True or false? Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar

joannepunA lot of people will be surprised to learn that the above statement is FALSE!

According to Joanne Pun, Registered Dietitian at NTO Wellness and Rehab Centre, most people don’t know that brown sugar is made by simply adding molasses (a type of syrup) to white sugar to give it that nice, golden brown colour. Molasses does not contain any important nutrients for our body therefore brown sugar is not actually healthier for us. Consumers have been taught that usually brown coloured foods such as whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, whole grain rice etc is healthier.

However, in this case of brown sugar vs white sugar, brown sugar is not the healthier choice.

The only difference between white sugar and brown sugar is the taste. Brown sugar has a slightly richer taste that some people prefer . In terms of nutrition, brown and white sugar are the same.

What about honey? Honey contains very small amounts of some vitamins and minerals such as zinc, selenium and B vitamins but it is in such small amounts that it can be considered negligible.

Keep in mind that honey is still sugar. Our bodies will react to it in a very similar way as white/brown sugar.

When we have too much sugar in our body, it will be stored as excess fat and lead to problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart problems. Honey also has slightly more calories – approximately 20 calories per teaspoon compared to 16 calories per teaspoon of white/brown sugar.

Bottom line: white sugar, brown sugar and honey are all nutritionally very similar. When eaten in excess, it can cause obesity, diabetes and heart problems. The only difference between white sugar, brown sugar and honey is a matter of taste and personal preference.

Still have questions? Speak to our Registered Dietitian on your next visit to NTO Wellness and Rehab.