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What is raw sugar cane panela?

Panela can be defined as unrefined sugar obtained from sugar cane, which is marketed in compact rectangular, round or prismatic loaves, depending on the region.

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Panela is a type of sugar which is considered to be the purest, most natural and artisan product, unbleached and unrefined, made directly from the juice extracted from sugar cane. Panela comes from Colombia and is widely consumed throughout Latin America. As for its flavor, it is caramelized and has a greater sweetening power than refined sugar, however having the same use. It is highly beneficial since it is obtained through a unique production process. Different from normal refined sugars, panela retains its natural flavor and all its nutrients, among which we may find many essential vitamins and minerals.

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How is Panela made?

Reception and cleaning: The harvested cane goes through a selection and discard process. The most mature cane and with an adequate level of sucrose and fiber is chosen. The cane is then crushed and shredded. A paste is obtained.

Grinding: The paste is taken to grooved mills that exert high pressure and through which the cane juice is obtained. The juice is screened to discard the bagasse.

Clarification: The sifted juice goes through a series of filtering phases in order to remove impurities. The juice is then mixed with calcium hydroxide and phosphoric acid to be prepared for the evaporation phase.

Evaporation: The juice can be brought to a boiling point several times or it can be allowed to evaporate slowly. In both cases, the water evaporation reaches an ideal concentration for molding Panela. In the end, a thick syrup is obtained which, after losing moisture, turns into molasses.

Scooping and churning: The molasses is brought into large buckets and removed by manual shoveling or paleo. It is stirred until it is obtained the optimal "point" of thickness.

Molding: The dough is put into the molds. It is left to dry.

Packaging: Once the mold is dry, it is packed

What benefits and properties does Panela have?


It gives us the necessary energy for the development of metabolic processes.

It provides essential nutrients for the body.

Unlike white sugar, which provides only empty calories, the brown sugar in Panela provides essential nutrients. In addition, it does not 'steal' nutrients from the body as it happens with white sugar.

It is a type of sugar free of harmful substances.

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Excellent nutritional wealth: Panela provides interesting amounts of vitamins from group B, A, C, D and E, minerals such as zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, copper and manganese, and carbohydrates, among which we can mention fructose (which has a higher biological value).

Energy source: it provides the fundamental and necessary energy for the development of metabolic processes; besides, it helps us to activate our bodies by acting as a totally natural energizer.

Free of empty calories: It is a sweetener that not only provides essential nutrients, but unlike white sugar it does not "steal" nutrients from the body.

Vitamins: Panela is rich in vitamins from groups B, A, C, D and E.

Minerals: Panela provides good amounts of phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper.

Carbohydrates: Panela contains carbohydrates such as sucrose, as well as glucose and fructose (which have a higher biological value).

Proteins: they can be found in less quantity than carbohydrates.

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Is Panela good for the skin?


The grated Panela mask is highly healing and bactericidal. For acne cases, a mixture of papaya peel, mango pulp and a tablespoon of honey can be used. It is applied on the face for 20 minutes, and then removed with fresh water. It can be used once a week.

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Panela, since granny´s times has always been the best alternative to improve the skin, it helps to aid open pores, minimizes expression lines and removes the most rebellious freckles; such outcome is due to its free of chemical additives condition and its high hydration benefits.

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Does Panela have healing properties?


Due to its high amount of iron, Panela helps to prevent anemia.

The potassium that can be found in Panela is ideal for keeping the balance of the intracellular fluid.

It has a balsamic property, since it can be used during colds or respiratory infections.

It contains a large amount of nutrients that are necessary for our body.

It provides a large amount of energy due to all the nutrients and minerals it has. It is recommended when playing sports.

It prevents osteoporosis, by helping to strengthen our bones and making them healthier and less prone to bone diseases.

It helps to regulate heart rhythm.

It contains beneficial vitamins for different organs of the body.

Promotes the proper functioning of the nervous system.

Thanks to the production process, its nutrients are not lost, which means that it is completely natural, turning it into a product that is not harmful to our body.

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Does Panela make us gain weight?

Experts state that refined foods provide empty calories, this means that they are fattening without providing the necessary amount of nutrients which benefits health, as it happens with brown sugar and, especially, white sugar.

Panela, different from white or brown sugar, is not subjected to any refining, centrifugation, purification or any other type of processing, so it preserves all the vitamins and minerals substantial in sugar cane.

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Is Panela bad for diabetes?

Diabetics cannot eat sweets.

Sugar, Panela or honey quickly raise blood glucose levels; therefore, its consumption is not recommended on a regular basis. Instead, it is recommended to replace those with non-caloric sweeteners such as sodium saccharin, aspartame or sucralose so a person will be able to enjoy the sweet taste; this must be indicated by a nutritionist.

However, a child could eat a birthday cake and make-up-for it later by consuming less caloric foods.

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Can Panela replace sugar?

Refined sugars are often to blame for an unhealthy lifestyle. Below, we will let you know reasons to replace them with panela.

Panela is extracted when cane juices are subject to evaporation at high temperatures. It is a great source of energy and essential minerals such as iron or magnesium and vitamins, especially from B group, which is characterized by strengthening bones, preventing osteoporosis or strengthening our immune system. It does not pass through chemical processes and it is vegetal and ecological. Enough reasons to replace industrial sugars with panela.

