Brown sugar facts and benefits

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Brown sugar facts and benefits

Brown Sugar Quick Facts
Name: Brown Sugar
Colors Distinct brown color
Shapes Size is variable but generally less than granulated white sugar approximately 0.35 mm.
Taste Sweet
Calories 551 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Carbohydrate (109.41%)
Iron (12.88%)
Calcium (12.00%)
Copper (7.56%)
Vitamin B6 (4.54%)
Health benefits Completely Free of Chemicals, Has Important Minerals For The Body, Eases Menstrual Cramps, Used for skin Care, Help in Preventing Obesity, Natural Energy Boost, Help in Improving Digestion, Fast first aid, Beneficial for Pregnant Women, Help in the Treatment of Uterine Contractions, Provides Relief from Cold, Provide Protection to the Skin, Natural Gas Remedy for Infants, Can Prevent Asthma
Brown sugar is actually a white sugar with additional molasses to make it brown. Otherwise it is the same as white sugar. It is a very popular type of sugar that is considered around the world because of if health benefits and different properties than regular crystalized white sugar. Since it is manufactured in a different chemical process than white sugar, it has a different chemical structure and our bodies react little differently to this. This subtle difference makes brown sugar very attractive to the people who want to rebalance their diet, get healthy and gain some of its many benefits.

Apart from brown sugar it is also known as cane sugar, raw sugar, whole cane sugar. Its production does not involve refining process. Unlike white or refined sugar, brown sugar is produced directly from sugar cane juice, which is factually boiled and left to cool and crystallize over time. Crystallization of brown sugar takes a lot of time, at times up to months. The major features of brown sugar are its brown color and strong taste, which is actually due to the presence of molasses. Refined sugar can also be turned into brown sugar by simply adding molasses in balanced amounts.

Basically, brown sugar consists of between 3% to 7% molasses as is naturally moist. Brown sugar particles are in most cases less granulated than white sugar particles. Nutritionally, brown sugar has a lower calorie value mainly because of the presence of water. It however packs more densely than white sugar. It does not contain any fats at all. There are different types of brown sugar, depending on manufacturing process. Light and dark are the two most common styles of brown sugar. In general, the lighter the brown sugar, the more delicate the flavor. Very dark or old-fashioned brown sugar has a more strong molasses flavor. Both granulated and liquid brown sugar is also now available.


Sugar cane was first cultivated in southwest Asia, where Marco Polo reported in his famous journals that the Chinese used dark brown sugar freely, but did not refine it further. Sugar cultivation spread to the Middle East and the Mediterranean trade circle in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In the fourteenth century, the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean was the location of major sugar farms, using Syrian and Arab slaves as labor. Sugar cane cultivation was made a science in the fifteenth century in Sicily, with the invention of the roller mill, which speeded up the cane processing and freed up slaves to increase the volume of sugar refined. In those times, brown sugar was a byproduct of the sugar refining, and was not used widely in cooking until the sixteenth century.

Brown sugar came into popular use with the rise of European sugar plantations in the Caribbean in the 1700s. It was widely used as a sweetener in England and its American colonies, because it was much cheaper than white sugar. The use and export of brown sugar from the islands rose in conjunction with the infamous “triangle trade.” The Triangle trade refers to a three-legged trade route that saw much intercontinental shipping trade in the 1600s and 1700s. Manufactured goods were traded from Europe to Africa, where men, women and children were enslaved and taken to the Caribbean islands, where they were sold as slaves to Southern colonies or island plantations, the second leg of the triangle, or the “Middle Passage.” The third leg was to trade slave-produced goods like sugar, tea, cotton, tobacco and coffee to the colonies and back to Europe.

Types of Brown Sugar

The Four Main Types of Brown Sugar are listed below

1. Dark, golden (yellow) and light

These are the brown sugars most often found in grocery stores and used for everyday consumption. The color is a reflection of molasses content (3.5% for the lightest up to 6.5% for the darkest). These brown sugars are made by adding molasses to refined white sugar.

2. Demerara

This unrefined medium-brown sugar is named for the Demerera region of Guyana, South America, where it originated. Sugarcane juice is boiled until the water evaporates, leaving behind sugar crystals that contain molasses, which are then spun in a centrifuge to remove more moisture.

