Sugarcane juice is a sugary, sweet drink commonly consumed in parts of Asia, India, and Africa. It has become more popular because of its increased consumption as an all-natural beverage with multiple health benefits. Studies show that traditional Eastern medicine used sugarcane juice to treat kidney, liver, and other diseases.
The most surprising revelation by some research studies is that sugarcane juice can help reduce diabetes symptoms, and people with diabetes can have it. However, several other research papers and studies contradict it. But, most healthcare experts believe that even with its high sugar content, people with diabetes can drink sugarcane juice in moderation. Also, with some healthy tweaks, they can reap all its excellent benefits. But, of course, you should first be aware of your body’s glycemic response and then consider consuming any such food or drink.
This article discusses whether sugarcane juice is safe or unsafe for people with diabetes or anyone in need of regulating their blood sugar. The article also busts some myths surrounding the juice, its consumption, overconsumption, and risk factors.
Nutritional Profile and Glycemic Index
The nutrients found in sugarcane juice are calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, phosphorus, and various amino acids. Moreover, sugarcane juice is known to have a glycemic index score of 43, Additionally, , it is relatively high in sugars and low in fibre, making it an unhealthy choice for diabetes patients. However, a study conducted to assess the glycemic response of natural sweeteners like sugarcane juice and honey shows that the glycemic response of these natural sweeteners was actually good , making them suitable for healthy individuals.
As per USDA data, a one hundred gram serving of sugarcane juice offers:
- Water: 79.6g
- Energy: 74 kcal
- Sugar: 20.2g
- Carbohydrate: 20.2 g
- Iron: 0.1mg
- Magnesium: 3mg
- Phosphorus: 3mg
- Potassium: 11mg
- Calcium: 7mg
As you can see, just one hundred grams of sugarcane juice includes around twenty grams of sugar. As per Harvard studies, most adult women should consume no more than 100 calories per day (about six teaspoons or 24 grams) from added sugar. At the same time, most men should consume no more than 150 calories per day (about nine teaspoons or 36 grams) from added sugar.
Some studies suggest sugarcane juice has varying amounts of fibre. Some commodities list none or just a trace, while others, comprising raw sugarcane juice, boast up to thirteen grams per cup (240 ml).
Still, it’s adequate to get fibre from plant foods rather than a sweet drink. For instance, if you want a drink with fibre, it’s reasonable to choose a powdered fibre supplement without additional sugar and mix it with water. Sugar is a carb that your body tears down into glucose. Some high-carb foods and drinks may increase your blood sugar excessively, particularly if you have or are in danger of diabetes. Thus, people with diabetes should contemplate their sugar intake carefully and add any food to their diet as per the nutritionist’s advice.
Although sugarcane juice has a low glycemic response, it has a high glycemic load (GL). High GL remains confined to the disproportionate impact on your blood sugar levels. While GI estimates how quickly food or drink raises blood sugar, GL calculates the total quantity of blood sugar rise. Thus, GL gives a more detailed picture of sugarcane juice’s impacts on blood sugar. Sugarcane juice is extremely high in sugar, and it has a high glycemic load despite having a low glycemic response. Therefore, it influences blood sugar considerably.
Sugarcane Juice and Diabetes: The Impact
Talking about diabetes patients specifically, it’s a common belief that sugar is harmful to them. But are we even sure if natural sweeteners are ‘prohibited’ or simply ‘to be consumed in small quantities?’ And what types of sugar and sugar substitutes can you consume? What is the ideal quantity? If consumed in moderation, is it acceptable?
Thankfully, science has progressed enough for us to rely on tried and tested facts and figures. Sugarcane juice consumed in moderation and along with other healthy ingredients is not only acceptable for diabetes but also a nutritious choice. A person with diabetes primarily prohibits foods that have a high glycemic index. Therefore, even if you are eating vegetables and fruits, it is advisable to look for their glycemic index or consult a nutritionist. Fruits having a low glycemic index are always a better alternative. A study suggests that for those with prediabetes or diabetes, low-GI diets may help with glycemic management and weight loss.
