Is Brown Sugar Better than White Sugar?

March 4, 2020
In this article, we'll show you why brown sugar and white sugar are practically the same, as well as their impact on human health.

In recent years, white table sugar has commonly been replaced with other substances that are apparently healthier. An example is brown sugar. But is brown sugar really better and healthier than white sugar?

Brown sugar is actually very similar to common table sugar; it’s simply processed a bit less. It maintains almost all the properties of common table sugar and its impact upon health is very similar. Therefore, it’s really not any healthier than white sugar.

Overall, this type of sugar contains a bit more fiber, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better than white sugar. If you compare it to other foods, it contains very little fiber. Moreover, the glycemic index and pancreatic response to ingestion are quite similar to that of white sugar.

Sugar in the food industry

Sugar is one of the products most commonly used in the food industry. It has antimicrobial properties, which means it improves food preservation. Also, it can improve organoleptic properties, making other foods more attractive.

However, sugar is connected to the manifestation of many complex diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. In recent years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended limiting its use to try to reduce the obesity rate.

One of the problems of systematically adding any type of sugar to products is the addiction it generates. Although it can be eaten occasionally when you live an active lifestyle, sugar has become one of the most consumed substances in the general population.

Brown sugar.

Keep reading: How to Reduce Sugar Consumption

The name doesn’t matter: Brown sugar is still sugar

Nowadays, and after the awareness campaign that was carried out regarding sugar intake, you can now find variants with different names. However, they’re all the same. Sugar is the main ingredient in all products such as brown sugar, raw cane sugar, honey, and coconut sugar. Although the systemic effect of all these products is quite similar, marketing tries to show a different reality. Therefore, it’s a good idea to reduce your consumption of all these foods.

Instead, it’s better to increase the consumption of low glycemic index carbohydrates and foods rich in fiber to ensure intestinal health. Also, it’s a great idea to increase your intake of essential fats within the framework of a normal-caloric diet.

One way to reduce your sugar consumption is to use artificial sweeteners. However, you shouldn’t abuse them. These products are usually tested in laboratories. However, experts still don’t know the long-term side effects of all of them.

Find out more here: Excessive Salt or Sugar Intake: Which Is Worse for Your Health?

Too much sugar? Try intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is a diet trend that’s become very popular to lose weight and prevent the onset of diabetes. Some people believe that by fasting, you’ll be able to repair the insulin resistance that a high sugar intake causes.

Currently, the most commonly used intermittent fasting method is 16:8, due to its practicality. It consists of fasting for 16 hours a day. During this period, the AMPK metabolic pathway activates, which is responsible for catabolic processes and energy production from fat burning.

Therefore, fasting may be a possible way to lose weight in certain individuals. Also, it significantly reduces the number of calories you eat a week. However, it’s very important to be well-educated about this form of dieting and its risks and to get advice from your doctor and a nutritionist. 

Brown sugar cubes.
The food industry uses sugar for many things. It’s an additive that countless products include…often without you even realizing it.

Conclusion: Is brown sugar better than white sugar?

The many different names the food industry tries to give the same product in different forms of presentation doesn’t change its quality. Brown sugar is still very similar to white sugar. Therefore, it’s a food that you shouldn’t consume in excess. This way, you’ll prevent problems associated with obesity or with the onset of complex diseases.

An interesting strategy may be to opt for artificial sweeteners, but always in moderation. Another interesting option is to carry out intermittent fasting. However, no matter what, experts all agree that it’s crucial to limit your sugar intake.

Patterson RE., Sears DD., Metabolic effects of intermittent fasting. Annu Rev Nutr, 2017. 37: 371-393.

Mattson MP., Longo VD., Harvie M., Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Ageing Res Rev, 2017. 39: 46-58.