Comparative nutritional analysis of brown sugar and white sugar
B. Pharm student at Department of Pharmacy, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University
We canhardly imagine our diet without sugar and this natural ingredient took a special place in our daily diet for thousands of years. Historically, the northern India is considered as the first place where sugar was produced from the sugarcane at after the first century AD. There are several types of sugar, among them the white and brown sugar are the most popular. Sometimes, the health conscious people may fall in an indecision which one is better. This article shows some point of views which may help to take decisions.
Sugar is considered as a contributing factor to the obesity and major cause of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Both the brown and white sugar is originated from same crop either the sugarcane or sugar beet plant.Firstly, the extracted sugar juice is purified and heated to form a brown concentrated liquid (molasses), then centrifuged machine is used to separate molasses and sugar crystals (white sugar). Refined brown sugar is produced by adding molasses back into the white sugar. However, the unrefined brown sugar undergoes less processing than white sugar and retain the molasses content and natural brown color.
Brown sugar is 94% sucrose and contains a little bit of molasses and sometimes molasses are added with white sugar to make it brown and to give a noticeable rich flavor. On the other hand, White sugar is 99% sucrose and all of the molasses content is removed by several processes. Because of sucrose is naturally white this is called white sugar with no other flavors.
The most remarkable nutritional differences among the two is that the brown sugar contains slightly higher calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, vitamin B-6 and other contents. The presence of molasses is the reason of higher nutritional value of brown sugar and the same time molasses results in a soft and lumpy brown sugar for its higher water content.
Brown sugar also contains fewer calories than white sugar, one teaspoon of brown sugar provides 15 calories, while white sugar provides 16.3 calories. The main differences are their taste and color.
According to USDA, (U.S. Department of Agriculture)per 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces), white and brown sugar consists of the following major constituents (shown on the table)-
Importantly, molasses may add slightly higher nutritional value than white sugar but don't fall in a gimmicks that brown sugar would not have any effect on obesity, diabetes, aging or other diseases. Have to keep in mind that ultimately they are sucrose sugar. So, if you are adding brown sugar in your diet, actually, you are adding almost same calories as white sugar. Consuming reasonable amount of white or brown sugar will no harm.
American Heart Association's recommendations for sugar intake-men should not consume more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) and women, not more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) per day.