Is Brown Sugar Healthy? Sweet White Vs. Brown Sugar Health War!

Brown sugar is just white sugar that has been processed with molasses. Still, it is believed that brown sugar is healthier than white sugar and artificial sweeteners. So, is brown sugar healthy?

As a matter of fact, there are no significant health benefits associated with taking brown sugar. Anyhow, since it is processed with molasses, it has notable content of iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Despite the traditional view of brown sugar, the nutritional profiles of brown and white sugar are quite similar. However, brown sugar does have some nutrients and minerals that white sugar lacks.

Here are the facts about white vs brown sugar and whether brown sugar is a healthier choice.

Brown Sugar – Overview

Brown sugar is a sucrose-containing product. Generally, it has brown shades and tan due to the presence of molasses. Typically, it tastes like crystallized molasses. Light brown sugar tastes milder and less complex than dark brown sugar, while dark brown sugar tastes similar to caramel toffee. 

Brown sugar is produced extensively in major sugar-producing countries, such as Europe, Australia, the Caribbean, South Africa, Brazil, and some parts of the United States. 

Often, brown sugar is produced by processing sugarcane molasses with refined white sugar crystals. It is a cost-friendly method of manufacturing. When manufactured in this way, brown sugar is coarser than its unrefined counterpart, and molasses can be separated from white sugar by simply washing the crystals. 

On the other hand, when unrefined brown sugar is washed, the molasses content causes the crystals to appear off-white due to a lack of purity.

The use of brown sugar in cooking and baking is quite common. Bakeries use it widely to impart a dark sweetness to baked goods. Moreover, it enhances the taste of glazes, sweet sauces, and savory dishes. 

is-brown-sugar-healthy

Is Brown Sugar Healthy?

Is brown sugar healthy? Brown sugar has a reputation for being healthy. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. But is brown sugar bad for you? No, it isn’t true either!

Brown sugar has the same nutritional profile and health benefits as white sugar, except for some minerals. Anyhow, the nutritional content is as low as you can not benefit from it. However, it has a significant amount of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium that white sugar doesn’t have!

As brown sugar is the carbohydrates, just like other sugars, it provides energy to your brain and body. But excess carbohydrates may be stored as fat in your body. So, you should limit your sugar intake.

Health Benefits of Brown Sugar

Limited studies have shown that brown sugar by itself has health benefits. However, brown sugar is an excellent additive that provides energy and encourages healthier eating by enhancing flavor. 

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Following are the few brown sugar benefits that you should know!

Brown Sugar Promotes Kids’ Growth

Mostly, kids are picky about eating. Sometimes they don’t like what they eat or refuse to eat. This condition makes them deficient in calories; consequently, they become malnourished. Children who resist eating or have a limited plate can benefit from bridge foods by becoming more adventurous and willing eaters. 

Adding brown sugar to foods that kids might avoid, such as oatmeal or vegetables, can make their diet more nutritious and prevent malnutrition and stunted growth.

Manages Low Blood Sugar Levels

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar level happens when your body’s sugar level drops below 70 mg/dL. Low blood sugar can happen to anyone, but people with diabetes are more likely to experience it. 

Low blood sugar can result in anxiety and decreased energy, among other unpleasant symptoms. Brown sugar, a fast-acting source of glucose, helps you if you have low blood sugar.

Brown Sugar Can Be Used As an Exfoliant

Brown sugar has great benefits on the skin; it acts as an exfoliant. Despite Epsom salt or sea salt, it is more gentle to the skin. It is easily accessible, inexpensive, and ideal for sensitive skin. It naturally cleanses the skin and removes the dead skin. Not only that, but it also helps keep the skin hydrated and promotes healthy circulation.

brown-sugar-as-exfoliant

Brown Sugar Acts As An Energy Booster

Like white and other ordinary sugar, brown sugar is also a simple carbohydrate. So, it offers a quick energy boost. It breaks down instantly as glucose for energy when the body demands it. Anyhow, it is not a unique property; a variety of sugars can provide instant energy.

Brown Sugar Helps You Lose Weight

The number of calories in brown sugar is not much. Furthermore, its molasses content makes it a good choice for weight loss without losing the food’s sweetness. In any case, it’s sugar, so keep it to a minimum. Otherwise, you will gain weight rather than lose it.

Brown Sugar Is Safe For Pregnant Women

Brown sugar is safe to consume during pregnancy, but only in moderation. It has been found that molasses sugar can aid in recovery after delivery and alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with pregnancy.

However, overindulgence can be harmful to a mother’s health. For example, gestational diabetes and birth defects can happen. The same is true for white sugar!

Brown Sugar Can Alleviate Flatulence

Brown sugar, particularly molasses, is strongly associated with flatulence relief. Furthermore, using brown sugar instead of other sugars may result in easier digestion. Although passing gas is not harmful to one’s health, it can be insulting.

Disadvantages of Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is thought to be healthier than other sweeteners by the majority of people. Technically, it is correct because of the molasses content, which contains its own set of essential minerals. However, it contains so little molasses that these nutrients are unlikely to provide significant health benefits to its users.

brown-sugar-disadvantages

Typically, brown sugar is just as bad for your health as white sugar. Excess consumption of brown sugar increases the risk of obesity, cardiac disease, cancer, inflammation, diabetes type II, and other chronic diseases. But, when consumed in moderation, brown sugar won’t harm your health, but you shouldn’t eat it regularly!

