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White sugar vs brown sugar or sugar vs jaggery, a common battle in the field of food and nutrition. Is brown sugar healthier than jaggery? Is jaggery a better option than white sugar? Most of us have such a question on a regular basis. But are you aware that not just these three, there are more than ten types of sugar available in the market? Getting confused? No. Don’t worry, the intention of this blog is not to make you confused but to guide you to choose the right sugar for you.

Sugar vs jaggery …..why so many types of sugar?

Sugar is sugar. No matter how many types of sugar available in the market, all of them are originate either from sugar cane or from beet sugar. During sugar processing, a thick, dark brown juice obtained from the raw sugar called molasses which is later separated to get the white refined sugar. But when molasses is added during processing, the final product becomes brown and thus called brown sugar. The amount of molasses and the degree of processing define the color as well as the texture of the sugar.

For example-

  • Granulated sugar (white-commonly known as refined sugar or table sugar- no molasses added-no flavor),

  • Confectioners sugar (white- powdered sugar-no molasses added-no flavor),

  • Demerara sugar(light brown-minimally refined raw cane sugar – little molasses added-have molasses flavor)

  • Muscovado sugar (or Barbados sugar- dark and light brown-both variety available- sticky, sandy texture- molasses added-have strong molasses flavor)


Okay, then what is jaggery?

Jaggery is unrefined coarse brown sugar made from either sugar cane or palm sap through the traditional method. As the color suggest molasses is not separated during the process.

White sugar vs brown sugar vs jaggery – Which one to choose?

Between any sugar and jaggery, of course, jaggery. Any time, any day. The reason is simple. Apart from having almost the same calorie value like sugar, sugar cane jaggery contain some amount of iron whereas date jaggery contains a fair amount of calcium. So when you choose jaggery over sugar, you ensure some amount of minerals. Whereas sugar is an almost empty calorie.

Now between white sugar and brown sugar, you may choose brown sugar just for the fact that it contains a negligible amount of few minerals. But remember, it is negligible.

When can we actually enjoy sugar?

No food is bad unless we start using them too much. This is definitely applicable when we talk about sugar. WHO recommended intake of free sugar should be less than 10% of the daily energy intake for adults and children and ideally it should be less than 5%. Therefore in an average 3-4 teaspoon of sugar or jaggery one can enjoy without causing any risk. But the 5th spoon becomes the matter of concern.

So the drill is simple. Go guilt-free to take the first 2 spoons of sugar or jaggery any day. Check your self from the 3rd spoon and think thrice before taking the 5th spoon. If you are diabetic you may have to stop on the 2nd spoon itself depending on your blood sugar level.


When sugar act as slow poison

Sugar is added to almost every processed and packaged food even if the final product is not sweet. Addition of sugar(amount mentioned on the level) and the hidden sugar makes the product appealing and irresistible to the consumer which compel you to buy the second packet. Let me give few shockers to realize why I keep on mention NO PACKAGED and PROCESSED food in almost every blog I write.

  •  375ml can of coke contains approximately 10 tsp of sugar
  •  500ml of energy drink contains approximately 13 tsp of sugar
  •  One scoop of ice-cream contains approximately 3 tsp of sugar                                                       
  • 2 tablespoons of cornflakes contain approximately 3 tsp of sugar                                                         
  • 1 glass of packaged apple juice contains approximately 6 tsp of sugar                                                 
  • 1 serving spoon of instant noodles contains approximately 4 tsp of sugar

That’s enough I guess. Can you gauge the amount of sugar may present in your favorite brownie or pastry or cake? Therefore, when you indulge even little bit with any packaged and processed food, keep no doubt that all your sugar check for last seven days go for toss within a second.

Also read-

Pick the best cooking oil in India

Are you eating the right oats?

Which is the best chocolate in India?

White rice vs brown rice, what to eat?

The final call…

If you are actually concerned about your health then you have no option but to cut all processed and packaged food. No matter whether you are taking brown sugar/ white sugar/ jaggery, sugar is sugar and mostly empty calorie.

So what are you thinking? Planning to ignore white sugar vs brown sugar battle and switch to zero calorie non-nutritive sweetener? If yes, then that is going to create another vicious cycle for you. Why? For a few obvious reasons.

The best way is to keep a check always on sugar intake – white sugar/brown sugar or jaggery as per your wish.  You may think of exploring other natural sugar like coconut sugar or raw-unrefined honey within the permissible limit. Instead of trusting on food processing units, trust on your hand and indulge on a homemade version of your favorite food to be mindful of what exactly you are putting within you. All the best.

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Dr. Soma Chakrabarty has done her Ph.D. in Food and Nutrition in 2017. She is based in Hyderabad. She has 12 yrs of working experience in nutrition. Dr. Soma guides people to modify eating behavior and achieve the goal of wellness. She believes in a sustainable diet that helps people to live rather than survive.

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1 Comment

Avarage Rating:
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  • Suney , 21st June 2020 @ 5:26 am

    What about coconut sugar?

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