Granulated Sugar vs Brown Sugar: What’s The Difference?

granulated sugar vs brown sugar
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granulated sugar vs brown sugar

Sugar is an essential natural ingredient of the human diet for thousands of years. It has various varieties such as brown, dark brown, and white granulated sugar. You might be wondering about the differences between each one. So today, we will compare brown sugar with granulated sugar in the context of nutritional strength, usage, composition, and health benefits.

Sugar is extracted from sugar cane grass that is milled, refined, and purified to extract sugar. Sugarcane is crushed in the mills and the resultant juice is boiled to produce thick syrup, after its purification. Raw sugar crystals are taken out from sticky liquid molasses. European sugar is obtained from crops of the sugar beet plant.

A question usually comes into the mind while baking or cooking that what should be used either granulated or brown sugar. People usually wonder about the difference between these two. The choice among both is made according to the requirement of the recipe. Another most important factor is to make a wise choice between the two to opt for a healthier and more nutritious one. Both of these have their characteristics and sweetness.

Granulated Sugar vs Brown Sugar

Composition of Brown and Granulated Sugar

White granulated sugar contains 99.9 % sucrose, and it is known as one of the purest forms of sugars in the world. All the impurities like mineral ash and polyphenols are completed removed from granulated sugar. Brown sugar is a combination of 95% sucrose and 5% molasses.

Comparison of Nutritional strength

White sugar contains 4 grams of carbohydrates, no fats/proteins, 2 grams of fructose, and 2 grams of glucose in one level teaspoon. The variation between different sugars exists due to minor changes in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Brown sugar has a higher percentage of calcium, potassium, and iron contents.

Health Benefits

For good health, we cannot avoid sugar completely either brown or granulated. Calories obtained from using one teaspoon of brown sugar are 15 which is slightly less than granulated sugar i.e., 16.3 calories per teaspoon.

It is a prevalent misconception that brown sugar is healthier than granulated one. Both are made from sucrose and increase blood sugar levels. Brown sugar does not have any healthier benefits for people who are diabetic. Whether it is brown or granulated sugar, its use should be limited in a healthy diet.


Brown and granulated sugar can be used in different ways in the cooking and baking of sweet dishes. The choice of choosing one should depend on the desired result you want by using either of them. The neutral flavor of white sugar makes it a resourceful ingredient to use in baking, sweet pastries, and fruit sponges. Brown sugar is widely used in chocolates, cookies, and cakes.

Taste and Recipes

The main difference between brown and granulated sugar is due to color and taste. Both have their unique flavors as brown sugar has caramel or toffee-like flavor while granulated sugar is sweeter. Recipes such as cookies made by using brown sugar are moister and denser.

Whereas cookies made up of granulated white sugar result in an airier texture and rise to a greater extent. Therefore, baked goods that require sufficient rising should be prepared using granulated sugar. Brown sugar should be used to make dense baked goods like zucchini bread, rich cookies, etc.

Can both be substituted?

You can substitute brown sugar with granulated sugar, it will have the same nutritional value with only a minimal difference.  The only significant difference for swapping brown sugar with granulated one is due to color, texture, and taste.

The color of foods will change to a brown hue or light caramel by swapping white granulated with brown sugar. You can substitute one cup of white sugar for one cup of brown sugar.

Despite the differences in colors, flavors, and texture of these sugars, nutritional strength is almost the same. Although the nutritional content of brown sugar is more than granulated sugar, the quantity of those minerals is very low.

So, they will not help you get any great health benefits. You should choose the one out of different types of sugar according to your taste and personal experience. Both will have the same effect on your health.

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