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When speaking of which is better, raw sugar or white sugar, it’s important to define what is meant by “better.” Are we talking about flavor? Health benefits? Environmental impact? Let’s explore each of these a bit further.
Flavor, Which is better, raw sugar or white sugar
When it comes down to flavor, The pallet can be a bit more sensitive when it comes to detecting raw sugar in foods and drinks.
That’s because white sugar undergoes a process of refinement that removes most, if not all, of the molasses. This gives white sugar a cleaner taste that some people prefer.
On the other hand, raw sugar retains the molasses giving it more of a caramel-like flavor. The molasses also contains minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium which can add a slight bitterness to the raw sugar flavor.
So, when it comes to flavor, it really depends on your personal preference. If you prefer cleaner tasting sweeter sugar then white sugar is probably better for you. But if you don’t mind a bit of bitterness and enjoy the caramel-like flavor then raw sugar might be the way to go.
Truth be told, Neither is better or worse, and even a trained pallet will have a hard time distinguishing one from the other once baked into a delicious cupcake or cookie in most cases.
But what about health-wise? Could raw sugar be healthier than white sugar?
What about your waistline, which is healthier?
When it comes to health benefits, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two. Both are made up of sucrose and glucose molecules and offer 4 calories per gram.
However, because raw sugar retains the molasses it also contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. White sugar is typically just sucrose and glucose with no other nutrients.
So, if we’re talking about health benefits, raw sugar is probably marginally better than white sugar.
But most health experts agree, the benefits are so minuscule it’s not really worth worrying about and you shouldn’t stress over using one or the other.
You would need to eat way too much of it to receive any real health benefits from the trace vitamins and minerals found in raw sugar. And you would also be consuming a ton of empty calories that would likely offset any positive health effects.
But what about the environment? Surely one must be better for the planet than the other, right?
When it comes to environmental impact, there is a bit of a difference between raw sugar and white sugar.
Environmental impact, A tie-breaker?
So flavor-wise, Pretty much the same. Waistline? Not much difference. Health benefits? Raw sugar is only slightly better.
The big difference is in the environmental impact.
White sugar has all the molasses processed out of it which leaves behind a byproduct called blackstrap molasses. This molasses is full of nutrients but has very little sugar content and is used in animal feed or as fertilizer.
The problem is, blackstrap molasses is often dumped into waterways where it can cause algae blooms that are harmful to marine life.
It has its uses, But because of its extremely bitter taste, it’s not really suitable for human consumption at any decent scale, as nutrient-dense as it may be.
On the other hand, raw sugar doesn’t have this issue because the molasses is still in the final product. There’s no need to process it out and dispose of it because it can be eaten as is.
Then you have to take into account the processing of white sugar. The process of refining white sugar is quite energy-intensive and creates a lot of pollution and energy and material waste.
Meanwhile, raw sugar is only minimally processed and doesn’t require the use of harsh chemicals or as much energy.
So, when it comes to environmental impact, raw sugar is definitely the better choice.
The bottom line is, there really isn’t a huge difference between raw sugar and white sugar. They’re both pretty much the same when it comes to flavor, health benefits, and waistline impact.
So if you are really on the fence about which one to use, use the environmental impact as a tie-breaker and go raw!
But if you’re still not convinced, we’ve got one more difference between the two that might sway you…
Raw sugar is vegan while white sugar is not!
Raw sugar is made from sugar cane juice that has been evaporated and crystallized while white sugar is made from sugar cane that has been processed with animal bone char.
So, if you’re vegan or are trying to avoid animal products, raw sugar is the way to go.
At the end of the day, it’s really up to you which type of sugar you want to use. Both have their pros and cons but ultimately they’re both pretty much the same and make one hell of a cookie.