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Is Brown Sugar More Nutritious Than White Sugar?

February 15th, 2008 · 7 Comments ·


It is true that brown bread is more nutritious than white bread. It is also true that brown rice is more nutritious than white rice. But, is it true that brown sugar is more nutritious than white sugar?

First of all, let’s understand what brown sugar is. Brown sugar is simply white sugar with some coloring added either in the form of molasses or burnt sugar. Because of the added molasses, brown sugar contains slightly more nutritional value than white sugar, but not enough to make it any more valuable as a source of nutrients. Therefore, brown sugar offers no significant nutritional advantages. Molasses is a thick dark brown liquid made from sugar plants which is used in cooking.


So, the next time you sprinkle brown sugar on your cereal or stir it into your tea or coffee thinking that you are getting some added benefit compared to using white sugar, you are actually not doing better. Brown sugar has a slightly lower caloric value by weight than white sugar due to the presence of water. One hundred grams of brown sugar contains 373 calories, as opposed to 396 calories in white sugar. However, brown sugar packs more densely than white sugar due to the smaller crystal size and therefore may have more calories when measured by volume.

So, do not be disillusioned just because the brown version of things like bread, pasta and rice are better for you. That is because those foods are unrefined and contain more vitamins, minerals and fiber than the white version.


Sugar can be thought of as ‘empty calories’ as it does not provide any vitamins or minerals – only calories, which is why it is bad news for those of us watching our weight.

At the end of the day, sugar is sugar, be it brown or white, and it is all going to end up in the one or two places – which will more than likely be on your tummy or hips if you do not burn it off.

Updated on “Raw Sugar” Inquiry
Since few have mentioned “Raw Sugar”, let me take the opportunity to add on.

Raw sugar is actually produced in the initial stages of white sugar’s manufacturing process. So, it is coarser than white sugar and is brownish in color. Manufacturers partially refine raw sugar to remove impurities. Because it is less refined, raw sugar does retain some of the natural mineral and vitamin content in sugarcane juice, but not in significant amount.


Regardless the type of sugar, there is little difference in how our bodies use it. Once sugar is taken, it is quickly absorbed into blood stream. When whole foods such as fruit are eaten, sugar is released slowly into blood stream.

So, raw sugar is not really “raw”, just that less refined. It still does not provide any significant health benefit and therefore not to misled by marketing gimmick.



Category: Nutrition

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7 responses so far ↓
  • Mintea // Feb 15, 2008 at 3:00 PM

    How about raw sugar that we find at those coffee places?

  • Jessie // Feb 15, 2008 at 11:41 PM

    YIKES! I’ve been guilty of buying brown sugar thinking it’s unrefined. But yeah, how about raw sugar? I take that now.

  • Mun // Feb 16, 2008 at 12:12 AM

    Hi Mintea and Jessie: Good question on raw sugar. I have clarified “raw sugar” in the post. Hope it helps.

  • Elvina // Feb 16, 2008 at 12:10 PM

    Mun, thanks for this information on sugar. I used to take brown sugar all the time, but guess it makes not much difference LoL The best way is just take sugar moderately =)

  • leThz // Jul 1, 2008 at 8:36 PM

    yah kOrEk gjuD 2n brOwn sugar id moRe nutritious but not refined got it.,.,

  • Matilda Ankrah // Mar 9, 2009 at 10:52 PM


  • mike thom // Jun 24, 2009 at 7:40 AM

    i was reading about raw sugar vs. white sugar. it said white sugar is bleached and they also add phrosporus acid to it.

    is this true? does raw sugar not have bleach?

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