Is Brown Sugar Good for You?

There has been so much said about the health effects of refined sugar that people think twice before buying a bag of white sugar. In order to avoid white sugar, they look for alternatives, and many opt for brown sugar, thinking it might be a bit healthier. Some even go for evaporated cane juice. The question is, are these natural sugars better than refined sugar? Or is brown sugar good and a better option? Let's find out more about it.

Is Brown Sugar Good for You?

Unfortunately, brown sugar is not any better than white sugar. Even though the color is different, you are still consuming refined sugar. Manufacturers use the word "brown" and "raw" to make people think that they are buying something better, but that is not the reality.

Through a process, they attach molasses to brown sugar, which is why it is considered a bit less refined than white sugar. Even though it has a very small amount of molasses, there are essentially no nutrients left in them. In fact, you have to eat nine teaspoon of brown sugar to get the same amount of calcium and iron that you would get from a slice of whole-wheat bread.

It is important to point out that brown sugar does not contain as many calories as you find in white sugar, but that is only due to the presence of water–100g of brown sugar has 373 calories, whereas the same amount of white sugar has 396 calories. However, it does not make a huge difference in the real world when you use a few tablespoons of brown sugar–you get 48 calories from a tablespoon of brown sugar and 45 calories from the same amount of white sugar.

Nutrition Facts of Brown Sugar

To answer "is brown sugar good for you", it makes sense to have a closer look at the nutrition facts of brown sugar. A 100g serving of brown sugar provides you with about 380 calories. Eat more than this and it will seriously hamper your weight loss efforts. Here is what else you will find in a 100g serving of brown sugar.



Total fat – trans fat and saturated fat

0 g


0 mg


98 g


28 mg


97 g


83 mg


0.7 mg


1.2 mcg


133 mg

How Much Sugar Can You Have?

According to the World Health Organization, you should not consume sugars more than 10% of your calories. It means that for an average-sized adult, 10% of calories is around 50g of sugar or 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar. According to the American Heart Association, you should limit your sugar intake to 5% of your calories.

Other Sugars You Need to Avoid

Is brown sugar good for you? Sadly, it is not. Is it the only type of sugar to avoid? The answer is no again. There are other sugars to avoid, such as the following:

1. Agave Nectar

Also called agave syrup, it is considered healthy mainly because of its low glycemic index, which means it does not lead to a rapid spike in blood sugar. Still, it has a large amount of fructose that can be harmful and even lead to insulin resistance over time. Interestingly, regular sugar is 50% fructose, whereas agave is up to 90% fructose.

2. Raw Organic Cane Sugar

Do not let the word "raw" deceive you because it is still sugar and is often processed differently but that does not change its chemical composition. Your body cannot tell the difference between raw organic cane sugar and regular white sugar–it breaks it down in the digestive tract and produce fructose and glucose that affect your metabolism. If you do not want to eat white sugar, you should also say no to raw organic cane sugar.

3. Evaporated Cane Juice

Again, it is just another fancy name for regular white sugar. Food manufacturers use these terms to deceive you and to make you think you are opting for a healthier alternative to sugar. Your body cannot differentiate between evaporated cane juice and regular white sugar when it reaches your liver and intestine. It processes it the same way it processes regular sugar, so you will still be dealing with harmful effects of sugar.

4. Coconut Sugar

Derived from the sap of the coconut plant, coconut sugar does contain a small amount of nutrients and fiber and is quite low on glycemic index. Unfortunately, it is quite high in fructose just like agave nectar. It actually contains up to 80% of sucrose, which is half fructose. It means the fructose content of coconut sugar can be up to 45%, which is still quite high. Still, gram for gram, you can say that coconut sugar is not as bad as regular sugar is.

5. Honey

It contains some antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients, but is 80% sugar. Still, many studies have confirmed that honey is not as harmful for your metabolism as regular sugar is. It means you can have honey in moderation if you do not have any existing health conditions. Just keep in mind that even though it is less harmful, it will make losing weight a tad difficult. 

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