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Brown Sugar vs. White Sugar: Know The Key Differences

Brown vs. White Sugar

When it comes to sweet­eners, health-c­onscious individuals often find themselves confused between brown sugar and white sugar. Nowadays, there are different types of sweet­eners available in the market, ranging from sugar-free healthy altern­atives to artificial sweeteners. However, it causes lots of chaos among people about which one to include in their diet. So, let’s explore the brown sugar vs. white sugar comparison.

The basics: brown sugar vs. white sugar

Brown sugar and white sugar both originate from either sugarcane or sugar beets. However, their differences lie in the way they are processed and compo­sed.


During the production process, there is a crucial step that involves separ­ating sugar crystals from molasses. Molasses sugar refers to a thick and dark brown syrup naturally found in sugar beet and sugar cane plants. 

White sugar undergoes extensive refining and proce­ssing to remove molasses and impur­ities, resulting in the creation of crysta­lline, granu­lated sugar. This processed form is widely used in coffee and baking applications.

In contrast, brown sugar retains its molasses content, infusing it with a distinct flavour and colour. The presence of this molasses gives brown sugar its signature slightly caramel taste and deeper hue.

brown sugar

Nutritional differences

White and brown sugar have almost similar calorie contents. Brown sugar contains approximately 380 calories per 100 grams, while white sugar has around 385 calories per 100 grams.

When considering the nutri­tional content, brown sugar has a slight advantage. It contains more calcium, with 83 milli­grams per 100 grams, compared to just 1 milligram per 100 grams in white sugar. Additionally, brown sugar has slightly higher amounts of minerals like iron.

It's worth noting that the differences in mineral content become insign­ificant when considering the small amounts typically used in recipes. Both brown and white sugar are often referred to as "empty calor­ies," lacking significant nutri­tional value.

The Dietary Guide­lines for Americans recommend limiting added sugar intake to less than 10% of daily calorie consumption. If you consume 2,000 calories daily, you should not consume more than 200 calories from added sugars. A helpful approx­imation is about 12 teaspoons of sugar.

Culinary uses

White and brown sugar each have unique culinary applications. While they can be used interch­angeably at times, it's important to consider that such substi­tution may affect the colour, flavour, and texture of your food.

Brown sugar possesses a remar­kable ability to retain moisture due to its molasses content. When added to recipes, it tends to yield baked goods that are soft and dense in texture. For example, cookies made with brown sugar acquire a moist and chewy quality. In contrast, the use of white sugar contr­ibutes to baked goods that rise more, allowing more air into the dough and resulting in a lighter, airier textu­re.

In recipes that require adequate rising, white sugar takes the stage. It espec­ially shines in delicate treats like merin­gues, mousses, souffles, and other fluffy baked goods. The ability of white sugar to create a light and airy texture makes it an ideal choice for these confect­ions.

On the other hand, when it comes to recipes that require a denser texture like zucchini bread and rich, chewy cookies, brown sugar takes the lead. Its unique prope­rties enhance the flavours of these irresi­stible delights.

white sugar


Brown sugar is often preferred over white sugar due to its higher calcium content. It's essential to note that both types of sugar primarily contribute to the taste and texture of baked goods, providing limited nutri­tional benefits. Therefore, following the advice of the U.S. government is advisable. They recommend restr­icting added sugar intake to no more than 10% of daily calorie consumption.

For indiv­iduals seeking to create healthier sweet treats, there are nutri­tious altern­atives avail­able. Two excellent options include eryth­ritol and stevia sugar, which provide sweetness without the added calories. Another approach is to add mashed fruit or cinnamon into baking as subst­itutes for traditional sugars. Not only do these substi­tutions cater to a sweet tooth, but they also align with a more health-c­onscious approach to baking and cooki­ng.