It may sound completely ridiculous at first, but sugarcane juice is actually good for you. Though it is comprised purely of sugar, it is comprised of the right sugar; that is unrefined sugar. The juice is most widely consumed in Brazil, India and South East Asia, though today some 200 countries cultivate the crop. Sugarcane juice has a profound presence in the cultures and gastronomic histories of these regions; a primary indication that there must be something more than a sweet taste to this beverage that has kept it in the diet of variant cultures for so long.
What is Sugarcane Juice
Sugarcane is a field crop, and to many unaware of its identity, its appearance is remarkably that of tall field grass. It is a grass, though upon closer examination of the sugarcane stalk, it appears more in common with that of bamboo: thick and tough. The difference, however, from bamboo is that it contains---you guessed it---sugar. Though not the white powdery substance as we know it, but rather raw sugar. Juice can be extracted from the stalk by sucking or chewing on an exposed end, though for quantity extraction, the cane must be pressed through a machine; an industrial juicer if you will.
Refined Versus Raw Sugar
Sugarcane juice is sugar in its basic form: raw. Raw sugar is naturally good for the body, as it contains nutrients and minerals. These are visible by natural brown tint and notably larger size of the crystal. Refined sugar has been stripped of the nutrients and minerals, therefore a process similar to the "bleaching" process of wheat flour. Refined sugar is pure carbohydrate and contains no other nutritional value, and during the refinement picks up unnatural chemicals such as phosphoric acid, sulphur dioxide and formic acid.
As raw sugar contains no simple sugars, sugarcane juice has a relatively low glycemic index (the effect a carbohydrate has on blood glucose levels), which keeps the body's metabolism healthy and helps maintain a healthy body weight. Roughly one teaspoon of raw sugar contains only eleven calories. The natural minerals and vitamins found in sugarcane are exceedingly valuable. Phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. Sugarcane is an alkalising substance, and therefore is beneficial at fighting cancer. Studies have shown that it has proven an effective at fighting prostate and breast cancer cells. Furthermore, it is exceptionally beneficial for rehydration as it not only cools the body but also energises with a high quantity of useful carbohydrates and protein. The nutrients found in sugarcane are beneficial to inner organ functioning, including the kidneys, heart, brain and sex organs.
Sugarcane and Diabetes
As it contains no simple sugars, sugarcane can be enjoyed by diabetics without worry. In diabetic and weight loss experimentation, the replacing of raw sugarcane juice for refined sugar and other sweeteners has shown positive results not only in stable glucose levels, but also in weight loss.
If possible, sugarcane juice is best enjoyed by sucking it from a raw stalk, or purchasing it freshly pressed from a vendor. If geographical location inhibits either, then there are a few commercial raw sugarcane juice products available, such as Raw Cane Superjuice. For an alternative flavour, sugarcane juice can be spiced up with lemon, ginger or coconut water.