Some Mild Side Effects of Brown Sugar

Following are the few short-term side effects of using brown sugar:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased palpation
  • Increased insulin production
  • Inflammation
  • High blood sugar level
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Fat buildup
  • Irritability
  • Frustration
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite

Possible Chronic Negative Effects of Brown Sugar

Long-term and excess use of brown sugar may damage your health. Following are some long-term effects of brown sugar on health:

Is Brown Sugar Healthy For Diabetes?

Traditionally, people believe that brown sugar is healthy for diabetic patients. However, it is not true! Although brown sugar is different in taste and texture from white sugar, both have the same effect on the blood sugar level. Both can contribute to a spike in the sugar level. 

Brown sugar is primarily composed of table sugar or sucrose. Sucrose scores 65 on the glycemic index (GI). This index indicates the degree to which certain foods raise blood sugar levels, based on a scale from 0 to 100. The same kind of blood sugar spike is caused by sweet potatoes, French fries, and popcorn.

Therefore, taking brown sugar for diabetes health is not beneficial, even it can increase the risk of a sugar spike. To ensure optimal health, everyone is advised to limit sugar intake, especially those with this condition.

People with diabetes need to manage their blood sugar levels. You can naturally manage your blood sugar level by moderating the intake of sugar-rich products and carbs. It will minimize the risk of diabetic complications as well. 

Is Brown Sugar Healthier Than White Sugar?

The damaging effects of eating white sugar regularly have been discussed and written about extensively. Due to all the negative publicity, its darker cousin brown sugar has appeared so much more attractive. But is brown sugar a healthier alternative to white sugar?

Brown sugar is indeed significantly different in taste and texture from white sugar, but both share the same nutritional profile, except for some minerals and nutrients.

Sugar TypeBrownWhite
Portion Size1 tsp (3g)1 tsp (2.8g)
Calories 1111
Total Carbohydrates 2.9g2.8g
Sugars 2.9g2.8g
Total Fat0g0g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 mg
Protein 0g0g
Dietary Fiber0g0g
Sodium0.8 mg0 mg
Potassium 4 mg0.1 mg
Iron0.1%0%
Calcium0.2%0%

Therefore, we can say that brown sugar contains slightly more nutrients than white and marginally fewer calories than sweet white granules. But it has a minor difference that is insignificant! 

brown-sugar-vs-white-sugar

Despite the nutritional content and color, the preparation method of both is different. Sugar is white when it is purified by removing molasses, which is a brown syrup. In contrast, brown sugar is produced by combining white sugar with molasses or by lessening processing to preserve the molasses.

Anyhow, both are used for cooking and baking purposes. However, brown sugar gives a unique color and flavor to cooked or baked goods. But, since both are sugar, they are not good for health, so you should take them in moderation. 

Healthy Alternatives

Brown and white sugars give a sweet flavor to foods and beverages. But we know that we can not take it in excess. Fortunately, there are some better alternatives than brown and white sugar that won’t affect your health while maintaining the dish’s sweetness.

Following are the few healthier alternatives of traditional sugars:

  • Honey 
  • Molasses 
  • Maple syrup
  • Monk fruit extract
  • Sugar alcohols (maltitol, erythritol, and xylitol)
  • fruit purées
  • Stevia 
  • Allulose
  • Dates 
  • Applesauce 
  • Yacon syrup

FAQs

Question: Is dark brown sugar bad for you?

Answer: As for refined white sugar, frequent use of dark brown sugar is also terrible for you. Dark brown sugar has double the content of molasses as light brown sugar. Therefore, it has more minerals and nutrients than regular brown sugar. However, high intake can lead to a spike in blood sugar, yeast infection, and weight gain. So, limit its consumption!

Question: Is brown sugar healthy for weight loss?

Answer: To lose weight better and faster, you should focus on the calories you’re taking. Brown sugar has fewer calories. Moreover, it boosts the metabolism rate; thus, it benefits weight loss. However, taking brown sugar in excess can lead to weight gain and fat buildup. Therefore, how many calories you take is more important.

Question: Is brown sugar healthy for the heart?

Answer: Brown sugar does not contain cholesterol; therefore, it can not raise the cholesterol level in the body. However, it can increase the heart rate and increase the risk of heart disease. Therefore, you should take it in moderation as it is pure carbohydrate.

Conclusion

In the end, if you ask, “is brown sugar healthy” I’d say that it depends on how much your sugar intake is. 

Despite its unique flavor and soft texture, it has similar nutritional content with refined white sugar. Therefore, you should limit its intake. Otherwise, you may get certain health conditions, in which obesity and high blood glucose level is the most prominent.

Aneeza Pervez

Aneeza Pervez

Hello, I'm Aneeza Pervez, I am a certified psychologist. Writing about mental health, wellness and a healthy lifestyle is something I specialize in. I also enjoy traveling, reading, entertaining, and composing. As a health advocate, I create content that educates people about how to be healthy. Health is wealth, so do your best to keep it!

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