Antioxidant properties of commercial sugarcane-derived products were analysed to study their suitability for being used as functional ingredients. Cane honey, several jaggeries and several brown sugars were selected from the market and analysed in terms of physicochemical characteristics and antioxidant properties, and compared with white refined sugar (twelve products in total). Moisture, water activity, total soluble solids, pH, colour and sugar profile are reported. As for antioxidant properties, total phenols and flavonoid content, as well as antiradical ability (DPPH· and the TEAC-ABTS methods), are given. All sugarcane products contained phenols and flavonoids and exhibited in vitro antioxidant activity, determined by degree of refining. Among the alternatives analysed, jaggeries and cane honey showed the best antioxidant properties. Thermal treatment did not significantly affect the antioxidant capacity of sugarcane products, especially jaggeries. As sugar-rich products are widely consumed worldwide, the use of non-refined sugarcane derivatives in food formulation is encouraged.
Sugarcane alternatives to white sugar contain phenols and flavonoids that exhibit in vitro antioxidant activity, which are determined by degree of refining. Among the twelve products analyzed, jaggeries and cane honey showed the best antioxidant properties.