3. Muscovado

This is an unrefined, very dark brown sugar with a strong molasses flavor. Sugarcane juice is heated, pan-evaporated and then pounded into the final product. Muscovado brown sugar retains all the natural minerals of sugarcane.

4. Turbinado

A light colored, crystalline brown sugar, turbinado is made from sugarcane juice that has been heat-evaporated then crystallized. Excess moisture and molasses are removed by spinning the crystals in a centrifuge, resulting in a sugar that is more honey-like than Demerara.

Nutritional Value

Apart from their sweet taste, brown sugar is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 145 gram of brown sugar offers 142.23 g of Carbohydrate, 1.03 mg of Iron, 120 mg of Calcium, 0.068 mg of Copper, 0.059 mg of Vitamin B6, 193 mg of Potassium, 0.093 mg of Manganese, 0.191 mg of Vitamin B5, 13 mg of Magnesium, 1.7 µg of Selenium, 41 mg of Sodium, 0.16 mg of Vitamin B3 and 6 mg of Phosphorus.

Health benefits of Brown Sugar 

Sugar comes in two forms, known as brown sugar and white sugar. Brown sugar is prepared from the juice of sugarcane. Brown sugar is very popular around the world because of its health benefits. The small amount of molasses present in brown sugar provides the sugar its flavor and color. Below you will find the top health benefits of brown sugar

1. Completely Free of Chemicals

Unlike white sugar, brown sugar is totally free of chemicals because its manufacturing does not need the molasses which are essential in the manufacturing of white sugar. Brown sugar is prepared from the juice of sugarcane and it contains only a small amount of molasses, which offers the brown sugar its color and flavor.

2. Has Important Minerals For The Body

Minerals found in brown sugar are from the molasses added to the sugar, molasses is a good source of important minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, one teaspoon of brown sugar with your tea everyday gives you 20% of your daily requirements of iron and Calcium, indeed molasses is actually used to prevent or treat anemia during pregnancy.

3. Eases Menstrual Cramps

Potassium found in molasses which is mixed with the sugar to make brown sugar helps in relaxing the muscles including the Uterine muscle and eases contractions that occur during the menstruation that causes cramps, you can take it in its natural form or mix it with some ginger tea for a boosted benefit, however be aware of the calories you are consuming.

4. Used for skin Care

Besides providing flavor to dishes, brown sugar is extremely beneficial for skin care. It is an important ingredient in a number of skin care products. It helps in softening the skin and it also helps in removing the dirt and dead skin cells.

5. Help in Preventing Obesity

Brown sugar is considered to be extremely beneficial for your health as it helps in preventing obesity because it contains fewer calories as compared to white sugar.

6. Natural Energy Boost

Just like white sugar, brown sugar will provide you with a natural energy boost for a short period of time, giving your temporary strength and helping you to wake up when you feel weak. However, since it has little or no nutrients, white or brown sugar can only provide you with energy for a short period of time. After which you are left wanting more. This effect is caused by the lowering levels of the hormone serotonin.

7. Help in Improving Digestion

Brown sugar is considered to be extremely beneficial for your digestive system as it helps in improving digestive system health. Drinking water boiled with slices of ginger and some brown sugar is extremely helpful for treating constipation.

8. Fast first aid

If you nicked yourself shaving and don’t have antiseptic on hand, reach for the sweet stuff—it can help heal minor cuts in a pinch. “Brown sugar acts as an anti-inflammatory, and its anti-microbial properties may prevent infection,” says Starre Vartan, author of The Eco Chick Guide to Life.

Clean the wound with soap and water, and then pack a little brown sugar onto the cut. Put a Band-Aid over it and leave on for a few hours; repeat once or twice over the course of 36 hours. You’ll be on the mend before you know it.

9. Beneficial for Pregnant Women

Brown sugar is considered to be very good for women to recover fast after delivery. It takes a lot of time for women to recover after delivery, but, consuming brown sugar helps in reducing faster.

10. Help in the Treatment of Uterine Contractions

Since ancient times, brown sugar has been considered to be very beneficial for women suffering from uterine contractions as consuming brown sugar is considered to be a very effective medicine for treating painful uterine contractions.

