Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Is Brown Sugar Bad For You?



Short answer

Brown sugar is bad for you in excessive amounts. Brown sugar is simply white sugar combined with molasses. The effects of consistent sugar consumption can be devastating for your health.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Brown sugar is simply granulated white sugar that has been refined to remove the naturally-occurring molasses. During the processing, an increased amount of molasses is added back into the sugar, providing a difference in the consistency of brown sugar from any other type of sugar. Brown sugar is similar in consistency to wet sand, making it ideal for baking.

Some may argue that brown sugar is better for you than white sugar. Technically it is true that pure molasses contains a small amount of nutrients, such as calcium. However, the amount of added molasses present in brown sugar is so small that these nutrients are unlikely to have a significant effect on your health. Thus brown sugar—which has the same amount of calories as white sugar in any serving volume—is hardly better than white sugar.

Brown sugar is marketed in two shades, light and dark, the difference being the amount of molasses that has been added. Light brown sugar is generally used for baking cookies and cookie bars, as well as in liquid confections like butterscotch and icings. Dark brown sugar is used for items requiring a heavier molasses flavor, such as gingerbread, baked beans, and mincemeat.

In general, brown sugar has the same side effects as white sugar on your health. Frequent consumption of brown sugar can lead to increased risk of weight gain, heart problems, cancer, inflammation, diabetes II, and other chronic conditions. Indulging in brown sugar occasionally will not devastate your health—though it should be avoided as a diet staple!

Possible short-term side effects

  • increase in heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • blood sugar spike
  • increased insulin production
  • increased fat storage
  • inflammation
  • hyperactivity

Possible long-term side effects

  • obesity
  • inflammation
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • diabetes ii
  • cancer

Ingredients to be aware of

  • white sugar
  • molasses


  • improved taste
  • great texture for baking
  • boost in energy

Healthier alternatives

  • organic, plain molasses
  • organic, locally made honey
  • naturally sweet foods, such as fruit

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Wholesome Organic Coconut Sugar

  • Unrefined sweetener
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free
  • Organic certified
  • Low-glycemic index
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 07-18-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 07-18-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Random Page

Check These Out!