What is the difference between brown sugar and white sugar?

Many of us wonder whether it is better to consume brown sugar or white sugar. Sugar has become in recent years one of the substances responsible for various diseases such as diabetes, obesity, dental caries, among others, as indicated by the WHO.

This is why its consumption is of concern and we want to be informed of the best options when it comes to sweetening our meals or when buying processed foods.


Recommended amount of sugar ingested

Calculating daily sugar intake is not easy because we can control the amount we add to our meals, but not the amount found in purchased foods and beverages, processed and packaged foods. Most likely, we exceed the recommended doses without realizing it.

Children are the most exposed since they are the ones who consume the most industrial products, such as cereals, yoghurts, biscuits, ice cream and sweets.

The recommended daily dose of sugar is 5 dessert teaspoons. But we also need to know which type of sugar is the healthiest.

Brown sugar vs white sugar

The differences between the two types of sugar from a chemical and nutritional point of view are minimal. White sugar is 99% sucrose, while brown sugar is between 85% and 95%.

Some studies indicate that brown, due to its lower processing and refinement, provides B vitamins, as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, basically for this reason it is generally considered healthier. But the quantities do not make a difference in our body.

From the point of view of the WHO, to take care of our health, we should not exceed 25 grams per day, regardless of the type of sugar we consume.

The differences are obviously in color, flavor and intensity, with white being the sweetest, while brown has a more caramelized taste and is a bit stronger.

The texture is also somewhat different, white sugar is finer than brown sugar which tends to be grainy.

Compared to caloric intake, a teaspoon of white sugar provides 16 kcal while a spoon of brown sugar provides 17 kcal.

Much of the brown sugar sold is nothing more than white sugar with molasses extract added to give it color.

And what about whole cane sugar?

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Whole cane sugar has undergone little or no transformation during its manufacturing process, which is why it is classified as raw sugar. This means that it almost entirely preserves the natural vitamins and minerals naturally present in sugar cane.

Its color is a natural and intense aroma. Its sweetening power compared to white sugar is less, which is why more is generally used.

Although it is not an “empty” sugar in terms of nutrients, it is still a food rich in sugars and calories, which should not be abused.

Conclusions on brown and white sugar

What is needed for better health is not a question of white or brown sugar, but to reduce the total amount of free sugars.

At the moment, the other alternatives to sugar are sweeteners, honey, stevia and syrups. However, the ideal is to reduce the general consumption of this carbohydrate to take care of your health.



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