11. Provides Relief from Cold

Since long time brown sugar has been used as an effective remedy for treating cold. Just boil some water by adding a few slices of ginger and some brown sugar to it and consume it for instant relief from the cold.

12. Provide Protection to the Skin

Besides giving a glow to your skin, brown sugar is also extremely beneficial in hydrating and moisturizing your skin and reducing any swelling present on your skin. It also helps in regenerating the skin cells and making your skin lively. It also protects the skin cells from damage.

13. Natural Gas Remedy for Infants

Not everyone is going to suggest this but if you add a small baby spoonful (about a half a teaspoon) to a bottle filled with water and give it to your baby, it will provide them with the same effects as Mylicon drops or other types of gas relief products. It is a natural remedy for colicky babies and can help to soothe their tummies which may help them sleep more throughout the night. It has also been known to help with constipation, though the extra water may be the biggest benefit there.

14. Can Prevent Asthma

The benefits of brown sugar first are to prevent asthma. For people with asthma are recommended to replace white sugar with brown sugar. This is caused to have anti-allergic properties. At the time of waking body condition, asthma can be overcome and are not easy to relapse.

Beauty Benefits of Brown Sugar

Natural food items easily available in the kitchen cabinet have been used for beauty home remedies down the ages. Brown sugar is one of them. It is inexpensive and readily available in homes.

1. Leg Scrub

Exfoliate dead skin cells by applying slightly wet granulated brown sugar beforehand in a circular motion, then rinsing. This helps the razor get a closer cut. This trick can be used while beard and moustache shaving too.

2. Body Scrub

Brown sugar also has anti-bacterial properties and glycolic acid that keeps your skin radiant and healthy. You need 1/2 cup ground coffee, 1/2 cup organic brown sugar, 1/4 cup coconut oil and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. If your coconut oil is solid, mildly heat it until it melts, but wait for it to go back to room temperature before adding the other ingredients. This is to make sure that your scrubs don’t dissolve in the oil! Once mixed, store your scrub in an air-tight container. Use on your entire body for great exfoliation.

3. Scalp Scrub

Combine organic brown sugar with olive oil into a bowl and massage into your scalp with your fingertips for about three minutes prior to cleansing your hair.

4. Soft Lips

Put a little water on your finger, then dip it in granulated sugar and gently apply it in a circular motion to lips to exfoliate them. This is the perfect trick to do in a pinch when your lips are dry or flaky.

5. Foot Scrub

Mix brown sugar and peppermint oil, then scrub the mixture onto the bottom of your feet while in the shower for an at-home pedicure scrub that sloughs off dead cells and dryness. The peppermint oil has a cooling effect on your skin, making it perfect for those hot summer months.

6. Face Scrub

All you need for brown sugar and honey face scrub is ½ cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of honey (Manuka or plain, depending on what you have at home), 1 tablespoon of coconut or olive oil and 1 drop of an essential oil you love (lavender, bergamot, rose, jasmine and geranium are fantastic). Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Once that is done, apply it to your skin and massage using circular motions. Rinse off the scrub with warm water, and then, take a warm wash cloth and press it on your skin. Do not forget to moisturize when you are done. This helps create a smoother skin and lends a youthful glow.

7. Face Mask

You need 2 tbsp brown sugar and ¼ cup of milk. Place brown sugar in a small cup. Add a little milk; keep adding until it looks soupy. Apply over your entire face. Scrub gently and let it sit for 30 mins. Wash off using cold water and pat dry.

8. Moisturizer

Brown sugar is a natural humectant. It draws moisture from the environment and transfers it to the skin. It serves as a natural moisturize which keeps the skin soft and at the same time hydrated. Raw sugar is coarse. Brown sugar is gentler than salt, and softer than granulated sugar.

9. Radiant Glow

As brown sugar exfoliates dead cells from the outer skin and hydrates the skin, it gives the skin a shiny glow. It works to prevent and moderate problems of tanned skin. It can be applied on legs, back, and shoulders.

10. Removes Scars

Application of brown sugar helps to lighten skin and diminish the scars. Glycolic acid present in brown sugar is known to make the skin fairer. It also controls the melanin formation.

