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Cassava – does it contain sugar?

Native to South America, the cassava plant is a starchy root vegetable or tuber that has a nutty-flavour and white flesh. It is also called manioc or yucca in different parts of the world. 

Cassava is a rich source of carbohydrates and micronutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc and manganese. 

Cassava is also the main ingredient in tapioca, which is a starchy flour commonly used in commercial food products and recipes. Tapioca has become popular as a gluten-free alternative for those who have a gluten allergy or intolerance. Sago pearls, which are common in Asian-style desserts and drinks, are also made from tapioca.

It is incredibly important to note that cassava cannot be consumed raw as it contains cyanide and is toxic if ingested. Cassava should only be consumed after correct preparation and cooking, as described by Food Standards Australia New Zealand. If you are not 100% confident in the preparation of this foodstuff, please do not consume it. 

Sugar content in different forms of cassava

Cassava root is naturally very low in sugar, but rich in carbohydrates when prepared without any additions. Tapioca has a similar nutritional profile. Products made from cassava, like cassava chips, can vary in sugar and nutritional content depending on what flavours are added. Below is the sugar and carbohydrate content of cassava and tapioca. 

 

Sugar (g per 100g)

Carbohydrate (g per 100g)

Cassava root (boiled)

1.3

32.7

Tapioca or sago pearls (raw)

0

79.3

Data has been taken from the FSANZ Australian Food Composition Database.

 

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