Is brown sugar better than white sugar?
No scientific study has ever proved that cane sugar is more beneficial than white sugar. In fact, both types of sugar contain exactly the same molecule, sucrose, which is why they are equivalent.
How many times in the bar when it was time to sweeten the tea or coffee we heard the bartender ask “Could you please give me the brown sugar? It's better than the white one ”.
In fact, while white sugar contains only sucrose, brown sugar also contains some residue of molasses (between 1-5% depending on the types of raw sugar on the market) which gives it a slightly different aroma. Sucrose can be extracted from both sugar cane and sugar beet.
The extracted molecule is exactly the same, but there are different residues and impurities which, before final refining, are still present in the raw product and which ultimately remain in the molasses. Beetroot residues are not very pleasant and for this reason the sucrose deriving from it is completely purified. Those present in sugar cane, on the other hand, are appreciable on the palate.
Cane sugar can therefore undergo various levels of refining and lead to slightly different products, ranging from white sugar, identical to that of beet, to darker products.
The industrial process to which the sugar, both cane and beet, is subjected to become white does not damage the product, extracting only the sucrose from the impurities present in the molasses.
In the molasses, present in not completely refined cane sugar, there are some minerals and vitamins, but since the quantity of sugar to be taken daily is very low, it is not possible to attribute to these substances any benefits for the organism. since the chemical composition is very similar, the metabolic impact of cane sugar is no different from that of beet sugar. Whole cane sugar deserves a separate discussion, to obtain which, the refining process is not applied not at all or only in the initial stages. It contains a lower percentage of sucrose and a higher concentration of minerals and vitamins; it also has a lower caloric value. However, the sweetening power is also reduced; this entails the well-founded risk that for having the same level of 'sweetness' if you use more, effectively nullifying the potential advantage.
1. Council for agricultural research and analysis of the agricultural economy (CREA). Guidelines for healthy Italian nutrition 2018
2. US Environmental Prortection Agency (EPA). Sugarcane processing. Final report
3. US Environmental Prortection Agency (EPA). Sugarbeet processing