11. Prevents Acne

Brown sugar naturally exfoliates, and removes dead cells. It hydrates the skin and promotes healthy skin cleansing and circulation. Those prone to acne can opt for brown sugar facials to prevent acne and pimples, and to capture that perfect selfie with glowing skin. Brown sugar facial mask also has anti-bacterial properties.

How to store

Empty it into an airtight container and store it in a cool dry place. A piece of bread or apple may be laid on top to make sure it doesn’t get hard. If you don’t use it often, it may be stored in the freezer, and then put on the counter to soften for a few hours before using.

How to soften

If it has already gotten hard, don’t despair. Place a piece of apple or bread in a container with the brown sugar and seal it for about two days – it should be soft. If you are baking and you need it right away, you can do one of two things:

  • Place it in a 250-degree oven on a baking sheet for a few minutes. As it softens, stir it around and check frequently until it’s soft, but be careful not to melt it.
  • Put it on a plate and place it in the microwave beside a small bowl of water. Microwave for about 1 minute, and check to see if it’s soft. If it isn’t, do it every few seconds until it’s the right consistency.

Tricks for keeping brown sugar soft

  • Store with a piece of terra cotta. Scrub clean the terra cotta and then soak it in water for 15 minutes. After soaking pat it dry and place in the container or bag. You can also buy ceramic brown sugar savers at Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and kitchen stores like Sur La Table.
  • Add a few medium-size marshmallows to the brown sugar.

Brown Sugar Facts

Brown sugar is simply white sugar mixed with molasses. Therefore, brown sugar can hold its shape like wet sand, while white sugar cannot. Raw sugar is also generally brown in color, and forms when the juice of sugar cane evaporates. However, many people refer to brown sugar as granulated white sugar with molasses added to it. Brown sugar may contain slightly more essential nutrients than white sugar, it isn’t necessarily healthy.

