Brown Sugar and White Sugar: Which One Is Better?

People think that in a comparison of brown sugar and white sugar, brown sugar is a clear winner in terms of health benefits. Is it true? What are the differences?

So many people are now using brown sugar in place of white sugar. They understand that white sugar or sucrose is not good for health, especially if you are trying to lose weight. It adds empty calories to your diet and makes you put on weight. People believe brown sugar is a better choice because it is "more natural". Do you really think that brown sugar is the winner in a comparison of brown sugar and white sugar? Should you really be using brown sugar in your tea and coffee? Keep reading to discover more.

Brown Sugar vs. White Sugar: Which One Is Better?

You will notice that raw sugar has coarser crystals as compared to refined white sugar. This coarser texture often makes people think that they are consuming an organic product with more "natural" benefits.

There's Not That Much Difference

While the common belief is that brown sugar is a healthier option, it is not the complete truth. It is mainly due to clever marketing that people now strongly believe that they should switch to brown sugar to get impressive health benefits. The truth is that even brown sugar is usually ordinary table sugar and the change of color is due to the reintroduction of molasses. Under normal circumstances, molasses is separated and removed when sugarcane plants are used for producing sugar.  

In some cases, brown sugar is not fully refined – and that is why people mistakenly call it "raw sugar". However, manufacturers make use of molasses and use a mixture of about 5-10% molasses to take better control of what color they want.

 Brown Sugar Does Have Slight Amounts of Minerals

The truth is that brown sugar is not as beneficial as you might think, especially when you compare brown sugar vs. white sugar. However, it certain has some benefits, which is mainly due to its molasses contents that contain certain minerals, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. None of these minerals is present in white sugar. What you should also understand is that the amount of minerals found in brown sugar is quite low; in fact, it is so low that you might not get any real benefits for using brown sugar. Brown sugar may taste better when you use it to prepare baked goods. The following table will help you know better about them. 

Comparison Chart


White Sugar

Brown Sugar


White Sugar Crystals

White Sugar Crystals; molasses

Calories per 100g




Rich and sweet

Slightly less sweet


Grainy and dry

Moist and clumpy

Types of included sugar



Cost (on Amazon)

$6.59 (Domino 5lb)

$5.99 (Domino 1lb)

Calories and Minerals

There is not much difference between the two. A teaspoon of brown sugar contains 17 calories and it contains 4.5g of carbohydrate, whereas the same amount of white sugar has about 18 calories with 4.6g of carbohydrates. The only difference is that a 4.6g serving or 1 teaspoon of brown sugar has 1mg of sodium and 6mg of potassium as well.

Brown Sugar vs. White Sugar: Other Differences

Production Process

Manufacturers are now adding molasses to refined white sugar crystals to turn it into brown sugar. In some cases, they also make use of sugar beet molasses.

Sugar beet or sugarcane is used to manufacture white sugar crystals, which are then refined by immersion into concentrated syrup. The next step involves separating the crystals from the liquid, which are then dissolved in water. A granular activated carbon is usually used to remove its color. The next step involves boiling the mixture and setting aside until its temperature comes down. It is later spun in a centrifuge and then left in hot air to dry.

Culinary Uses

Both white sugar and brown sugar are commonly used in baking; people also use them as sweeteners for tea and coffee. Brown sugar is usually a better choice when it comes to baking. It has a richer taste, but their appearance may not be that impressive due to the moistness. Brown sugar is also a good choice for making marinades, but it may not work great in sauce recipes. That is when you have to stick to white sugar.

A Word About Calorie from Sugars

Since the number of calories is quite the same, you should pay attention to how much sugar you consume whichever you choose between brown sugar vs. white sugar. Understand that you will get health benefits and be able to control your weight if you limit your intake of added sugars, including brown sugar, white sugar, and molasses. Women should limit added sugars to less than 100 calories a day, whereas men should consume no more than 150 calories a day from added sugar. 



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