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Is Raw Sugar Better for Your Diet Than White Sugar?

author image Tarynne Mingione
Tarynne Mingione is a registered dietitian and registered yoga teacher. She earned a Bachelor of Science in nutrition at Bastyr University and completed Baylor College of Medicine Neonatal Nutrition Fellowship. Her experience also includes diabetes camp dietitian and wellness event health educator and teaches yoga at various locations.
Is Raw Sugar Better for Your Diet Than White Sugar?
Sugar on table and spoon Photo Credit libra_photo/iStock/Getty Images

Although problematic when consumed in excessive amounts, unrefined raw sugar is a better alternative to white sugar, since it retains minerals. USDA guidelines suggest limiting added sugars in any form so as not to displace nutrient-dense foods while increasing overall energy consumption in the diet.

Types of Sugar

Is Raw Sugar Better for Your Diet Than White Sugar?
The many processing steps involved in refined sugar result in odorless, white sugar. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Raw sugar includes unrefined cane juice or powder (Sucanat and Rapadura) and date sugar. White sugar can be disguised as refined or dried cane juice and refined cane sugar.

Nutritional Differences

Teaspoon for teaspoon, raw and white sugars are calorically comparable. The difference lies within the presence of and quantity of minerals.

Raw sugar contains molasses, hence retains small amounts of calcium, iron and potassium. White sugar has molasses removed and therefore has no detectable minerals.

Substitute White Sugar

Raw sugar has a richer flavor due to the presence of molasses, so use equal parts or less (roughly 3/4 cup) when substituting unrefined raw sugar for white sugar.

Overall, the presence of minerals and the ability to use less raw sugar in place of white sugar makes raw sugar a better alternative to white sugar.

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