Molasses is a thick, dark brown syrup obtained from raw sugar. Molasses is produced during the refining process for use in baking. Because it’s a by-product of sugar, you might not expect high levels of nutrients in molasses, but it’s a surprising source of some minerals, such as potassium, calcium, and iron. Although molasses is not edible in itself, in some recipes it is a nutritious substitute for refined sugar.
Molasses Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 tablespoon (20 g) of molasses (source).
- Calorie: 58
- Fats: 0g
- Sodium: 7.4 mg
- Carbohydrates: 15 g
- Fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 15 g
- Protein: 0g
Carbohydrates in Molasses
Molasses is almost exclusively made up of carbohydrates in the form of sugar. A tablespoon of molasses provides 15 grams of sugar carbohydrates.
Fats in Molasses
Because all the calories in molasses come from sugar, they are virtually fat-free.
Proteins in Molasses
Like fat, there is no protein in molasses.
Vitamins and Minerals in Molasses
Unlike white table sugar, molasses is rich in certain vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. Molasses contains calcium, iron, magnesium, choline and some B vitamins.
Molasses Health Benefits
While molasses is an added sugar that should be used in moderation, its micronutrient content, unlike traditional table sugar, provides certain health benefits.
It lowers blood pressure
Potassium is known to lower blood pressure and molasses is a great source.Just 1 tablespoon contains 293 milligrams of potassium. Although we need about 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day, molasses will get you there faster than most other sweeteners. Choose molasses as a healthy alternative to white sugar (source).
It can help prevent cancer
Preliminary but promising research has found that compounds in sugar beet molasses have antioxidant and antitumor effects.Specifically, the compound cyanidine-3-O-glucoside chloride has the potential to protect against breast cancer, liver cancer and colon cancer. Although more human research is needed, sugar beet molasses is being proposed as a functional food additive and a more nutritious substitute for commonly consumed table sugar (source).
Molasses contains a certain amount of zinc, which is known to promote the activity of natural killer cells and T-lymphocytes. Although most people will not (and should not) eat enough molasses to cover their daily zinc needs, the fact that molasses does not contain fiber means that zinc and the other minerals it contains are more easily absorbed (source).
Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones that usually occurs over a long period of time. By including various sources of calcium in your diet, you can help avert osteoporosis caused by calcium deficiency.A tablespoon of molasses has 41 milligrams of calcium, which contributes to the 1,300 milligrams that adults need every day. Zinc in molasses is also beneficial for bones (source).
Supports red blood cells
Iron is a mineral necessary for the proper formation of red blood cells to prevent iron deficiency anemia. Molasses provides almost 1 milligram of iron per spoon, which is 5% of the required daily intake.For vegetarians and vegans in particular, molasses can be an improved substitute for table sugar, which helps to ensure higher iron intake to avoid the shortcomings commonly observed in these diets (source).
Molasses is not a common allergen. Although also rare, it is possible to be allergic to a natural chemical called para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), which is found in molasses and other foods (source).
Molasses is often added in the production of brown sugar, so allergies to molasses can occur even after consuming brown sugar products. If you suspect symptoms of molasses allergy, such as hives, stomach problems, swelling or difficulty breathing, talk to your doctor.
Molasses may contain sulphites (to prevent the growth of bacteria), so if you are allergic to sulphites, you will want to avoid it.Check on the food labels whether the molasses you are buying has been treated with sulphites (source).
It is important to keep in mind that molasses is a form of sugar. For anyone monitoring their sugar intake, especially for the treatment of diabetes, molasses should be used with caution. If you are targeting a specific daily limit, be sure to count the carbohydrates in the molasses.
There are three general types of molasses: light, medium and black.Molasses is a residual syrup that remains after processing beet or cane sugar into table sugar. Lighter molasses is harvested after just one sugar extraction, so it tastes sweeter.
The most nutritious type of molasses is blackstrap molasses, which is obtained after the third extraction of cane sugar. Unfortunately, its bitter taste means that blackstrap molasses is often reserved for use in feed and food production.However, it is good to use blackstrap molasses when cooking as soon as you get used to it.
Mixing molasses with sugar solution is common practice to achieve a more uniform consistency. However, this detracts from some of the health benefits associated with molasses. Some types of molasses are treated with sulfur dioxide during processing. In commercial sales, it is more common to find unsulfurized molasses that retains a more attractive taste (source).
When Molasses is best
Molasses can be easily found in the bakery of most grocery stores throughout the year. Although it is not safe to eat raw or plain molasses, it is very thick and sticky and many do not find it pleasant or easy to eat it alone.
Molasses storage and safety
Unopened molasses can be stored indefinitely in the pantry.However, for the best quality, we recommend that you use unopened molasses within 1-2 years of purchase. Once opened, molasses should be used within 6 months. Store molasses in an airtight container at room temperature (source).
How to consume Molasses
Molasses is not a food that people regularly consume or use as a spice. However, it can be used as a sugar substitute in various pastry recipes, such as biscuits and crackers. Some like to use molasses to sweeten and flavor hot beverages such as tea, while others drip light molasses over oatmeal as a substitute for syrup or honey. Molasses is often used in roasted beans and grilled meat marinades. It is also a key ingredient in pumpernickel bread. If you are in the mood for a “mocktail”, you may also be interested in trying our recipe for pomegranate molasses selatzer.
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