What is Brown Sugar?
Brown sugar is a sweetener made from sugarcane. It is similar to white sugar but contains molasses and is available in refined and unrefined form. It can be produced commercially by adding molasses to white sugar. On average, brown sugar contains 5% molasses by weight. Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar due to the molasses, still is lower in nutrients. Therefore you cannot depend on it for the nutrient requirement.
One teaspoon of brown sugar contains 17.5 calories, 1.3 sodium, 4.5 carbohydrates, and 4.5 grams of sugar.(1) Most of the calories in brown sugar come from carbohydrates in it. It may provide a few minerals when consumed in large amounts.
Types of Brown Sugar
There are multiple types of brown sugar, which include demerara, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, turbinado, muscovado, and natural brown sugar.
Demerara: Brown sugar is mostly made from sugarcane by boiling the extracted juice. In the procedure, raw, light brown crystals are left behind which are then dried in the centrifuge leaving brown sugar with a mild molasses flavor.
Turbinado: This type of brown sugar has a more honey-like flavor and is popular in tea.
Light Brown Sugar: This is made by adding molasses to white sugar. It contains 3% of molasses by the weight of sugar.
Dark Brown Sugar: Just like light brown sugar, dark brown sugar is made by adding molasses to white sugar. It contains 6% of molasses by the weight of sugar.
Muscovado: This type is the darkest of all the varieties. It is the most potent variety as it is made by a slow drying process and most often in full sun.
Natural Brown Sugar: It is made out of the residual molasses left after crystalizing sugar. This sugar has a sweet and slightly caramelized flavor and is more potent than the traditional white sugar.(2)
Health Benefits of Brown Sugar
There are several unique benefits of brown sugar which include increased energy level, relieving menstrual cramps, treating uterine infections, improving digestion, reducing flatulence, and aiding weight loss.
Relieves Menstrual Cramps
This sugar variety can be used in making healthy tea by mixing ginger to eliminate the discomfort of menstrual cramps.(3)
Improves Skin Health
Brown sugar can be used as a skin exfoliate. It has a rough texture that helps in eliminating dirt, grime, and dead cells from the skin.
Just like any other carbohydrate, sugar can have an energizing effect on the body. It can be added to the morning drinks and can give a boost of energy.(4)
Aids Weight Loss
Molasses boost metabolism and satiate hunger and this could help in losing weight. But this does not mean you can eat it in large amounts as excessive sugar can have opposite effects.
Brown sugar has been found effective in speeding recovery post delivering a baby.(5) It is also known to relieve cramps and discomfort during pregnancy.
Side Effects of Brown Sugar
There are a few effects of consuming sugar in large amounts, which include:
Just like white sugar, brown sugar should also be consumed in moderation.