Which Has More Calories: Brown Sugar or White Sugar?


Most of the sugar consumed around the world is refined sugar derived from sugar cane. Sugar is a natural substance which when extracted from sugar cane can be white or brown. Other names for sugar include Turbinado, Muscovado, and Demerara. These other names are derived from the geographical location where the cane is grown.

What Makes Brown Sugar Brown?

Sugar is brown due to the addition of molasses during processing or may be brown following the first phase of processing before the refining process.

Calories In Brown Sugar

Brown sugar containing molasses has a higher water content than white sugar. The number of calories per gram is 3.73.

Calories In White Sugar

White sugar has a lower water content than brown sugar and contains 3.96 calories per gram.

One Teaspoon Of White Sugar

The granule size of white sugar is very consistent in size. Using a standard measuring teaspoon, one teaspoon will contain about 4 grams of sugar and about 16 calories.

One Teaspoon of Brown Sugar

Brown sugar granules tend to be a little smaller in size. The additional water content from the molasses makes it possible to pack the sugar into a teaspoon or other measuring device. Depending on how hard the sugar is packed means varying calorie content per teaspoon. The harder the sugar is packed, the greater the calorie content. Gram for gram, white sugar has more calories, but measure for measure, brown sugar may have more calories.

About this Author

Dale Bird-Cortes has more than 20 years experience as a registered dietitian/nutrition consultant. Currently in private practice in the West Michigan area, Bird-Cortes is a freelance writer for Demand Studios and has written for newspapers, “Patrons and Protectors,” ASPEN Publishers, and a variety of health care organizations.