Brown sugar's softness serves well in baked goods, but many people also use it for everyday purposes in lieu of white sugar. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a healthy choice, however, as you consume about the same level of calories either way.
Most brown sugar you find in grocery stores is refined white sugar with added molasses to make it brown. Unrefined sugar also is brown but is much coarser. Brown sugar generally is between 5 percent and 10 percent molasses.
One-quarter cup of brown sugar, about 55 g, contains 209 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With sugar, almost all calories come from carbohydrates. Because of the added molasses, brown sugar also contains trace levels of minerals such as calcium, iron and potassium but not enough to be nutritionally significant.
The nutritional differences between brown sugar and white sugar are not significant. One-quarter cup of granulated white sugar contains 194 calories, slightly fewer than the same size serving of brown sugar. By weight, brown sugar is slightly lower in calories, but it packs tighter and thus will contain more calories measured by volume.