White vs Brown Sugar vs Jaggery vs Honey

What is the best part of a meal? Most people will agree it to be the dessert! Any sugary dessert that you may have after a meal or as a snack during the day, can be quite satisfying. But more than its taste, sugar has a large number of health effects that we will be discussing here along with the difference between white vs brown sugar vs jaggery vs honey.

Sugar happens to be one of the most commonly used ingredients in modern food culture. Many of us start our day with a cup of coffee or tea along with some sugar cubes. Others consume chocolates and other desserts containing sugar after their meals. Moreover, sugar also happens to be a key ingredient of foods and beverages such as ice creams, packed juices, cold drinks, energy drinks, energy bars, etc. In short, all of us consume sugar on a daily basis.

While sugar may tempt your taste buds, consuming it in excess can be quite problematic. And because of the health risks associated with sugar, many people have started using other alternatives such as honey and jaggery. People who are diabetic or have cholesterol problems use stevia to balance the sugar portion in their diet.

However, choosing the right sweetener for your meals and desserts can be quite confusing since there are various options available out there. Apart from artificial ones, you can find various natural sweeteners like white sugar, brown sugar, jaggery, honey, and others. Thus, today in this article, we will take a look at the differences between white vs brown sugar vs jaggery vs honey. You can learn everything about these sweeteners and their properties down below.

What are the Different Types of Sugar?

Sugar itself can be classified as white and brown sugar which are explained down below:

What is White Sugar?

White sugar contains 99.9% sucrose. Also known as table sugar, it is manufactured by processing and refining the natural sugar found in sugar beet or sugar cane. Elements such as moisture, ash, minerals, and compounds that give sugar its color are removed by refining the sugar which makes it colorless. White sugar is considered an empty-calorie food since it only has calories and does not offer any nutrients. As for its calorie content, white sugar contains 390 kcal per 100 grams.

What is Brown Sugar?

Brown sugar is manufactured by either limiting the refinement process to retain the content of molasses or by mixing refined sugar with additional molasses. In other words, brown sugar is nothing but white sugar which has a higher molasses content. Brown sugar comprises 93.5-96.5% of sucrose and 3.5-6.5% molasses. The content of molasses in this sugar makes it appear brown in color. The higher the molasses content, the darker the color.

When compared to table sugar, the calories present in brown sugar are lesser since it contains 375 kcal per 100 grams. Although, unlike white sugar, brown sugar also comprises 11 percent of the daily value of iron along with other nutrients like calcium, potassium, and magnesium in small quantities.

What is Jaggery?

Those who do not want to consume sugar can rely on jaggery to fulfill their sweet cravings. The production of jaggery is much simpler compared to sugar. It is made by crushing sugarcane to obtain sugarcane juice. After that, the sugarcane juice is heated to produce thick crystals. These crystals are further solidified to offer them the shape of blocks or rolls.

Compared to white or brown sugar, jaggery is a slightly healthier alternative. The nutritional value of jaggery is higher than its counterparts, and it comes with some health benefits. Starting with its calorie content, jaggery contains 380 kcal per 100 gram. But unlike sugar, it even has other nutrients like 0.4 grams protein, 11 mg iron, 100-150mg magnesium, and 0.5-2 mg magnesium.

While some people use jaggery for home remedies, it can lead to various side effects such as increased blood sugar levels, weight gain, nose bleeding, and indigestion if consumed in excess quantities.

White vs Brown Sugar

The main difference between white and brown sugar is the content of molasses. When molasses is separated from sugar, it gets refined and becomes white sugar. When molasses is added to the sugar during the manufacturing process, it becomes brown, hence the name. The texture and color of the latter are defined by the quality of molasses and the level of processing. In short, they both have almost the same nutritional value and taste. And the primary difference between these two is their color.

Brown Sugar vs Jaggery

Although brown sugar and jaggery have the same brown color, there are differences between the two.

Manufacturing Differences between Brown Sugar vs Jaggery

Brown sugar is made by mixing refined sugar and a controlled amount of molasses. It gives sugar a toffee-like flavor and color. Because of these factors, this sugar is used to make cakes, barbecue sauces, cookie dough, and other food items.

On the other hand, jaggery is made using palm sap or sugarcane juice. The juice is heated and reduced into a thick brown paste, after which it is hardened. As it remains unrefined, jaggery has many flavors. The predominant flavor tastes like caramel or fruit along with notes of smoke.

Nutritional Value Differences between Brown Sugar vs Jaggery

Both brown sugar and jaggery have varied nutritional values. The content of molasses in brown sugar results in small quantities of minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Despite this, there are no real benefits of consuming brown sugar as it is nothing but empty calories.

On the other hand, jaggery has a slightly higher quantity of iron and essential minerals. The rich content of jaggery makes it a slightly healthier alternative to white and brown sugar.

Sweetness Difference between Brown Sugar vs Jaggery

The level of sweetness is another point of difference between brown sugar and jaggery. In comparison, brown sugar is sweeter than jaggery. If you want to substitute brown sugar with jaggery, you may have to add more jaggery to obtain the same level of sweetness. However, some may prefer jaggery over brown sugar since it has additional flavors.

