Is Brown Sugar Better Than White Sugar

Difference between brown and white sugar?

Despite our best efforts to avoid it, sugar is a key component of our daily life. Based on the size and color of their crystals, sugars come in a variety of forms, each with a distinct purpose.

Brown and white sugar are two of the most commonly used substances in baking and cooking. While they each have sweetness, they also have nuances that set them apart from one another. The sugars vary not just in color but also in a wide range of other qualities, including flavor, texture, and nutritional value. Have you been debating which one is superior from a culinary and dietary standpoint?

In this article, we'll compare the difference between brown and white sugar to learn more about these two common sweeteners.

Nutritional differences

Although the idea that brown sugar is healthier than white sugar (because it contains fewer calories) is generally understood, is it entirely correct? There are a few significant distinctions between brown and white sugars that must be taken into account when assessing their nutritional value.

Contrary to popular opinion, the difference in calories between the two is relatively marginal. In comparison to white sugar, which has 385 calories per 100 grams, brown sugar has 380 calories. However, because brown sugar has undergone minimal processing, it has more minerals and fewer calories than white sugar, making it a popular option for people seeking a healthier alternative to conventional white sugar. 

Since they are almost identical in nutritional value, what is the key difference between the two? 

How are they produced

The Sugar Association states that all types of sugar, including brown sugar and white sugar, have the same source of origin. Sugar juice is taken from sugar cane and sugar beet plants, after which it is cleaned, crystallized, and dried before it takes its final form. Different sugar variations are possible by making minor processing modifications and altering the molasses content. 

As a first step of the manufacturing process, the raw sugar juice is extracted, purified and subjected to heat treatment to form molasses which is a thick and concentrated sugar syrup. To produce white sugar, the crystals are separated from the molasses by  subjecting them to centrifugation to produce granulated white sugar. In the process of creating crystallized white sugar, centrifugation entails spinning the sugar product rapidly to eliminate liquid and other impurities. It undergoes additional processing and refinement to get rid of any extra impurities and render the crystals smaller.

Brown sugar is produced through two mechanisms and is classified as unrefined whole brown sugar or refined brown sugar depending on the process. Refined brown sugar is what is produced when the molasses content is reintroduced back into the refined sugar. Unrefined whole brown sugar, on the other hand, is sugar that has undergone minimal processing and refinement in order to keep its molasses content.

Calorie content 

When making dietary decisions, it's crucial to take sugar's calories into account. While both white sugar and brown sugar have the same number of calories and sugars, there are a few little variations between the two. A nutritionist can provide guidance on the recommended daily intake of each type of sugar as part of a balanced diet. Based on the USDA nutritional data, here is a brief comparison of the caloric content of white and brown sugar.1


100 grams of white sugar contain 387 calories, 99.8 grams of sugar, and 100 grams of carbs. White sugar has 16 calories per teaspoon. Additionally, each teaspoon contains 4.2g of sugar.

Brown sugar

100 grams of brown sugar include 380 calories, 97 grams of sugar, and 98.1 grams of total carbohydrates. Brown sugar has 11 calories per teaspoon. Additionally, each teaspoon contains 2.9g of sugar. Brown sugar contains traces of calcium, iron, potassium, and other micronutrients.

Health benefits and risks of brown sugar

There are many advantages to using brown sugar as a sweetener, but it also has some possible drawbacks. It is considered to be the most widely used natural sweetener in the world, and in recent years, its popularity has grown dramatically. Brown sugar can be used in place of white sugar and has a distinctive flavor that can give depth to a variety of dishes.

For its antioxidant qualities and potential to reduce inflammation in the body, this kind of sugar is frequently lauded. Furthermore, research indicates that brown sugar could strengthen the immune system and enhance general health. Additionally, it helps relieve menstruation cramps. However, due to its high calorie content and propensity for tooth decay if not adequately regulated, brown sugar should be used in moderation like all sugars. Excessive usage of this type of sweetener can also result in weight gain or an increase in blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

Which is better, brown or white sugar?

We frequently seek advice from nutritional professionals when deciding what is best for our health. The choice between white and brown sugar, however, may not be as clear and simple.

Both varieties of sugar offer almost the same number of calories per teaspoon and are primarily made up of carbs, according to nutritionists. White sugar is produced by the refinement of cane or beet juice, whereas brown sugar is just white sugar that has been mixed with molasses to give it a darker shade and a slightly less sweet flavor than its counterpart. While calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium are present in higher concentrations in brown sugar, they are present in such ….???(incomplete sentence?)

It is preferable to consume little sugar and look for healthier alternatives because they are practically the same and pose a variety of health hazards.

Alternatives to sugar

From a nutritional point of view, neither brown nor white sugar are a healthy addition to the diet. Due to its high calorie content and tendency to raise the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses, excessive sugar consumption can be hazardous to human health. Fortunately, those who want to cut back on their sugar intake have a multitude of alternatives. The substitutes in most cases carry a sweet taste with fewer or no calories. These substitutes are becoming more commonly accepted in the culinary community and offer a healthier option for people trying to reduce their sugar consumption.

Since they include more vitamins and nutrients than refined sugars like white and brown varieties, nutritionists advise choosing unprocessed sweeteners like honey or agave syrup instead. However, both are nutritionally equal to refined sugars, and excessive consumption has the same detrimental effects on health as consuming excessive amounts of brown or white sugar, but they are a better choice because they include antioxidants and certain other beneficial micronutrients.2,3

Artificial sweeteners are calorie- and nutrient-free sugar substitutes that are substantially sweeter than sugar. They are usually regarded as safe for consumption and are under FDA regulation. Due to medical ailments and concerns about their weight, they are greatly desired by those on a sugar-restricted diet. These include, among others, aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose.

Aside from being calorie-free and not contributing to weight gain or blood sugar rises, plant-based or innovative sweeteners are also devoid of calories. These include stevia and monk fruit, which are also less processed than artificial sweeteners.


According to nutritionists, brown sugar has a few more calories per gram than white sugar, but the added calcium, potassium, and iron in brown sugar may more than make up for this small difference. Moreover, white sugar has undergone far more processing than its colored counterpart due to the bleaching process, even though they both originate from the same plant (sugar cane or sugar beet). Some individuals feel that utilizing brown sugar is always a superior option because it preserves more nutritional content than white sugar due to this additional processing step.

Overall, sugar, whether white or brown, is a calorie-dense food with minimal nutritional value that should be limited to no more than 10% of daily calories intake, per the dietary recommendations. Where necessary opt for sweeteners instead of sugars.


  1. Nutrition Comparison: White Sugar Vs Brown Sugar [Internet]. Soupersage. Available from:
  2. Schramm DD, Karim M, Schrader HR, Holt RR, Cardetti M, Keen CL. Honey with high levels of antioxidants can provide protection to healthy human subjects. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry [Internet]. 2003 Mar 12;51(6):1732–5. Available from:
  3. i L, Seeram NP. Further investigation into maple syrup yields 3 new lignans, a new phenylpropanoid, and 26 other phytochemicals. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2011 Jul 27;59(14):7708–16.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Sidra Irfan

Bachelors of Dental Surgery, Dentistry, Lahore Medical & Dental College, Pakistan

Sidra is a general dentist who enjoys writing in general but particularly enjoys compiling health tech innovation and patient awareness material. She is an equal healthcare access advocate who is currently engaged in research and public health. She also works as a medical, health, and wellness SEO content writer.

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