Is Evaporated Cane Juice Healthier than Sugar?

Evaporated Cane Juice Ingredient Label

Sugar is bad for you, and seeing it listed in a product’s ingredient’s list is a serious turn-off. That’s why food manufacturers like to use “healthier” ingredients, for example evaporated cane juice. It sounds much healthier than table sugar, but the sad truth is that evaporated cane juice is just a fancy word for sugar.

Several years ago, the FDA issued a toothless draft guidance on the matter. It acknowledged the fact that manufactures were using the term in a way that could mislead consumers, but did not take the extra step to stop them from doing so:

Over the past few years the term “evaporated cane juice” has started to appear as an ingredient on food labels, most commonly to declare the presence of sweeteners derived from sugar cane syrup. However, FDA’s current policy is that sweeteners derived from sugar cane syrup should not be declared as “evaporated cane juice” because that term falsely suggests that the sweeteners are juice…. FDA considers such representations to be false and misleading…because they fail to reveal the basic nature of the food and its characterizing properties (i.e., that the ingredients are sugars or syrups) as required by 21 CFR 102.5.

As a result, many companies have continued to use the term. Lawsuits by consumers have ensued, as FoodNavigator reports. Earlier this year, the FDA indicated that it may change its mind on the matter. In the meantime, consumers confusion continues to play to food companies’ advantage.

Evaporated cane juice is simply cane sugar. They contain the same amount of calories. Evaporated cane juice confers no additional nutrients or antioxidants.

There is one difference though. Evaporated cane juice is derived from sugar cane, not from beets. Approximately half the sugar supply in the US is from beets, and most of them are genetically modified. Sugar cane is not genetically modified. Manufacturers could easily state that they are using cane sugar, but again, cane juice sounds healthier.

  • Aria Gonzalez

    I have to admit, I don’t have much sympathy for people who think that evaporated can juice is anything but a fancy name for sugar. We have to learn to think…

    • ash

      While that may be true, I feel like we need to educate the masses. It is not always the individual’s fault for being ignorant of the facts. A lot of times these thoughts are formed because of rumors. It makes me sad that a lot of people are not exposed to the truth, and I wish a mass movement on educating everyone to eat healthier would take place. Too bad magic pills and binge diets sell best…
      With that being said, there comes a point where we need to take responsibility for our own choices and health. The resources are out there for people who care enough to look.

  • Nichole

    Sugar is not bad for you. Excessive sugar is bad for you. Our bodies need sugar to survive.

    • Veganic

      I agree, our cells run on sugar!

      • Francesco

        The body needs Glucose and sugar is sucrose and needs to be converted to Glucose. Sucrose is also an alkaline and once in the blood stream it lowers the acidity level causing damage and inflammation to tissues. Sounds bad to me.

  • H2O

    Well this is good to know because if I’m eating sugar I prefer real cane sugar vs GMO sugar. Leave it to the fraud and deception admin to not want to do anything to distinguish the difference.

  • Jeff

    Hemi – Cane sugar is not only non-GMO but requires less processing (largely a physical process rather than requiring chemical inputs), less energy and water to produce than white sugar along with less greenhouse gas emissions, and tastes more like sugar should because it retains much of its characteristic color, flavor and minerals.

    Either way we shouldn’t eat too much of it but wanted to provide this more holistic perspective.

  • The Doc

    The point that is being
    missed here by Fooducate is that corn sugar and beet sugar are GMOs unless
    purchased organic. Thus far sugar cane has not been produced in a
    genetically modified form. Those who are well educated with regard to
    GMOs know their dangers and avoid GMOs. For us, cane sugar is a better
    substitute. TO Nichole and Veganic: Our cells do NOT run on sugar; they
    run on ATP, which is preferentially made from glucose in our bodies. By
    glucose I do not mean only refined sugar. Glucose can be
    made from refined sugar, however in general it is made from
    carbohydrates. Refined sugar and starchy foods are high in carbohydrates,
    so a lot of glucose can be made from them. However, these tend to cause
    us to put on weight. Our bodies will not burn fat unless there are no
    carbohydrates available to burn, so we store more fat. Also, any calories
    that are consumed and not burned within 15 – 20 minutes will be stored as fat,
    so we gain weight. Refined sugar is NOT good for us and should not be
    consumed in large amounts. When we eat refined sugar we are eating EMPTY
    calories. This means either we are substituting high sugar foods for
    healthy foods and are malnourished or we are eating sugar in addition to the
    healthier foods and become fat. Both are very, very bad for our health.

  • xXxS@intDevilxXx

    Does it really matter what the sugar is called? We get enough glucose from carbohydrates we already consume. Extra sugar is just going to age you faster.

  • Dbakeca Italia

    A great well-balanced posting!

  • BBakeca

    This is good to know.