Purchased 3 lbs of raw sugarcane today

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 18, 2013 at 8:44 AM

Today, I was at a fruit stand buying various Paleo fruits when the vendor lady began to hawk fresh sugarcane, which apparently is in season. Curious and not having eaten sugarcane since early adolescence, and having forgot the taste, I purchased three pounds (the lady was reluctant to sell less; it cost very little at under a dollar a pound, & it had to be stripped of its tough outer covering to reveal the edible portion.)

Ate 1/2 lb afterwards and still have 2.5 lbs left. I'm pre-diabetic so that'll be all for me.

I know sugar obviously isn't Paleo. Although raw sugarcane is hugely fibrous; it's basically a stick of roughage with a bit of juice, with mild sugary flavor.

I'm curious what this community thinks about raw sugarcane. I'm not trying to troll; it's just that this community often has interesting things to say about exotic food items...



on January 18, 2013
at 01:42 PM

sugar is very paleo. a lot of things we eat didn't exist in the concentrations we have today. doesn't mean there's nothing paleo about it. saying it's unpaleo isn't going to make a society any healthier.



on January 18, 2013
at 01:34 PM

more like sucrose isn't paleo. sugar in general is very paleo. and its health effects depend on how much you use daily. don't listen to anyone who says cane sugar is harmful.

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8 Answers

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on January 18, 2013
at 02:04 PM

Sugarcane juice seems to be 27g carbohydrate per 28.35g. So mostly just pure sugar in an easily eaten liquid form and next to no nutrients. I doubt you're getting much fibre from chewing it or gaining much benefit if you do choose to swallow some of the fibre. Drinking a bit of water plus fibre alongside your pure sugar probably isn't going to do much. All in all it's not obvious that you wouldn't be better off sitting down with a teaspoon and a bag of caster sugar. At least you probably won't be inclined to eat so much of the dry material.


on January 18, 2013
at 01:12 PM

I had sugarcane once. I remember it wasn't something you were supposed to eat, rather, you chewed on a piece, sucked out the sugary juice, and spit out the left-over roughage. It was fibrous like a piece of soft wood would be. I can't imaging someone eating it like a fibrous vegetable.

So...If I was doing it correctly, then "eating" sugarcane is actually just ingesting sugar juice with no fiber, which doesn't sound good to me.




on January 18, 2013
at 02:55 PM

Processed sugar isn't paleo, but the cane would have been around in the paleolithic, so you can't be too far off the reservation. The main issue is how does your body deal with it. The great confounder is that we've all been exposed to modern crap, so in some cases there are paleo things that we can't hande.

In Egypt it is apparently popular to juice cane. If you do a image search on google for egyptian raw sugar cane juice, you'll see images of Egyptians enjoying a bright green liquid, which is popular enough for there to be shops around that sell it.

I wonder why it never caught on here? I grew up pretty close to sugar cane country, and I never heard of cane juice until I came across mention of the practice in Egypt on the internet.



on January 18, 2013
at 01:31 PM

I would wager it's something akin to coconut water, probably a decent mineral profile. Yes, it's sugar, but sugar isn't the problem. Refined and concentrated sugar is, and this is as unrefined and unconcentrated as sugar gets.


on January 18, 2013
at 02:48 PM

I am surprised to find no recipes cooking with raw sugarcane after 5 minutes of googling. It seems mostly peel and eat. I wonder if it would add both carbs and fiber to a broth, or if cooking would ruin any 'whole food' benefit? Also surprised not to find some vegan drinking whole cane from their super-blender.



on January 18, 2013
at 02:39 PM

err... sugar is sugar



on January 18, 2013
at 02:18 PM

I always enjoyed how it is used in Vietnamese restaurants... the sticks of sugar cane with shrimp meat kebab, grilled. So you can eat the meat and bite on the stick and it imparts a lovely sweet flavour. I wouldn't want to gorge on sugar cane, but as an accent with meats, well I always appreciate a natural unrefined food that expands the paleo repertoire.



on January 18, 2013
at 01:57 PM

Meh. Sounds like too much work for too little benefit to me. If I'm going to waste my time on sugar, I'm going to have some sugar and get it overwith.

But. I have a more interesting question. What's a "paleo fruit?" And what would constitute a "non-paleo fruit?" As far as I knew, all fruits should be paleo. . .

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