Salts and Sugars
Knowing what types of salts and sugars are the best for your health will help you to determine whether or not you are eating the right foods for you. When you cook you can use the right ingredients in order to create healthy meals for your family. Learning about salts and sugars can make a big difference in how you cook meals.
Refined table salt is the most widely used form, table salt is mostly composed of sodium chloride and undergoes an intense purification process that removes minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium, which are regarded as impurities. After chemical refining, bleaching, and re-crystallization, the salt is then fortified with anticaking additives and iodine, and sometimes fluoride, iron, and even folic acid.
While some people object to refined salt as being a highly processed substance, others argue that its additives are essential to addressing public health concerns, especially in the developing world. For example, iodized table salt has significantly reduced the incidence of goiter and thyroid problems worldwide since it was first introduced in the 1920s. People who eat a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet probably get enough iodine through their food choices alone.
Chemically identical to refined table salt, kosher salt has a much larger grain and was traditionally used for salt-curing meat. Some people prefer kosher salt to table salt because they find it gives more flavor for less salt when sprinkled on top of food.
White vs Brown Sugar
While you should generally limit your intake of both brown and white sugar, you may have heard that brown sugar is better for you. While brown sugar may contain slightly more essential nutrients than white sugar, it isn’t necessarily healthy.
What is Brown Sugar?
Brown sugar is simply white sugar mixed with molasses. Therefore, brown sugar can hold its shape like wet sand, while white sugar cannot. Raw sugar is also generally brown in color, and forms when the juice of sugar cane evaporates. However, many people refer to brown sugar as granulated white sugar with molasses added to it.
Molasses and brown sugar do contain more essential nutrients that white sugar, so choosing brown sugar over white is technically healthier. For example, a tablespoon of molasses is a good source of dietary potassium — and provides small amounts of calcium, magnesium and B vitamins. However, the amount of these essential nutrients you’d be getting from brown sugar is very small and won’t do much to meet your daily nutrient needs. Furthermore, just like white sugar, molasses and brown sugar are added sugars that should be limited in your diet as much as possible to avoid unwanted weight gain and increased chronic disease risks.