It is more natural. No chemical additives are used for preparation and it is formed when the sugar cane juice evaporates at high temperatures until it forms a dense block that ends up crystallizing in molds. The result is a natural and organic sugar. It has many vitamins and minerals and it is already considered by some nutritionists as one of the new superfoods.

More energy. Panela is fast-absorbing carbohydrates, recommended for endurance sports in which energy is demanding. It is made up of 95% sucrose, but also glucose and fructose. It does not contain fat, but above all, it has no calories, so it can be taken without fear of gaining weight.

Healthier alternative. Refined sugars have been widely associated with a variety of chronic diseases. Panela, however, helps to reduce anemia, protects us against cavities and strengthens bones, among other benefits.

Great taste. Classic sweeteners can also substitute sugar because of their flavor, but panela has unique qualities for the palate. It reminds us of honey and its sweetening power is capable of seducing the sweet tooth. It can be found in a wide variety of supermarkets.

In the kitchen. As a sweetener it has a wide variety of uses, and therefore some of the most renowned chefs in the world use Panela in their recipes. It is included to give special touches to coffees or desserts or in more complex gastronomic preparations such as pastries, jams, syrups or juices.

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How many calories does Panela have?

50 gr of Panela contains 180 Cal, 45g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g protein.

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Is panela nutritious?

The power of Panela goes beyond its warm and sweet flavor. It gives a special touch to meals, and it also brings together a series of nutrients that optimizes the proper functioning of the human body.

Claudia Figueroa, nutritionist and dietitian considers the above nutritious properties based on scientific evidence therefore she has disseminated its properties widely.

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What is the composition of Panela?

According to the food composition table described by Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar Colombian (ICBF), panela has macronutrients, including calories, lipids and carbohydrates; It also has vitamins, such as C, B6, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin, and minerals, among which fluoride, potassium, magnesium and iron stand out.

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Differences between Panela and sugar

  • When the sugar cane is ripe, it is collected, washed and ground in order to obtain the sugar cane juice. This juice goes through evaporation so it loses water, becoming a very thick syrup that when drying it turns into blocks of panela. These blocks are grated to get raw brown sugar panela, which is in fact, the most whole cane sugar. Panela has a lower caloric intake than white sugar since it contains B vitamins and some C vitamin and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium, copper, manganese... and other antioxidant components that white sugar does not contain. Panela has 50 times more non-sugar nutrients than white sugar. It also contains molasses from sugar cane.

  • Whole cane sugar and cane sugar: Whole cane sugar and sugar cane molasses can be separated from the juice of the sugar cane. Later, in a first refining process, cane sugar or brown sugar is obtained from whole cane sugar. Cane and whole cane sugar also contains vitamins and minerals but 5 times less than panela sugar.

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Can Panela be used for certain health issues?


  • As mentioned before, panela´s most widespread use is as a substitute for sugar. It is used to sweeten soft drinks, juices, coffee, infusions. In the preparation of cakes, biscuits, jams and cookies.

  • Like honey, panela also has a balsamic and expectorant effect when people go through colds and flu.

  • Panela can also be of help after intense exercise so the athlete can recover in short time.

  • In cases of colds or respiratory discomfort, panela sugar has a calming effect.

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What vitamins and minerals does panela have?


Among the groups of essential nutrients in panela there should be mentioned: water, carbohydrates, minerals, proteins, vitamins and fats.

  • Sugars are basically energy nutrients, the body obtains from these the necessary energy to function and develop metabolic processes properly; carbohydrates in panela are sucrose, which appears in greater proportion and other minor components called reducing or inverted sugars such us glucose and fructose; which have a higher biological value for the body than sucrose, which is the main component of muscovado and refined sugar.

  • Panela contains among others the following main minerals: Calcium (Ca), Potassium (K), Magnesium (Mg), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe) and Phosphorus (P), as well as traces of Fluorine (F) and Selenium (Se).

  • The Calcium, which can be found as a component of panela, contributes to better teeth development and stronger bones, as well as to prevent cavities, especially in children.

  • The Iron in Panela helps to prevent anemia. This nutrient also strengthens the immune system of children and prevents respiratory and urinary systems diseases.

  • Another element that panela provides is phosphorus, which is important for bones and teeth, also a contributor for fats metabolism, carbohydrates and energy exchanges. A deficiency in phosphorus leads to bone demineralization, low development during childhood, rickets and osteomalacia.

  • Magnesium strengthens the nervous system; it also acts on muscle excitability and serves as an activator for different enzymes such as blood alkaline phosphatase. Children with a normal level of Magnesium tend to be more active.

  • Potassium is also essential to keep the balance of intracellular fluid; it affects the rhythm of heart and helps in the regulation of nervous and muscular excitability.

  • Vitamin A is essential for good vision and for skeletal growth and connective tissue and it is also part of rhodopsin or visual purpura.

  • B complex vitamins such as B1 are involved in the metabolism of acids and lipids. B6 is necessary for the production of red blood cells, it takes part in the metabolism of essential fatty acids. Vitamin D increases calcium and phosphorus absorption by the intestine and Vitamin C which is an antioxidant, that neutralizes free radicals and keeps the intercellular material of cartilage, dentine and bones.

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Qué es la panela
Cómo se hace la panela
Qué beneficios tiene
En la piel
Es curativa
No engorda
En diabetes no
Sustituye el azúcar
Es nutritiva
Usos en salud
Vitaminas y minerales
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