Is Brown Rice Syrup Better than Sugar? Part 2

I answered part of the following question in my last post:


I fastidiously read labels to avoid corn syrup (and glucose syrup if I can). At home, often use alternate sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and agave nectar but wondering if rice syrup is that much better than corn syrup or liquid sugar as it seems to crop up a lot in processed foods at health food shops. At home in England, we buy sugar free (sweetened with juice) and whole grain ‘snacks’ for the kids but the best in Canada we could find was bars where the second ingredient was organic brown rice syrup. So just wondering…

But my answer left you annoyed and still wondering:

Question, Part 2:

If higher intake of added sugars is associated with higher energy intake and lower diet quality, which can increase the risk for obesity, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, why not just eliminate sugar?

Answer, Part 2:

So here’s the thing. Sugar (in it’s various forms) has important functions in food. It’s not just there to satisfy your sweet tooth. Sugar also functions to:

  • Preserve food. Sugar can act as a preservative by binding to water to inhibit microbial growth in jams and jellies.
  • Ferment. Wines, beers, cheeses, yogurts, and yeast breads rely on sugar’s ability to be fermented.
  • Contribute to texture. The texture of many processed or prepared foods such as baked goods and preserved fruits rely on sugar. 
  • Contribute to volume. Sugar contributes volume and creamy consistency to ice cream and other frozen desserts.
  • Absorb water. The ability of sugar to hold water is partly responsible for the moistness and texture of baked goods.
  • Caramelize. Caramelization results from heating sugars and results in foods that are less sweet but more flavorful than the original. Caramelization is used in candies, puddings, frostings, ice cream toppings, and dessert sauces.
  • Crystallize. The ability of sugar to crystallize or not is vital in candy manufacturing. Crystalline candies include chocolates, creams, fudge, fondant, nougats, marshmallows, and pralines. Non-crystalline candies include caramel, toffee, taffy, jelly beans, and gummy bears. 
  • Dissolve. The solubility of a sweetener influences the perceived mouthfeel and texture of a food or beverage.
  • Balance acidity. Sugar balances the acidity in salad dressings, sauces, and condiments. It also decreases perceived bitterness when added to coffee.

In my next post, I’ll talk about each of the sweeteners mentioned in the original question and hopefully get a little bit closer to the answer you’re looking for.

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  1. Is Brown Rice Syrup Better than Sugar? Part 3 « ProjectEatMe
  2. Is Brown Rice Syrup Better than Sugar? Part 4 « ProjectEatMe

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