Thanks, well I was looking into brown sugar too, and don't see any indication that it is particularly unhealthy (besides that consuming anything in excess, including water, can be). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for example has "recipes for heart health" that include brown sugar. Of the few studies I've found that tested it for some effect, one study says "among sugar cane derivatives, brown sugars showed higher antidiabetes potential than white sugars", and another says "the brown sugar extracts showed interesting free radical scavenging properties despite the low concentration of phenolic and volatile compounds." The CDC says to know your limit for added sugars (as overconsumption may cause weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease), but I'm on a vegan diet, which typically counters those problems to begin with, and I don't even eat every day, so I'll add sugar to something maybe twice a week, therefore there's practically no chance of weight gain, etc. Last night I had a bunch of brown sugar mixed with tea and ate a giant bowl of barley. I've felt great since, so it seems to suit me. When I ate more junk food in the past, I think all the sugar was wearing me out, so I can feel a big difference with brown sugar in my current diet (which is not too much of a good thing anymore). Also, eating barley is said to improve cholesterol levels and glucose regulation, and it tends to have very little arsenic, compared to rice. It seems on paper to be a good thing to eat along with sugar, besides that I thought it felt that way (and it was easier to digest than wheat pasta, comparing other grains—there's a study
indicating that starch digestion can be different between grains, for cows at least—arsenic has been the most common cause of inorganic chemical poisoning in farm animals
, another study
reports, and looking into this stuff goes around and around).
Lately I'm looking to avoid eating foods (especially together) that contain inorganic arsenic in higher amounts than most other foods of a given type, and I would choose a fruit or grain more carefully now. There's enough arsenic in water already I gather. Rice always made me pee more as a side effect than other foods, and I had stopped eating it anyway, because that's annoying. Arsenic per calorie is beyond me, I don't count calories to begin with (basically I eat as much as I can, although infrequently), so it's enough for me to know that some foods tend to contain more inorganic arsenic than others (as a process of elimination). I wasn't going to eat grapes either, the study of those mentioned that arsenic concentration was a component of processing grapes somehow though. Last time I looked at a bottle of blackstrap molasses, it had a warning sticker about concentrated harmful chemicals (iirc), so there's probably more than arsenic to look at there. I'd already looked up some alarming info about that when I decided not to include it in my diet a long time ago (and the same would go for eating fruit juice concentrate, but you'd get a stomach ache too). I probably get plenty of fiber otherwise, so as not to be concerned whether it is abundant in a sweetener, thanks. I'm not discounting using fruits that way, if you think that's worthwhile, it just isn't worth the trouble for me, beyond establishing that the fruit I had been using was at least as unhealthy as something like sugar (even though people will villify all carbs so they can overeat with peace of mind), for some strange reason, yet sugar is simpler, with a longer shelf life, and easier to store anyhow.
The CDC could just as well warn people not to drink too much water, except that it doesn't happen very often, it's simply something to be aware of I think. Sugar can be considered part of a healthy diet, but it's abused too much for that to be kept in perspective. So a lot of people eat too much added sweetener, go figure, because it's in a lot of food, because people eat a lot of it... Those who overeat animal products can't really say much about arsenic though, since this is quite possibly one of the major contributors of disease from their diet I suppose (based on what the EPA had determined there, and the other study linked above, which says "Arsenic is contaminated in food chain though drinking water, food, meat, milk and egg. The ingestion of bovine milk is one of the most important pathways of exposure to chemicals and the accumulation of persistent organic chemicals in tissues in the agricultural food chain"). I'd say this refutes omnivorism more than veganism for that matter.