We’ve all seen the ingredient ‘evaporated cane juice’ at least once (….more like hundreds of times) on our food labels. It’s typically placed in products which are marketed off as healthier or less refined, i.e. various soy milks, yogurt, ‘healthy’ granola bars. But what does this ‘evaporated cane juice’ really entail? With the basics of nutrition down, we can deduce it’s a type of sugar. Is it healthier? The short of it is, no, not really.
Many companies are currently under fire for placing this misleading ingredient label on their products, which leads consumers to think there’s less added sugar in the product. When it comes down to it, evaporated cane juice is not much different than typical table sugar. Chemically speaking, it’s extremely close to table sugar. The only difference being is that it’s less refined (read: easier to make). It has the same basic nutritional values as white sugar: it’s a basic carb with minor traces of nutrients such as vitamin A, C and calcium. At the end of the day, it’s still an ’empty calorie’ that should be consumed in moderation. The evaporated cane juice is refined just like table sugar with a step or two missing along the way, as a result, it does not contain the natural enzymes unrefined sugar has.
The FDA is currently strongly encouraging companies to cease use of the label ECJ and switch to simply putting down cane sugar while they deliberate further regulation of food labeling procedures. Until then, every time you see evaporated cane juice on the label, keep in mind that it’s just simple sugar.