Sugar and health[edit | edit source]
Too much sugar in a diet can cause tooth decay. Sugar including honey can also increase the risk of many diseases including obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.  Health experts are concerned about the health effects of sugar in western diets. Experts disagree about the upper limit of how much sugar we should consume but there is general agreement that we should limit how much sugar we eat. Many other foods such as products made from refined wheat make it hard for the body to control blood sugar as does sugar itself. 
"Action on Sugar" in the UK recommends a woman should eat at most 50g (1.7oz) of added sugar per day. men should eat at most 70g (2.5oz). The American Heart Association advises men to eat at most 36 grams of sugar per day, and women at most 20. 
You shouldn't feel too much discouraged if you can't keep within recommended limits all the time, most of us are tempted by cakes, sweet biscuits and the like. The closer you get to a fully healthy diet the better it will be for you.
About sugar[edit | edit source]
Sugar is a sweetener that is most often made from processed sugar cane and sugar beets. Also referred to by its chemical name, sucrose, sugar is produced in many different forms such as granulated or white sugar, which have been highly refined and are most commonly used as a table sweetener or as a baking ingredient. When a recipe specifies sugar, it is best to use the granulated white sugar. Sugar is available in different textures, such as super-fine, confectioner's or powdered sugar, decorating or coarse, and brown sugar. Other forms of sugar include maple sugar, sorghum, fructose, glucose, lactose, and maltose. Sugar is used most often as a sweetener, but it can be useful for other purposes including to make dough tender and to add stability to mixtures, such as meringue.
Granulated sugar[edit | edit source]
Granulated sugar is beet or cane sugar which has been processed, allowed to crystallize, and then dried so that the crystals do not clump together. Many people think of granulated sugar when they hear the word “sugar,” and this form of sugar is readily available in most markets. Recipes which call for sugar without specifying the type of sugar usually mean granulated sugar. Refined sugar just tastes sweet and in many refipes sweetners can be substituted.
Confectioner's sugar[edit | edit source]
A number of desserts and sweets do not look complete without a final dusting of confectioner's sugar, also known as "powdered sugar" or "icing sugar". Confectioner's sugar is actually granulated sugar which has been mechanically ground into a very fine powder. This powdered form of sugar is commonly used to make cake frostings, sugar glazes, dessert sauces and decorative icings. Confectioner's sugar is also used to provide additional sweetness to fried donuts, funnel cakes and beignets.
One possibility may be to use artificial sweetner in a baked product and give a final dusting of confectioner's sugar. That way you get a product that looks and feels like a standard sugary product but with much less sugar. I do not speciaslise in baking and have not tried this, cooks who are experienced with baking may like to experiment.
Caster sugar[edit | edit source]
Caster sugar is superfine sugar, favored for sweetening drinks or preparing meringue. Caster sugar is the name of a very fine sugar in Britain, so named because the grains are small enough to fit though a sugar "caster" or sprinkler. It is sold as "superfine" sugar in the United States.
Because of its fineness, it dissolves more quickly than regular white sugar, and so is especially useful in meringues and cold liquids. It is not as fine as confectioner’s sugar, which has been crushed mechanically (and generally mixed with a little starch to keep it from clumping).
If you don’t have any caster sugar on hand, you can make your own by grinding granulated sugar for a couple of minutes in a food processor (this also produces sugar dust, so let it settle for a few moments before opening the food processor).
If you use caster sugar on, for example a breakfast cereal all the sugar dissolves so you get all the sweetness. If you use granulated sugar of some types of brown sugar with large crystals all the sugar may not dissolve before you eat it. You do not get all the sweetness but you still pay for all the sugar and it still has all its harmful effects once it dissolves in your stomach.
Brown sugar[edit | edit source]
Brown sugar is an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals combined with molasses. Brown sugar is produced similarly to white sugar, with two exceptions. In some cases its crystals are left much smaller than for white sugar, and the syrup or molasses is not washed off completely. Brown sugar contains from 3.5% molasses (light brown sugar) to 6.5% molasses (dark brown sugar). Brown sugar has a distinct flavour which artificial sweetners can't duplicate.
Conversions[edit | edit source]
Different culinary sugars have different densities due to differences in particle size and inclusion of moisture. The Domino Sugar Company has established the following volume to weight conversions:
- Brown sugar 1 cup = 48 teaspoons ~ 195 g = 6.88 oz
- Granular sugar 1 cup = 48 teaspoons ~ 200 g = 7.06 oz
- Confectioner's sugar 1 cup = 48 teaspoons ~ 120 g = 4.23 oz