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This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Bruce A. McIntyre.

"Why is brown sugar healthier than white sugar?"

First of all, it's not. White sugar is carbohydrates, which turn to fat as well as cause other problems. Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added to make it brown. Otherwise it is the same as white sugar.

So if you want "healthy" sugar, keep it in the sugar container, and not in your food, or your body. You already get far more sugar than you need. And remember, that virtually all carbohydrates convert into sugar. See that pasta? Sugar. The potato chips? Sugar, fat and salt. Cola? Sugar. Fresh fruit? Sugar and some healthy stuff. Anything with corn syrup? Sugar. Beer or alcohol? Sugar. Do yourself a favor, and check the ingredients list. If it lists sucrose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, or any carbohydrates, it's SUGAR!

Comparing types of sugar:

  • White granulated sugar is one of the world's purest foods. It's 99.9 per cent sucrose, refined from the natural sugars that occur in the sugar cane but with all 'impurities' such as mineral ash and polyphenols completely removed.
  • Caster sugar has the same composition as granulated sugar, but the crystals are smaller so it dissolves quickly. It's best for baking, especially light sponges and meringues.
  • Icing sugar is white sugar ground to a fine powder so it dissolves quickly and makes smooth icing. All three sugars have the same moderate Glycemic Index or GI of 65, which is much lower than pure glucose at 100.
  • Raw sugar and coffee sugar crystals are made from cane juice and are golden in colour. In nutrition, they are virtually identical to white sugar - at 99 per cent sucrose, they have a few minerals but not enough to give a great health advantage over white sugar.
  • Brown sugar contains 95 per cent sucrose and 5 per cent molasses, which adds a lovely toffee flavour and moistness but no great nutritional benefits over white sugar.
  • The same applies to muscovado, demerara, rapadura and black sugars which are often preferred for baking. There's a little potassium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals but they're not present in great quantities. Well, not enough to make me sit up and take notice when I'm only consuming a teaspoon here and there.

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