Nutritional Advantages of Panela


Industrial manufacture of sugar uses unpleasant chemicals such as sulphur dioxide, phosphoric acid, bleaching agents & viscosity reducers. The actual valuable mineral salts, considered as impurities are removed which ironically is where the goodness is found. Panela, by contrast retains these valuable and important mineral salts: 2.8 grams per 100 grams, (28 grams per kilogram), while only 300 milligrams per kilogram is found in refined sugar.

The principal nutritional natural components are the sugars (sucrose, glucose and fructose), vitamins (A, B1, B2, B5, B6 complex, C, D and E), and minerals (potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese). Vitamins are essential for the normal body functions and development. Since they are not synthesized by the body they must be consumed regularly and in a balanced form. Panela therefore contributes essential vitamins. Minerals play an important role in the building of bones, other tissues and fluids. They activate important enzymatic systems as well as intervene in many metabolic activities, controlling the pH, etc.

Among the carbohydrates in panela, sucrose represents 75% to 85%. Glucose and fructose are between 6 and 15% dry weight and are immediately available to the body, being easily metabolized and transformed into the energy our body needs.

Glucose and fructose have a much higher biological value to the body than sucrose, the main component of brown and refined sugar. Interestingly, Panela has 5 times more minerals than brown sugar.

Colombians and the Tour De France in the 80′s – The ultimate energy bar
Europeans at the Tour began to wonder just how a tiny farmer from meager upbringings could climb like Lucho Herrera did. Herrera’s nickname was “Jardinerito”, little gardener, as a result of having worked in a flower plantation in his native Fusagasuga. All the other riders on the team had similar backgrounds, with some having even worked in coal mines. Herrera’s success surely didn’t come about as a result of his team organization or equipment. The cyclists were riding less-than-optimal bikes, and the team cars were sometimes staffed by the rider’s mothers. It didn’t add up. Who were these guys from Colombia, and what were they up to? Most importantly, what was in the bags that they constantly brought out of their pockets and emptied into their mouths during long stages? What were the brown cubes sloshing around in their water bottles? It was those cubes, and whatever they were putting into their mouths that had been called into question.

The substance was not a banned drug. It wasn’t even a sophisticated dietary aid or energy bar. It was panela.