While you should generally limit your intake of both brown and white sugar, you may have heard that brown sugar is better for you. While brown sugar may contain slightly more essential nutrients than white sugar, it isn’t necessarily healthy.
What is Brown Sugar?
Brown sugar is simply white sugar mixed with molasses. Therefore, brown sugar can hold its shape like wet sand, while white sugar cannot. Raw sugar is also generally brown in color, and forms when the juice of sugar cane evaporates. However, many people refer to brown sugar as granulated white sugar with molasses added to it.
Is Brown Sugar Really Better?
Molasses and brown sugar do contain more essential nutrients that white sugar, so choosing brown sugar over white is technically healthier. For example, a tablespoon of molasses is a good source of dietary potassium — and provides small amounts of calcium, magnesium and B vitamins. However, the amount of these essential nutrients you’d be getting from brown sugar is very small and won’t do much to meet your daily nutrient needs. Furthermore, just like white sugar, molasses and brown sugar are added sugars that should be limited in your diet as much as possible to avoid unwanted weight gain and increased chronic disease risks.
Brown sugar and white sugar both contain about the same number of calories per serving. A teaspoon of packed brown sugar provides 17 calories and 1 teaspoon of white sugar contains 16 calories. One gram of sugar provides 4 calories. So, if you’re looking for ways to cut calories, choosing brown sugar over white sugar won’t be beneficial.
How Much Sugar is too much?
To maximize your health and lower risks for unwanted weight gain and chronic diseases, limit added sugars — including white sugar, brown sugar, and molasses — as much as possible. It is recommended to limit added sugars to 50 calories or less per day.