Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sugar May Become The Next victim Of High Gas Prices

Due to high oil prices worldwide, Sugar may become the next unlikely victim. High oil prices may encourage large sugar exporters such as Brazil to pull a great deal of sugar off the world export market to process into ethanol with the growing popularity of E85 in the face of growing profits for oil product replacements. The result of less sugar on the world commodity market will likely result in higher prices, and could force more manufacturers to move to using corn based sugar substitutes such as the Japanese based process for corn sweetners.

Such has been the recent history of many foods, sodas and candy products that use sugar products, that have slowly switched over to corn based sweetners.

But both corn and soy are also looked at by scientists for production into gasoline substitutes. Corn has had a long history of limited use as gasohol to stretch oil supplies farther. And while soy processed into biodiesel is not yet cost effective, home based equipment allows an individual to purchase the needed items to create biodiesel from used fast food restaurant vegetable based cooking oil used for french fries or onion rings. The used cooking oil must be mixed with lye and methanol to achieve the proper product PH, and to allow the soy oil molecules to attach to the methanol molecules. Harmless glycerine drops down from the bottom of this process and can be used as a nontoxic liquid handsoap or boiled into soap bars. Amazing the highly poisonous lye and methanol allows this harmless gylerine to drop out as a waste product from this process, increasing the cost effectiveness of the conversion of used soy oil into biodiesel.

While most large scale manufacturers have shyed away from the large scale production of biodiesel because the process currently requires more energy than it produces, both Volkswagon and Archer Daniels Midland have taken a keen interest in producing soy based fuels. Archer Daniels Midland is the largest corporate producer of soy products in the world.

An unlikely cooking oil already finds it's way into the food supply. Cottonseed oil is made from the seeds of the cotton plant after removal of both the seeds and a poisonous substance known as gossypol, which is used in pesticides. Cottonseed may have allergic qualities to some. One Oregon allergist also noted that rapeseed/canola oil products have also resulted in some of the very worst allergic reactions that they have ever seen. But corn, soy, cottonseed and rapeseed/canola oils are increasingly finding their way into food products as cooking oils. Peanut oil is used in some potato chip brands, however with many serious peanut allergies and the low cost of cottonseed oil, this "vegetable" oil is becoming more popular. Persons with cottonseed allergies are finding it more diificult to avoid the use of this oil in more and more shelf supermarket brands of products. However health foods tend to stay away from cottonseed oil due to health questions including transfats when hydrogenated. Cottonseed oil will sometimes trigger allergy reactions if a person is allergic to nuts for example. Sunflower oil is healthy in low levels, and includes a healthy level of vitamin E. However in a large quantity, this can kill lab rats as perhaps a toxic vitamin E level is surpassed. Wheatgerm oil is extremely high in vitamin E, but is only generally used as a health aid, and not as a primary oil. Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of vitamin E, and contain far more vitamins than white potatoes.

With more and more food science research, more vegetable products may find their way into use as cooking oils or gasoline substitutes and sugar may see more use as ethanol as this fuel replacement grows in popularity. Increasingly the lab is replacing what took nature millions of years to convert rotted dinosaur and plant remains into petroleum oil.

More often than not, that sweet tasting food you crave may not be sweetened by sugar, but by a corn substitute as the sugar cane is increasingly being used as ethanol as high world oil prices make this crop more and more cost effective to replace oil.


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