According to experts, sugarcane juice acts as an instant energy drink because of its high sugar quantity. That’s why people should consume in smaller proportions. To balance it out, you can simply drink it with healthier options that can combat the symptoms of diabetes and prevent a rise in blood sugar levels.
Diabetes-Friendly Recipes Using Sugarcane Juice
Although it is best to consume natural sweeteners occasionally and in moderation, you can consume sugarcane juice even with diabetes. A couple of simple healthy recipes are:
Sugarcane and Ginger Iced Mocktail- 2 Servings
- Ginger Juice: ⅓ tbsp
- Sugarcane Juice: 1 ⅔ cup
- Powdered Sugar: 1 tbsp
- Lemon Juice: ⅛ tbsp
- Black salt: ⅛ tsp
- Combine all the ingredients in a jar/bowl and mix well. Ensure that there are no salt particles or any lumps.
- Pour the mixture into a mould to be frozen.
- Freeze the mixture for 2- 3 hours.
- Now, blend your frozen juice in a mixer until it is slushy.
- Enjoy your homemade iced mocktail!
Tropical Sugarcane-Coconut Mocktail-2 Servings
- Sugarcane Juice: 2½ cups
- Black salt: ½ tsp
- Coconut Water: 1 ½ cups
- Mint: 2-4 leaves
- Lemon slices: 1(optional)
- Take sugarcane Juice and Coconut Water into any closed jar and shake well.
- Keep it in the fridge and let it chill.
- Add black salt to the mixture and mix well.
- Pour mocktail into glasses and add mint leaves and lemon slices.
- Your summer mocktail is ready; serve it cool.
It is significant to acknowledge that moderation is fundamental for consuming sugarcane juice for its nutritional benefits. If possible, choose to chew a few sugarcane pieces directly rather than go for the sugary juice. Sugarcane juice is also an adequate alternative to aerated drinks and other juice alternatives present in the market. But nutritionists would still disapprove of a regular consumption pattern as it would disturb the balancing effect.
Test-tube research on sugarcane extract suggests that its polyphenol antioxidants may benefit pancreas cells that produce more insulin, the hormone that oversees your blood sugar. However, this research is still introductory and is not conclusive.
If you still crave a sweet drink, you can use fresh fruit to instil your water with natural sweetness. Unfortunately, despite some lab research that suggests possible anti-diabetes effects, sugarcane juice is not a good beverage for those with diabetes. It is recommended for diabetes only if the sugar level falls unexpectedly and drastically. After all, it is the quickest form of sugar your body can convert into energy.
Health Benefits of Sugarcane Juice
The list of potential health benefits of Sugarcane Juice are:
- Due to the sugar content, sugarcane juice is incredible at hydrating the body and being a power booster for non-diabetes patients. Antioxidants in sugarcane are tremendous for skin health. Electrolytes in sugarcane can enable you to keep hydrated. In addition, fibre-rich sugarcane can deter constipation.
- As per the studies drinking sugarcane juice keeps the skin healthy, functions as an energy booster, aids during pregnancy and deters tooth decay. Sugarcane juice also treats febrile disorders in growing infants and early teens.
- According to Ayurveda, the antioxidants in sugarcane juice treat jaundice and increase the immune system. It has incredible effects on the skin as well. Mixing it with Aloe Vera gel to create a face mask can prevent acne and make skin more radiant and bright.
- Research indicates that it’s also an adequate source of flavonoid and phenolic antioxidants in its unprocessed form. These antioxidants fight radical damage in the body and offer various health benefits. As per research, they help in many human diseases, such as the treatment of jaundice, bleeding, dysuria, anuria, and other urinary disorders.
- Electrolytes in sugarcane can be beneficial in balancing sodium and potassium in the body. Therefore, it is excellent for maintaining your hydration.
- It also comprises electrolytes, such as potassium, for hydrating impacts. In a study of fifteen cycling athletes, sugarcane juice was as beneficial as a sports drink in enhancing exercise performance and rehydration.
Sugarcane juice is a rich source of antioxidants and other nutrients, but most the claims
its health advantages are not yet proven.
