Cane Sugar vs. Beet Sugar: What Sets Them Apart?

The usual white table sugar consumed everyday, though not easy to distinguish, is actually made from either sugar cane or sugar beets. This is primarily because the chemical content in the two kinds of sugars are made of sucrose and the taste is too subtle to be picked up on, other than by professionals. 

In America, about 50 to 60 percent of sugar manufactured is produced from sugar beets and 30 percent of the sugar worldwide is derived from sugar beets. Both varieties, however, are added to processed foods and sweets. The sugars are sourced from two different plants and the distinction is sometimes mentioned on the packet of products, without any marketing target.  

Different Sources

Cane sugar is extracted from sugarcane stalks, that is primarily used to make sugar around the world. It is a tropical plant that thrives in a great deal of sunlight and water. Once the cane juice evaporates, the sugar becomes crystallized and then is later refined to remove the molasses. The end product is referred to as raw sugar. 

On the other hand, beet sugar is taken from beta vulgaris plant, otherwise called beet. It tastes as sweet as cane sugar. Sugar is extracted from the slices of beets, which is diffused in hot water and filtered once again to remove the dirt. Finally, the liquid evaporates. And the thick syrup formed is boiled again to leave behind the granulated beet sugar. 

How Are They Produced?

Cane sugar is processed by adding bone char, an ingredient derived from the bones of cattle in developing countries. It is used for decoloring sugar widely and bleached. This is a matter of concern to vegans and vegetarians, who are strict about respecting the environment. 

Coal-based activated carbon is used sometimes to process cane sugar for the sake of vegans. However, bone char is not needed to whiten beet sugar and vegans do not have a problem with it. 


Due to the refining process, the nutrients are removed. Otherwise, the pre-processed sugar contains vitamins and minerals. But the processed form has 4.2 grams of carbohydrates and 16 calories. 

Refined sugar is converted into glucose that leads to elevated insulin levels. Both sugars are not good for health since they lead to several diseases such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes and obesity. Hence, they should be consumed in moderation to maintain good health. 

Sugar Both white and brown sugar came from either the sugarcane or sugar beet plant but they have different properties. Pixabay