Everybody loves sugar. Be it in delicacies or in beverages, sugar sweetens up our lives and raises our mood. But when you actually have a choice, which type of sugar should you pick? Is brown sugar healthier than white sugar or is this just a myth?
Let’s take this step by step. First of all…
What is brown sugar?
The 2 major sources of sugar are sugar beets and sugarcanes. After harvesting and processing those, the result we get is called raw sugar and it consists of large brownish crystals. Be patient, this is not brown sugar. Raw sugar needs to undergo further refining in order to remove the molasses. The process includes the melting of raw sugar into liquid, the chemical removal of the impurities and color and the concentration of the syrup by boiling and cooling till its final crystallization. This crystallized product is called refined white sugar.
Depending on the degree of the refining, there are several other types of sugar. More specifically, Demerara and Turbinado sugar are minimally refined, with the latter having a delicate caramel flavor. On the contrary Muscovado, Panela and Jaggery are unrefined types of sugar.
“But what do all these have to do with brown sugar?”, you may ask. Well, it’s simple. Brown sugar is actually the mixture of refined white sugar with molasses. These molasses give the sugar the characteristic brownish color and lumpy texture.
Now that we know what brown sugar is, let’s go back to the original question.
Is brown sugar healthier than white sugar?
Well…not really. Granted, brown sugar contains certain minerals, such as potassium, iron, magnesium and calcium, as opposed to white sugar. This is because of the molasses that are present in brown sugar. The thing is, though, that these minerals are in tiny amounts which means that there is no real health benefit to using brown sugar. Meanwhile, the caloric value of the two types of sugar is pretty much the same, as shown by USDA. So, in the end, the only real difference is the taste.
The bottom line
Brown and white sugar are two types of sugar that differ in taste but not in nutritional value. So, the next time you face this dilemma, feel free to let your tongue make the call.