The U.S. Department of Agriculture is studying the health benefits of cane sugar, an extract of the cane plant that has been linked to a number of health problems including cancer and diabetes.
In a study published Tuesday in the journal Science, researchers from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the University of Rochester found that cane sugar has an “extensive range of nutrient, health and agricultural benefits” for the American diet.
The study found that the sugar can provide a range of nutrients, including vitamins A, C and E, fiber, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron, zinc, vitamin B6, folate, and riboflavin, among other things.
It also found that sugar cane has an increased bioavailability, which means it can be absorbed more quickly and can be incorporated into foods.
“The results suggest that sugar-sweetened beverages could contribute to a healthful diet and reduce the risk of cancer,” Dr. John Daley, a scientist at the NIFA and one of the study authors, said in a press release.
“Consumers are often concerned about the sugar-based products in their grocery store shelves, but these findings support the importance of these beverages as an important source of nutrient-dense beverages.”
The researchers say the findings could help improve Americans’ overall diet.
“Although consumers are generally unaware of the health risks of these sugars, the sugars in these beverages could pose a risk to the health of their consumers,” they wrote.
“A significant portion of the sugar in our food is derived from cane sugar that has an extensive range of health and agriculture benefits.
These findings may help improve the health and nutritional well-being of consumers and help to reduce health risks.”
The NIFA says sugar-flavored drinks could be found in nearly all the beverages they examined, from soft drinks to soda.
For more information on the study, including how to find a health food store near you, visit the NFI website at http://www.nifai.nih.gov/fitness/cane-sugar-diet-research/