Other than a simple dash of olive oil and lemon juice, Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette is, by far, my favorite salad dressing. Newman’s Own is a relatively decent brand compared to most, yet sugar still lurks in the ingredient list. I continue to use it with certain salads; it is a delicious dressing. It just confirms that sugar is being added to everything we eat. Like salt, sugar does enhance flavors, but not always. Sugar is added to compensate for the lack of fat in a “reduced fat” product, resulting in a new version with the same amount of calories as the original.
The process implemented to convert sugar cane into table sugar involves two main stages:
Milling Phase: The milling, washing, chipping and shredding of the sugar cane occurs and is then treated with an alkaline chemical to adjust the pH to 7. It is then clarified, centrifuged, concentrated under a vacuum and treated with sulfur dioxide to bleach the color-forming impurities resulting in a crystal sugar. This stage produces the popular natural crystals “Sugar in the Raw” that dissolve by the time your first born goes off to college.
Refining Phase: Raw sugar is then treated with phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide to precipitate the calcium phosphate. This stage removes any other discoloration. Then this white refined sugar is decolorized through active carbon. The sugar crystals are then centrifuged to separate the molasses in order to produce granulated sugar (table sugar).
The food industry uses sugar to capitalize on consumer ignorance. Just because a product uses sugar instead of HFCS does not make it “natural.” If you want something natural, skip the grocery store.
See you at the farmers’ market.