Types of sugar - which is better

A wide variety of types of sugar can be found in today’s market. The best known is white sugar or table sugar.

Although it is known that eliminating excess white sugar is essential in a healthy diet, what happens with other types of sugar, such as brown or coconut, is not usually so obvious.

This article looks at the different types of sugar and a comparison table to determine which is the best.

Types of sugar What are they?

According to its production method, at least three types of sugar can be distinguished: refined, unrefined, and liquid sugars. In addition, the different kinds of sugar can be classified according to their method of preparation and their use and taste in cooking. The types of sugar are:

  1. White sugars

They are refined sugars in all cases. The main difference between them is the size of their crystals, which provide different characteristics in gastronomy. The sand type of sugar can be colored, giving a striking appearance in the preparations. The most common are:

  • Table sugar
  • Impalpable
  • Quartz sugar
  • Sand type sugar
  • Superfine
  • Special sugar for bakery products.
  1. Brown sugars

These types of sugar can be refined or not. This type of sugar includes:

  • Muscovado sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Grainy brown
  • Coconut sugar
  • Turbine sugar
  1. Liquid sugars

These types of sugar are widely used in the food industry to give textures, the typical sweet taste and to increase the shelf life. The most common are:

  • glucose syrup
  • invert sugar
  • high fructose syrup

What kind of sugar is better?

Several parameters must be considered to define which type of sugar is better. The characteristics that all kinds of sugar have in common are:

  1. Caloric content – calories

All types of sugar have the same caloric content. So this cannot be considered a characteristic to determine which is better.

  1. Vitamins and minerals

You’ve probably heard that brown sugars like muscabo and Morano are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. This is partially false; although they have a minimal amount, their content is so low that it cannot be considered a difference.

For example, to cover the needs of vitamins and iron minerals with brown sugar, you should consume about 2Kg per day, which is not healthy.

The characteristics that make the difference between the types of sugar are:

  1. Glycemic index

To find out which type of sugar is better, the concept of the glycemic index is often used. This is the rate at which the body can absorb carbohydrates—the lower this value, the more negligible effect on blood glucose spikes it will produce.

The glycemic index values ​​between different types of sugar can vary. They are very similar between white, black, and white, so they cannot be considered a better or worse parameter either. In the case of glucose or high fructose syrup, their values ​​are higher, which is one of the reasons that they are said to be the worst types.

  1. Flavor

It is not news that different types of sugar taste different. If you are looking for the best to cook or add a touch to your dishes, you prefer the mastabas or brunettes.

  1. Processing and industrial waste

Some types of sugar, like white, are highly processed. Brown sugar is made by adding molasses to white, so they are practically the same. The sugar mascabo and coconut sugar are the types with lower industrial processing. This is an advantage in the environment and possible residues from the processing itself.

  1. Food allergies

Some types of sugar, such as lactose, can cause food allergies. These should be avoided for people with intolerance to it.

The best types of sugar are not the sugar itself but a hybrid between alcohols and sugar-sugar alcohols. These have a low glycemic index, are low in calories, and are natural. One of the best-known examples is birch sugar.

Comparative table of types of sugar

To see more clearly the differences between the different types of sugar, below you can see a comparative table:

Type of sugarCalories (100 g)IGIndicted
White sugar38765AND
Brown sugar38765AND
Muscovado sugar38055NO
Coconut sugar38055NO
High fructose syrup38790AND
Birch sugar427NO

Do all types of sugar provide the same calories?

A level teaspoon of any sugar contains approximately 20 kcal.

A teaspoon of white sugar fills about 28-30 kcal. Following the reasoning, adding two tablespoons of white table sugar to the coffee adds 60 kilocalories.

However, the problem with sugar is not its caloric intake but the speed at which it is transformed in the body.

When refined sugar enters the body, it quickly releases insulin in large amounts. If this process occurs frequently, the body loses the ability to process it. This is the leading cause of type 2 diabetes, according to the WHO. (6)

Is glucose-fructose syrup the same as sugar?

Glucose-fructose syrup could be considered a type of sugar. This is made from corn and is used in food manufacturing to reduce costs. This syrup is somewhat sweeter than sugar; it mixes better and provides a better texture.

Also, when added in large quantities, it prolongs the shelf life of food. Using such an additive can camouflage sugar and other simple carbohydrates in the ingredient list. Its effects on the body are practically the same as white sugar.

Are sugar substitutes better?

The substitutes for sugar – sweeteners, sugar alcohols, etc. can be low in calories. So they are one of the most used products to lose weight.

As well as, their glycemic index is lower, so they are recommended for people with diabetes.

However, research has confirmed that they can stimulate the brain similarly to sugar. They are generating a dependence on the sweet taste. This can be a potent cause of being overweight and obese.

In summary, both substitutes and all types of sugar should be consumed in moderation. Eating something sweet from time to time is allowed in a healthy diet. However, its excess can wreak havoc on the body.

Can you live without sugar?

It is accurate that you can live without sugar without any nutritional problems. Even the body can function better with complex carbohydrates in grains, vegetables, and greens.

According to the WHO, in a healthy diet, the consumption of sugar and other rapidly absorbed carbohydrates should be limited to 10% of daily calories. (6)

The boom in industrial sugar production began in the 19th century. Its consumption has increased by 10 to 20 times in the last 50 years. The fact that has made diabetes and being overweight a pandemic. (5)

Replacing the different types of sugar with the consumption of cereals and pseudo-cereals such as amaranth, oats, and buckwheat is essential to avoid it.


  • According to their production method, the types of sugar are: refined, unrefined, and liquid. Each one has different properties for gastronomy.
  • All types of solid sugars provide the same amount of calories per gram – 4 Kcal.
  • Muscovado sugar is the type of sugar with the fewest industrial processes, making it one of the best in ecological terms.
  • The best type of sugar is birch (theoretically, it is not sugar in itself, but it is lower in the glycemic index and low in calories.
  • The consumption of any sugar should be 10% of the total calories.


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