White Sugar or Brown Sugar? Which Should You Choose?

White Sugar or Brown Sugar? Which Should You Choose?


White Sugar or Brown Sugar? Which Should You Choose?

Organic Lifestyle

First difference between brown sugar and white sugar: Nutrition

Sugar, irrespective of its colour, is manufactured from the same crop, either sugar beet or sugarcane plant [1]. Most of the brown sugar is made by mixing white sugar and molasses, which is the main reason behind its dark colour. The molasses is also responsible for slightly raising the nutritional value of brown sugar.

The biggest difference between brown sugar and white sugar is that brown sugar has higher calcium, iron, and potassium content compared with its white counterpart. However, these contents are almost insignificant, making it not a great source of minerals or vitamins.

In terms of calories, brown sugar contains fewer in comparison to white sugar, even though the difference is marginal. Here is the nutritional difference between brown and white sugar:

White Sugar Brown Sugar
Nutrition facts (Per Teaspoon Protein 0 0
Fat 0 0
Carbs 4g 3g
Calories 16 KCAL 12 KCAL
Glycemic index 65 65
Vitamins 0 0
Minerals 0 Available in significant amounts

Source: Practo

The above table shows that the difference between sugar and brown sugar isn’t much. It is only the taste and the colour that create a noticeable difference between the two.

Second Difference Between Brown Sugar and White Sugar: Use in Culinary

It is a known fact that sugar is widely used in baking and cooking. However, culinary masters would advise you to not use the two interchangeably, since doing so can impact the texture, colour, and flavour of your baked dessert.

Brown sugar has molasses that retain moisture while baking, making your cakes and cookies softer and denser. That is why it isn’t used much for baking. On the contrary, white sugar is popularly used in baking since it is lighter and allows more air to reach the dough. For this very reason, most baked products like mousses, souffles, and cakes are made of white sugar. On the other hand, brown sugar is used to make dense products like zucchini bread, cookies, glazes, and barbecue sauces.

3rd Difference Between Brown Sugar and White Sugar: Flavor and Color

As mentioned at the start of this article, the main difference between brown sugar and white sugar is their colour and flavour profile. If you replace white sugar with the brown one in your dishes, expect a light-caramel colour and a slightly different flavour. So, if you want your food to look its original colour, then we recommend you to use white sugar. Brown sugar is mostly added while making chocolate or plum cakes since it has a toffee-like flavour and adds a rich brown colour to the already dark cakes.

Also, white sugar is sweeter than its brown counterpart, and that is why a small quantity can give you the desired taste. Due to its neutral flavour, it is a versatile and popular baking ingredient, going well with pastries and fruit sponges alike.

Image source: Preppy Kitchen

How is Brown Sugar Made?

The difference between brown sugar and white sugar is also how brown sugar made. When white sugar is extracted out of sugarcane plants, the molasses is separated and removed. This molasses is then mixed with white sugar to create refined brown sugar.

On the other hand, unrefined brown sugar is the one that contains some molasses from the original sugar making process. There are several other types of brown sugar available in the market. Here is a list of some popular types of brown sugar:

Unrefined Sugar

Unrefined sugar is a kind of brown sugar that retains some nutrients like magnesium and iron. The crystals are usually bigger and have a light golden colour. Unrefined sugar tastes like honey and is free from sulfur, a key chemical used for removing impurities from sugar.

Demerara Sugar

Demerara sugar is a partially processed variety of brown sugar and is commonly used in baking. It has a caramel taste and is light brown in colour.

Dark Brown Sugar

This variant has more molasses that gives it extra brown colour and flavour.

Image source: Mother would know

The Verdict: Which Sugar is better?

The difference between brown sugar and white sugar is almost insignificant. While it is true that the brown sugar has slightly fewer calories and more minerals, the overall nutritional differences are marginal and don’t provide any noticeable health benefits. In other words, regardless of the type of sugar you choose, it is all about the colour, taste, and flavour that you’d like to have in your dessert.

Also, sugar is known to cause several diseases, including obesity and chronic ailments such as type 2 diabetes and heart problems [2, 3, 4]. Therefore, the intake of any type of processed sugar should be restricted or cut down completely to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Looking at the difference between brown sugar and white sugar, one thing is clear, both types of sugar can are equally harmful when consumed in excess. The debate of whether brown sugar is healthier than its white counterpart is just a marketing tactic since you’ll end up consuming the same amount of calories.


Brown and white sugar are the most common types of sugar. Yet, there is no noticeable nutritional difference between brown sugar and white sugar. Choosing between the two boils down to personal taste and preferences. Both types of sugar are nutritionally similar and have similar health effects. So, whatever you plan to incorporate in your diet, make sure to limit your daily sugar intake as eating in excess can have adverse effects on your health.

Try 24 Mantra Organic’s Brown Sugar/Demerara Sugar and feel the goodness inside!

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