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Ask Tufts Experts March 2009 Issue

Q: Back in the 1950s, Carlton Fredericks, a popular radio personality, touted the virtues of blackstrap molasses. Mom bought some for Dad, but after one taste it was history. About a year ago, though, I ran across it in the store and was amazed that it appears to be a “superfood.” Why have you never mentioned blackstrap molasses in your newsletter?

Answer :  Molasses is a concentrated byproduct of refining sugar cane into table sugar. ”Black strap” molasses comes from the third and final boiling of the sugar syrup, so this strongly flavored, thick, dark molasses variety is highest in mineral content and lowest in sugar. Unlike sugar or artificial sweeteners, molasses is a source of minerals your body needs, including manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, calcium and potassium. Amounts vary widely by brand, so check the label if you’re buying molasses for its mineral content. And before you start gulping blackstrap molasses as a “superfood,” keep in mind that each tablespoonful also has about 50 calories.

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