Name Brown Sugar
Common Names Cane sugar, raw sugar, whole cane sugar
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Bruinsuiker
Albanian: Sheqer kafe
Armenian: Shaganakaguyn shak’aravaz (Շագանակագույն շաքարավազ)
Arabic: Sukkar bani (سكر بني)
Azerbaijani: Brown sugar
Bengali: Bādāmī cini (বাদামী চিনি)
Basque: Azukre
Belarusian: Karyčnievy cukar (карычневы цукар)
Bosnian: Smeđi šećer
Bulgarian: Kafyava zakhar  (кафява захар)
Catalan: Sucre Moreno
Cebuano: Brown sugar
Chinese : Hóngtáng (红糖)
Chichewa: Bulauni shuga
Croatian: Smeđi šećer
Czech: Hnědý cukr
Danish: Brun farin
Dutch: Bruine suiker
Estonian: Pruun suhkur
Esperanto: Bruna sukero
Finnish: Fariinisokeri
Filipino: Kayumanggi asukal
French: Sucre roux
Galician: Azucre mascavo
German: Brauner Zucker
Greek: Kastaní záchari (καστανή ζάχαρη)
Georgian: qavisp’eri shak’ari (ყავისფერი შაქარი)
Gujarati: Bhurō khāṇḍa (ભુરો ખાંડ)
Haitian Creole: Mawon sik
Hausa: Launin ruwan kasa sugar
Hebrew: סוכר חום
Hindi: Braun shugar (ब्राउन शुगर)
Hmong: Xim av qab zib
Hungarian: Barna cukor
Icelandic: Brúnn sykur
Irish: Siúcra donn
Italian: Zucchero di canna
Igbo: Aja aja sugar
Indonesian: Gula merah
Javanese: Gula coklat
Japanese: Buraunshugā (ブラウンシュガー)
Kannada: Kandu sakkare (ಕಂದು ಸಕ್ಕರೆ)
Kazakh: Qoñır qant (қоңыр қант)
Khmer: Cheate skarotnaot (ជាតិ​ស្ករ​ត្នោត)
Korean: Heugseoltang (흑설탕)
Latvian: Brūnais cukurs
Latin: Brunneis sugar
Lithuanian: Rudasis cukrus
Lao: Oatan oatan (້​ໍ​າ​ຕານ​້​ໍ​າ​ຕານ)
Malayalam: Braṇ ṣugar (ബ്രൗൺ ഷുഗർ)
Marathi: Tapakirī sākhara  (तपकिरी साखर)
Mongolian: Bor sakhar (бор сахар)
Myanmar (Burmese): Aanyoraung s kyarr (အညိုရောင်သကြား)
Macedonian: Kafeav šeḱer (кафеав шеќер)
Maltese: Zokkor ismar
Malagasy: Volontsôkôlà siramamy
Malay: Gula perang
Maori: Huka parauri
Nepali: Khairō cīnī (खैरो चीनी)
Norwegian: Brunt sucker
Persian: شکر قهوهای
Polish: Brązowy cukier
Portuguese: Açúcar mascavo
Romanian: Zahar brun
Russian: Korichnevyy sakhar (коричневый сахар)
Serbian: Braon šećer (браон шећер)
Sesotho: Sootho tsoekere
Somali: Sonkorta brown
Swahili: Brown sugar
Slovak: Hnedý cukor
Slovenian: Rjavi sladkor
Spanish: Azucar Moreno
Swedish: Brunt socker
Sinhala: Dum̆buru sīni (දුඹුරු සීනි)
Turkish: Esmer şeker
Tajik: Sakar qahvarang (шакар қаҳваранг)
Tamil: Paḻuppu carkkarai (பழுப்பு சர்க்கரை)
Telugu: Gōdhuma cakkera (గోధుమ చక్కెర)
Thai: N̂ảtāl thrāy (น้ำตาลทราย)
Ukrainian: korychnevyy tsukor (коричневий цукор)
Urdu: بھوری شکر       
Uzbek: Jigarrang shakar
Vietnamese: Dường đen
Welsh: Siwgr brown
Yiddish: Broyn tusker ( ברוין צוקער)
Yoruba: Brown suga
Zulu: Ushukela onsundu
Made From Sugar cane juice or sugar beets.
Sugar Shape & Size Size is variable but generally less than granulated white sugar approximately 0.35 mm.
Sugar Color Dstinct brown color
Flavor Toffee flavour
Taste Sweet
Health benefits
  • Completely Free of Chemicals
  • Has Important Minerals For The Body
  • Eases Menstrual Cramps
  • Used for skin Care
  • Help in Preventing Obesity
  • Natural Energy Boost
  • Help in Improving Digestion
  • Fast first aid
  • Beneficial for Pregnant Women
  • Help in the Treatment of Uterine Contractions
  • Provides Relief from Cold
  • Provide Protection to the Skin
  • Natural Gas Remedy for Infants
  • Can Prevent Asthma
Major Nutrition Carbohydrate 142.23 g (109.41%)
Iron, Fe 1.03 mg (12.88%)
Calcium, Ca 120 mg (12.00%)
Copper, Cu 0.068 mg (7.56%)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.059 mg (4.54%)
Potassium, K 193 mg (4.11%)
Manganese, Mn 0.093 mg (4.04%)
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.191 mg (3.82%)
Magnesium, Mg 13 mg (3.10%)
Selenium, Se 1.7 µg (3.09%)
Traditional Medicinal uses
  • Brown sugar has been used for decades as remedy for colds.
  • Brown sugar reduces swelling on the skin, hydrates the skin, increases cell regeneration and protects cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Precautions When consumed excessively, brown sugar can slow an already sluggish Kapha metabolism and promote weight gain.
How to Eat
  • Raw sugar (not white sugar turned into brown sugar) is widely used in baking and making of sauces where it replaces white sugar.
  • Brown sugar adds flavor to desserts and baked goods.
  • Brown sugar caramelizes much more readily than refined sugar, and this effect can be used to make glazes and gravies brown while cooking.
  • Dark brown sugar is used in gingerbread, mincemeat, baked beans and other heavier-flavored foods.
  • Light brown sugar is most often used in baking, and in making glazes, condiments and candies.
Other Facts
  • Brown sugar is used as an ingredient in some of the best makeup products available.
  • Light brown sugar usually contains 3.5% molasses and dark brown sugar usually contains 6.5%
  • Turbinado, Demerara and muscovado are three types of brown sugar commonly found in the market today.
  • It is also a popular ingredient in body scrubs, because its granulated texture works to exfoliate dead skin cells and dirt form the skin’s surface, and the scent is pleasant.
Calories in 1 cup ( 145 g) 551 K cal






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