Is Brown Sugar Healthy?

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Christina Ross
Christina Ross
I'm a human being on planet earth. I've lived hundreds of lifetimes. In this incarnation I'm here to advance medicine.

Any brown food, be it bread, rice, or sugar, is normally recommended by the doctors. It’s said they have nutritional benefits that white food doesn’t. However, we have found that oftentimes, these said healthy food items are nothing but misconceptions or marketing tactics.

In this article, we will dive deep into the facts and myths to give you a clear idea about the much-argued topic; is brown sugar healthy or not. If you’re interested in learning about what exactly you’re consuming or what to actually consume, do continue reading.

A Little Bit About Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is a type of sugar that is created using the juice of sugar cane or sometimes sugar beets. In the case of natural brown sugar, it gets its color because of the molasses present in the sugar. On the other hand, some companies coat water sugar with molasses to turn it into brown sugar.

Light brown sugar comprises 3.5% molasses, while dark brown sugar comprises 6.5% molasses. That being said, commercially made brown sugar may include up to 10% of molasses. No matter how the sugar is produced, it usually consists of around 85% sucrose.

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Types of Brown Sugar

is brown sugar healthier

Most people are also aware of light and dark brown sugar. But in reality, there are many other variations. Given below, you’ll learn about the different types of brown sugar available:

Natural Brown Sugar:

Natural brown sugar is created when the natural molasses is kept in the blend of the crystallized sugar. This kind of sugar is sweet, has a lightly caramelized taste, and generally is more effective than white sugar. 

Light Brown Sugar:

This kind of sugar is usually commercially made where white sugar is coated with molasses to give it the color and taste of brown sugar. It has about 3-3.5% molasses added; hence the color is light.

Dark Brown Sugar:

Similar to light brown sugar, this too is created by incorporating molasses into water sugar. However, the percentage of molasses included is 6-6.5; thereby, it is darker in color and stronger in flavor.

Muscovado Sugar:

Also known as Barbados sugar or Khandsari is another type of natural brown sugar that undergoes the least amount of refinery. 

Muscovado is known as the darkest brown sugar and has the most intense flavor and a moist, wet sand-like texture. 

This is because the sugar is allowed to dry slowly and naturally under the sun, which stops the molasses from drying out. 

Demerara Sugar:

Similar to Muscovado sugar, Demerara sugar is also a natural brown sugar. However, this type of sugar is dehydrated using a centrifuge, resulting in a lighter color and milder molasses flavor.

Turbinado Sugar:

This sugar is very similar to the Demerara as they undergo a very similar process; however, the turbinado is kept in the centrifuge a little longer. This results in the Turbinado bearing a taste that is more caramelly and honey-like.

Nutritional Chart

The following will you like an idea of what an average teaspoon of brown sugar covers:

  • 17 calories
  • 1mg sodium
  • 5gm carbohydrates
  • 0gm fat
  • 0gm cholesterol 
  • 0gm protein

Health Advantages of Using Brown Sugar

is light brown sugar healthy

Here, you will learn about the different benefits and brown sugar:

01. Good for Digestion:

The nutrition included in the molasses helps to relieve digestive issues. For instance, if you mix warm water, ginger, and brown sugar, you can fight against constipation.

02. Aids Weight Loss:

Not only does brown sugar have fewer calories than water sugar, but the presence of molasses also helps boost metabolism. The molasses also helps to curb hunger and keeps you feeling full for longer.

03. Relieves Period Cramps:

Brown sugar contains potassium that helps fight against muscle cramps and relieves the pain. We recommend mixing brown sugar in chamomile or ginger tea for the best effects.

04. Works As an Antiseptic:

Elements in brown sugar enable it to have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Thus, it has the ability to fight bacteria and infection inside your body. Similarly, you can also use brown sugar when you have a cut to avert infection while also boosting the healing procedure. 

05. Fights Breathing and Allergy Problems:

The anti-allergic properties included in this sugar help to fight against allergies and different types of breathing issues, including asthma. 

06. Improves Skin Condition:

The presence of micronutrients such as pantothenic acid, niacin, vitamin B-6, and other minerals in brown sugar helps to give you healthier skin and acts as an anti-aging component. You can also use it when making scrubs; it helps to gently remove blocked pores and dead skin without being too harsh on your skin.

07. Aids with Post-Delivery Recovery:

Not only does brown sugar help with cramps and discomforts felt by women during pregnancy, but it also helps with post-delivery recovery. It replenishes moisture, gives a surge of energy, and helps to prevent anemia as it has iron.

Health Disadvantages of Using Brown Sugar

Let’s get acquainted with the drawbacks here –

Irregular Heartbeat:

In case you are suffering from high blood sugar, intaking a lot of brown sugar can affect your heart rate and cause dehydration, fatigue, and irregular heartbeat. Thus, your consumption should be moderate; we’ll still suggest that you consult a doctor before starting.

Increases Blood Sugar Level:

Despite being calorie efficient, it can still affect one’s blood sugar level as white sugar does. Thus, people who are suffering from diabetes should be especially cautious about having brown sugar. 


Excessive sugar intake triggers the production of fatty acids in your liver. Inflammation is triggered when your body digests these fatty acids. Thus, if you consume excess brown sugar, you risk joint and muscle inflammation.

Weakens Your Bones:

Brown sugar may also increase the risk of osteoporosis and harms the formation of your bones by decreasing osteoblast proliferation. 

Is Brown Sugar Healthy?

Is Brown Sugar Healthy

In a broader sense, it is definitely a lot healthier than white sugar and does have a lot of health benefits. However, just like any other substance that’s not naturally found, it does have some drawbacks – especially when consumed in large amounts. 

All in all, while we will recommend you to switch from white to brown sugar, we will also advise you to consult your doctor about the quantity to consume.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does brown sugar make you gain weight?

It definitely won’t make you gain weight like white sugar, but at the end of the day, it still is sugar. So, if your intake is high, it will make you gain weight.

Which is healthier brown sugar or honey?

Brown sugar has more GI value than honey. That means brown sugar is able to increase sugar levels in the blood more quickly. Thus, honey is healthier than sugar. 

How can I sweeten without sugar?

You can use honey or Stevia instead. 

Final Words

So, is brown sugar healthy? The answer to that question isn’t a simple yes or no. It depends on how much you eat and whether you have any health conditions that are made worse by eating sugar. But, in general, consuming moderate amounts of brown sugar is unlikely to cause any harm.

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