktail!
Tropical sugar cane-coconut mocktail-2 servings
- Sugar cane juice: 2 ½ cups
- Black salt: ½ teaspoon
- Coconut water: 1 ½ cups
- Mint: 2-4 leaves
- Lemon slices: 1 (optional)
- Take sugarcane juice and coconut water in any sealed jar and shake well.
- Store in the fridge and let it cool.
- Add black salt to the mixture and mix well.
- Pour the mocktail into the glasses and add mint leaves and lemon slices.
- Your summer mocktail is ready; serve it fresh.