It is widely believed that brown sugar is a healthier option than white sugar. In reality, brown sugar is most often ordinary table sugar that is turned brown by the reintroduction of molasses. Normally, molasses is separated and removed when sugar is created from sugarcane plants. White sugar is highly refined and made from cane or beets. Brown sugar is nothing more than white sugar that has been mixed with molasses to color it and give it a more moist texture. Light brown sugar has less molasses than dark brown sugar. Raw sugar is merely sugar that has not been fully refined. Do not confuse raw sugar with brown sugar. Brown sugar is simply refined white sugar with a molasses syrup mixed in, then dried again. In spite of trace amounts of minerals in molasses, brown sugar contains only slightly more nutritive value than raw sugar because the amounts added back are so small. The calories of raw sugar and brown sugar are the same. Raw sugar differs very little from white sugar, except that the crystals of raw sugar are larger and have more color.
- Molasses. Molasses contains 46 percent dissolved sucrose and other sugars; 3 percent protein; small amounts of minerals like calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and sulfur; trace elements such as copper, iron, manganese and zinc; and B-vitamins. Molasses is used for both human and animal consumption.
- Raw Sugar. When sugar cane arrives from the fields, sugar millers grind and press it to extract the sweet juices. Crystals that form in the liquid are granules called raw sugar. After going through filtration and hot water washes, the sugar contains 96 percent sucrose and 4 percent of plant materials contained in the mother liquid. Vacuum-drying this product leaves a golden brown color and sweet taste but very little nutritional value, except for calories from the carbohydrate content.
- White Sugar. At the refinery, the raw sugar and molasses mixture undergoes further washing with hot water and separation through centrifugation and filtration. The naturally white crystals that remain are 99.9 percent sucrose. This sugar goes to grinding machines that produce different sizes of granules.
- Brown Sugar. Mixing white sugar crystals with various amounts of molasses results in a soft, lumpy product called brown sugar. The amount of molasses added depends on the producer, but you could expect light brown sugar to contain 3.5 percent molasses, while dark brown sugar might contain 6.5 percent molasses.
Calories in White, Brown, Raw Sugar and Molasses
There are 387 calories in 100 grams of White Granulated Sugar, there are 380 calories in 100 grams of unpacked of Brown Sugar, 399 calories in 100 grams of Raw Sugar and there are 290 calories in 100 grams of Molasses.