Honey as an Alternative to Sugar and Jaggery

Another sweetener that you can use as a substitute for white sugar, brown sugar, and jaggery, is honey. Honey is a natural sweetener made by bees by collecting nectar from flowers. It comprises 40% fructose and 30% glucose along with water. Honey is also rich in other nutrients like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin C in small quantities.  But the best thing about honey is that it contains 330-340 kcal per 100 gram which is certainly less than white sugar, brown sugar, and jaggery.

Another great thing about honey is that it is much less processed than sugar. Honey is only pasteurized before storing in containers which makes it a great natural sweetener. When compared to sugar, honey is also sweeter which allows you to use a lesser quantity to achieve the same level of sweetness.

When compared to sugar, honey is also less processed. It is purified before distribution. The higher fructose content of honey tastes much sweeter than sugar. A small quantity will give you the same taste as one teaspoon of sugar.

Nutritional Values: White vs Brown Sugar vs Jaggery vs Honey

White Sugar Brown Sugar  Jaggery Honey 
Nutrition Facts per 100g Protein 0g 0.1g 0.4g 0.3g
Carbs 99.8g 98g 98.9g 82g
Calories 390 KCAL 375 KCAL 380 KCAL 340 KCAL
Glycemic Index 65 64 71 58

Honey vs Jaggery

Both honey and jaggery can be used to sweeten food items that do not include sugar. Although, honey is superior to jaggery in some instances due to a few factors. For starters, honey has a lower calorie intake than jaggery. More importantly, recent studies have shown honey to lower LDL cholesterol levels, lower triglyceride levels, and increase HDL cholesterol levels for some which are always great to have. Some people also use honey as a remedy for a cough by taking it with warm water and lemon.

That being said, honey is still quite high in calories and should be consumed in limited quantities only.

Sugar and its Side Effects on Health

While you may pick a low-calorie sweetener with this guide, the consumption of too much sugar or any other sweetener can still harm your health in many ways like the following:

  • Sugar causes your blood glucose to spike and plummet. Unstable blood sugar may lead to various day-to-day health disturbances such as fatigue, headache, mood swings, and sugar cravings.
  • Many confirmed studies state that sugar increases the risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Large-scale studies have proven that high GI value foods result in a higher risk of becoming obese.
  • If you consume a lot of sugar and other refined carbohydrates in large amounts, you will lose a high quantity of the trace mineral chromium via urination. This mineral is responsible for regulating blood sugar.
  • Sugar contributes to aging. Consumption of too much sugar will lead to sagging skin, wrinkles, and other lines on your face at a young age. When sugar reaches your bloodstream, it attaches itself to proteins via the glycation process. It contributes to the loss of elasticity found in aging body tissues.
  • Dentists often advise their patients not to consume sugary or starchy foods in high amounts. It is because the consumption of sugar leads to tooth decay. Sugar also leads to gum disease or gingivitis, which eventually signals heart disease.
  • Many researchers have claimed that sugar affects behavior and cognition in children.
  • There is a proven study that too much sugar increases your stress hormones. After a blood-sugar spike, your body releases stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol. These hormones may make you feel irritable, anxious, and shaky.

How to Control Sugar Cravings?

Now that you know the side effects of sugar, you may want to control your sugar cravings as well. And before the consumption of sugar starts taking a toll on your overall health, you can consider these easy ways to control sugar cravings:

  • Dehydration may lead to sugar cravings. Thus, keep drinking water regularly to avoid sugar cravings.
  • You can consume fruits like bananas, apples, litchi, and orange to satisfy your sugar cravings and reduce sugar consumption.
  • If you are consuming a protein-rich diet, it will offer better satiety which will help in controlling sugar cravings.
  • Getting proper sleep is another way to reduce sugar cravings.
  • Keeping your stress levels in check is another method to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
  • Try not to keep yourself hungry between your meals since that can also result in sugar cravings.
  • Sometimes, sugar cravings may be because of various deficiencies in your body. Get in touch with your doctor and get your vitals checked.


If you want to live a healthy lifestyle, the first step is to cut your sugar intake. Both white and brown sugar are empty calories that do more harm than good. And on the basis of the info given above, you can replace your sugar intake with jaggery and honey since they have a slightly lower calorie intake. But make sure to consume them in small amounts as an excess of anything is harmful. In case you found this guide helpful for understanding the difference between white vs brown sugar vs jaggery vs honey, feel free to leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section down below.


  • Sri Posted July 5, 2022 9:49 pm

    The information that you’ve provided above will really make a difference in our lifestyles and I would further like to know about natural sugar substitute like Stevia.

    • Protone by Aanya Posted July 13, 2022 5:38 pm

      Glad that you found the article helpful💕
      Stevia is a natural substitute, however, a lot of people don’t like the taste so they go for other artificial sweeteners. You can try artificial sweeteners like aspartame, it has been certified safe by the FDA to use in moderation 🌸

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