Are there actual sugarcane juice benefits? Some…

You’ve probably seen old plantations of sugarcane on your travels. That’s expected considering cane is the single largest crop produced worldwide. And there are large plantations in Asia, Brazil and here in the Caribbean.

The tall sugarcane grasses are harvested and their stalks are crushed to make sugarcane juice, which is then processed and refined to make brown sugar, molasses, and white cane sugar.

Who wants refined sugar when you can get the real deal? Pure sugarcane juice! Yum! The juice tastes super sweet and slightly earthy.

Sugarcane Juice in Glasses
 

Sugarcane Juice Calories and Nutrition

Sugarcane juice has 80% water and 20% dissolved solids. Among these solids, sucrose dominates at 17%. Glucose (0.4%), fructose (0.2%), organic acids (like malic and aconitic acid), and minerals like potassium are also present in the juice1.

The USDA Food Data notes 100 mL of sugarcane juice has 49 Calories due to its sugar content (roughly 8.3 grams). 100 mL also has low levels of potassium (5% Daily Value) and magnesium (3%); and even lower levels of iron and calcium.

The juice is also rich in phytochemicals. The most common ones are flavones like naringenin, apigenin, tricin and luteolin. These are important antioxidants that add to the sugarcane juice benefits.

 

Sugarcane Juice Benefits

1. Sugarcane Juice = Instant Energy

Forget fancy commercials for energy drinks. Ditch the soda. Get sugarcane juice!

The high sucrose content in the juice makes it an excellent NATURAL source of immediate sugar and energy. The juice is perfect when you feel fatigue and low energy or when your blood sugar drops suddenly. It’s also good for hypoglycemic patients and athletes recovering from rigorous exercise.

2. It is not acidic

The juice is low acidity since it has so much water (80%) and has very low levels of organic acids (like malic and aconitic acid).

The pH of sugarcane juice varies from 5.2 to 6.82. Compare that to apple juice (pH: 3 to 4.53) and orange juice (pH: around 3.5). 

So sugarcane juice makes a great low-acidic drink in place of soda and other common juices.

3. It has antioxidant potential

There are several lab studies that report on these sugarcane juice benefits.

Four types of tests were used in this 2008 study. The results found the juice had good antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. A 2007 study found derivatives of tricin (the flavone) had anti-proliferative activity against human cancer cells.

Of course, these are lab studies and not human clinical ones. So it is not confirmed if these antioxidant and anti-proliferative benefits would occur in the human body. But, there is potential.

4. Animal studies show good results

A number of animal studies done on mice, chickens, and pigs suggest sugarcane juice has possible anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, blood sugar lowering, and liver-protecting benefits4 and 5.

This 2019 study even found sugarcane juice improved the HDL (good cholesterol) levels in mice and decreased their triglyceride levels.

Again, these aren’t clinical studies. So it is uncertain if you can get these benefits by drinking the juice.

5. It has been used for centuries

Sugarcane juice is widely used in traditional Ayurvedic and Unani medicine. The juice is used to treat jaundice, liver problems, and urinary diseases. It is also considered useful for fatigue, thirst, anemia, and ulcers6.

 

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Sugarcane Juice Benefits
 

Caution when Using Sugarcane Juice

There are a couple things you should know before buying sugarcane juice.

Make sure the sugarcane is washed thoroughly before being crushed. And ensure your juice is produced in proper hygienic conditions. This is important since microbes and harmful pathogens can enter your drink.

After production, the juice oxidizes quickly and can darken within minutes. It can spoil within six hours. So it is important to drink it quickly or refrigerate as soon as possible. The juice can stay two to three days in the fridge; but up to a month in the freezer.

Finally, you may come across the term evaporated cane juice. Some manufacturers have started using the term as an alternative to listing sugar in their ingredients. It’s a marketing ploy.

The USFDA even issued guidance on the use of the term:

“The FDA’s view is that the term “evaporated cane juice” is false or misleading because it suggests that the sweetener is fruit or vegetable juice or is made from fruit or vegetable juice, and does not reveal that the ingredient’s basic nature and characterizing properties are those of a sugar…

The guidance recommends that ingredients currently labeled as “evaporated cane juice” be relabeled to use the term “sugar,” optionally accompanied by a truthful, non-misleading descriptor to distinguish the ingredient from other cane-based sweeteners.”

 

Bonus: How Sugar is Made

You’re going to like this video. It explains the process of making sugar: from harvesting to using additives to get that familiar white table sugar.

It is a bit unnerving to see just how much chemicals are added. Yikes!

 

Liked this post? Then check out this one: Watermelon Benefits? There are Some. The Rest are Overstated.