Rapadura Sugar: Why indulging in sweets doesn’t mean you have to skimp on nutrition

Whilst I encourage everyone to consume sugar sparingly, if you decide to indulge in a little sugar every now and then (like our delicious healthy hot chocolate featured in our winter cookbook), there are a number of alternatives that will trump the heavily processed and oh so dangerous white powder lurking in your pantry. My favourite? Rapadura Sugar.

Rapadura Sugar is extracted from the sugar cane plant by first pressing out the juice of sugar cane. The water of the juice is then evaporated over low heat before the remaining crystals are ground to produce the final product. That’s it. Clean and simple.

The most distinctive health benefit of Rapadura sugar, and what sets it apart from all other types of sugar, lies in its nutritional content. Because Rapadura is not separated from the molasses, the vitamins and minerals have been retained. As such, Rapadura contains Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphate, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Zinc and more importantly, Iron. It also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, C, D2, E and PP.

Naturally dark in colour, Rapadura sugar has a slight caramel flavor. Simply substitute rapadura for any other sugar on a 1:1 basis. It is available from all good health food stores – search for the organic variety. 

Some information on other sugars:

How Raw Sugar is Made:

  1. Sugar cane is pressed and mixed with lime
  2. The liquid is reduced through evaporation, then the crystals are spun in a centrifuge to separate. It is then left out to dry

As you can see, ‘raw’ sugar isn’t really raw. It is just slightly less refined than white sugar, so it retains some of the molasses.  Unlike table sugar, it contains minerals, but only trace amounts, nothing special.

How White Sugar is made:

  1. Same as above, but then Sulphur Dioxide is commonly used to bleach the sugar.
  2. Later, phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide are used to absorb impurities. This is then filtered through a bed of carbon.
  3. What remains is then crystalized in a vacuum, several times. Before being left out to dry.There is no nutritional benefit to white sugar. However there are a number of health concerns associated with its consumption.

Brown Sugar:

Brown sugar is just white sugar mixed with molasses. A no go for me! 


  1. Gina Hughes

    Hi Alyse … i just want to let you know just how much i enjoy your newsletters … i don’t know if you are aware of Jude Blereau from Perth, but i am just about to embark on her 3 month full time course called Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Course and Jude shares the exact same values at you do … i am getting so much out of your newsletters … thank you for your efforts … they are very much appreciated … x Gina

  2. Alyse

    Hi Gina,

    Thanks so much for your kind words! That means a lot!

    Jude is a such a beautiful woman who knows whole food inside out. I admire her work and had the privilege of meeting her only a few months back on her last tour. You will be in great hands! I am even a little envious 🙂 Enjoy! xxxx

  3. Maria Norden

    Would this sugar be ok for someone who has fructose malabsorption?

  4. Alyse

    Hi Nadia,
    It is still sugar therefore I wouldn’t recommended it.

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Meet Alyse

I’m a qualified Nutritionist who believes an evidence-based approach to modern nutrition is severely under-rated. Patients are so often left in the dark when it comes to health-care and as a firm believer in the old saying “knowledge is power”, my ultimate goal is to provide my readers, students and patients with clear and actionable advice that ultimately helps you reach your full potential.