Risk of Overconsumption of Sugarcane Juice
Overconsumption can steer to side effects because of the abundance of sugar in sugarcane. Sugarcane includes policosanol, which causes indigestion, headaches, insomnia, dizziness, and weight loss. Sugarcane juice spoils quickly, and it’s advisable to consume it fresh. As per several types of research, the oxidised edition of sugarcane juice may be harmful and lead to stomach-related issues.
If consumed in excessive amounts, it can also result in blood thinning. If you are already on blood thinners, drinking sugarcane juice can lead to severe bleeding-related issues. Sugarcane instead of sugarcane juice is more helpful for diabetic patients. In sugarcane chunks, one can get the ultimate benefits and some fibre without eating large amounts of it.
Sugarcane serves up an active dose of antioxidants, but it is incredibly high in sugar. That makes it a not-so-ideal choice for people with diabetes. The article has talked about several health advantages for diabetic patients. Still, the bottom line is that you can consume it in moderation, as it can rapidly lift blood sugar levels.
Sugarcane is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, increasing the consumer’s overall health and lowering oxidative stress, preventing several diseases. It has other nutritional advantages for hydration and enables enhancing energy levels. By checking the glycemic index and the patients’ blood sugar levels, you may easily balance the consumption of ‘restricted’ food items. Rather than sugarcane juice, select unsweetened tea, coffee, or water infused with fruit. These alternative drinks can still taste good without increasing blood sugar levels and satisfying your sugar cravings.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q.1. What is the glycemic index of sugar cane?
A. Sugarcane juice contains a glycemic index of 43, which, according to the American Diabetes Association, generates sugarcane, a low-glycemic food. Sugarcane has a nutritional profile identical to wheatgrass containing iron, calcium, chlorophyll, B Vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. It is affluent in intricate carbohydrates and very low in simple sugars, between 10-15%.
Q.2. Which sugar is best for people with diabetes?
A. In general, there is no explanation for not selecting one of the natural sweeteners that do not influence blood sugar like monk fruit, stevia, or allulose. They are all considered for people with diabetes, and you can select whichever one you think tastes the best.
Q.3. Can I drink sugarcane juice daily?
A. Ideally, one should drink sugarcane juice at least three times a week. A glass of sugarcane juice can keep urinary tract diseases away. In addition to this, it can help deter kidney stones and assure the adequate functioning of your kidneys.
Q.4. Does cane sugar spike insulin?
A. Sucrose or cane sugar and glucose cause insulin levels to rise. However, people with diabetes should not resist having sugarcane as it has a lower glycaemic index. People with diabetes can munch sugarcane or drink a fresh glass of sugarcane juice in moderation.
Q 5. Which is better: Sugarcane juice or Coconut Water?
A. Unlike other juices, unflavored coconut water has lower sugar and calories than sugarcane juice. Therefore, coconut water is prominent for rehydration after exercise or during a mild ailment. In addition, coconut water certainly has electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and manganese.
Q.6. Does sugarcane juice increase uric acid?
A. Uric acid degrees tend to be greater in people who regularly drink sugar-sweetened drinks. Those consuming one to two sugar-sweetened soft beverages a day are approximately twice as likely to have gout problems as those who drink once a month.
Q.7. Why does sugarcane juice turn black?
A. The high polyphenolic and sugar content, high polyphenol oxidase (PPO), and medium to low acidity (pH‑ 5.0 to 5.5) activity turn the juice brown and impair the overall sensory quality. Moreover, microbial fermentation of the beverage turns its flavour sour within a few hours of extraction, making it unsafe for consumption.
Q.8. Does sugarcane juice increase haemoglobin?
A. Sugarcane juice is very beneficial for people suffering from anaemia as it has an adequate amount of iron, which further improves the body’s haemoglobin (Hb) levels.
Q.9. Can we mix sugarcane juice with coconut water?
A. These natural drinks do not have chemicals and deliver an abundance of health benefits such as improved digestion, weight loss, and glowing skin. In addition, consuming sugarcane juice mixed with ginger juice, lime juice, and coconut water can cure nephritis, gonorrhoea, and cystitis.
Q.10. Is sugarcane juice good for the kidneys?
A. Sugarcane juice is a beneficial diuretic, which implies it can keep your kidneys functioning in an optimal situation, preventing health issues like urinary tract infections and kidney stones.