Brown Sugar Vs. Jaggery: The Differences and Benefits



Published on: 15-Aug-2022


10 min read




Amrita Sandhu


Brown Sugar Vs. Jaggery: The Differences and Benefits

Brown Sugar Vs. Jaggery: The Differences and Benefits

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We have heard that brown sugar is better than white sugar, but is there a substitute that is better than even brown sugar? Let us find out.

The Indian food palate is always incomplete without sweet dishes. In India sweets and sugar are consumed in large quantities. Many kinds of sugars and their variants are available in the Indian market like sugar, brown sugar, jaggery, honey etc. All of these add a sweet taste to your recipe but they are different in many aspects like nutritive value, benefits etc. For instance, two of these sweeteners, namely brown sugar and jaggery, have a very similar texture but are different in taste and nutritive value. 

Table of contents 

1. Brown Sugar

2. Jaggery

3. Nutritive Value of Brown Sugar

4. Nutritive Value of Jaggery

5. Difference Between Brown Sugar and Jaggery

6. What is Healthier?

7. The Final Say

8. FAQs

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is a brown-coloured sucrose sugar product. The distinctive colour is due to the presence of molasses, a thick juice. The amount of molasses and processing level in brown sugar determine its colour and texture, respectively. Natural brown sugar is either an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar made up of sugar crystals with some remnant molasses content, or it is made by mixing molasses with white sugar (commercial brown sugar).

The presence of molasses in brown sugar gives its distinct flavour, taste and texture. Brown sugars can come in various forms, depending on the moisture content, they can be soft or coarse. This can be modified through various processing methods and adjustments in the quantity of molasses. People are more likely to be familiar with the soft light and dark varieties of brown sugar that are frequently used in baking.


Gur or jaggery is a sweetener well-known in Southeast Asia and Africa. It is a less-refined variety of sugar, thus there is still a sizable quantity of molasses in it. In other words, we can say that jaggery is a traditional non-centrifugal cane sugar consumed in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and Africa. It varies from golden brown to dark brown in colour since it is a concentrated product of cane juice wherein molasses and crystals are not separated. It contains up to 20% moisture, 20% invert sugars and 50% sucrose. It is a common belief that jaggery is "healthier" than other types of sugar. Studies on the overall health advantages and hazards of jaggery are currently being conducted, despite the fact that science has validated some of these claims.

Nutritive Value Of Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is definitely a healthier option than white sugar. A 100 grams of brown sugar contains:

  • Calories - 377 kcal
  • Carbohydrate - 97 g
  • Protein - 0 g
  • Fat - 0g
  • Calcium - 85 mg
  • Iron - 1.91 mg
  • Magnesium - 29 mg
  • Phosphorus - 22 mg
  • Potassium - 133 mg
  • Sodium - 39 mg
  • Zinc - 0.18 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.008 mg
  • Riboflavin - 0.007 mg
  • Vitamin B6 - 0.026 mg

Nutritive Value Of jaggery 

Brown sugar is said to be healthier than white and jaggery is healthier than brown sugar. A 100 grams of jaggery contains :

  • Calories - 383 kcal
  • Carbohydrate - 98 g
  • Fat-  0.1 g
  • Protein - 0.4 g
  • Calcium - 80mg
  • Iron - 5.4 mg
  • Magnesium - 160 mg
  • Phosphorus - 40 mg
  • Potassium - 140 mg
  • Sodium - 30 mg
  • Selenium - 1.4 mcg
  • Niacin - 2.0 mg
  • Vitamin - B6 0.4 mg
  • Pantothenic acid - 1.0 mg

Difference Between Brown Sugar And Jaggery 

Jaggery or ‘Gur’ is unrefined sugar made without spinning it in a centrifuge. While centrifuging is a step in the refinement process for brown sugar, which is refined sugar. Jaggery does not undergo a charcoal treatment like brown sugar does.

Jaggery has long been a common sweetener in India and the regions that are close to it. It is put to use in various Indian savoury and sweet dishes and beverages. Brown sugar acts as an all-purpose sweetener available in loose crystals that make it perfect for baking.

1. Manufacturing Process

The process by which brown sugar and jaggery are produced is the key distinction between the two sweeteners. Refined sugar along with a specific quantity of molasses makes brown sugar. The brown sugar has a toffee-like colour and flavour because of the molasses in it. Barbecue sauces, cookie dough, and rich desserts frequently contain this kind of sugar. Jaggery is made from sugarcane juice or palm sap.

Before being placed in moulds to harden, the sugarcane juice is reduced to a thick, brown paste. Since jaggery is unprocessed, it is browner in colour and comes in a variety of flavours. Jaggery has a fruity, earthy caramel-like flavour with slight notes of smoke.

2. Nutritional Value

Although the two have similar calorific values, jaggery has a noticeable amount of iron and other essential minerals. Jaggery is healthier for those wanting to cut back on empty calories from white or brown sugar due to its mineral content.

One may argue that brown sugar contains minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium because of the molasses in it. These minerals do not actually offer any benefits because they are only present in very little concentrations.

Despite this, brown sugar is still preferable to white sugar because white sugar lacks nutrients and runs the danger of containing sulphur, a substance that is toxic to humans yet is nevertheless employed in the refining process.

3. Sweetness

The degree of sweetness that separates brown sugar and jaggery is another difference. Jaggery is comparatively less sweet than brown sugar despite having a reputation as a healthy sweetener. Jaggery tastes different from brown sugar because it contains more minerals than that substance. Because of this, you should use more jaggery when you use it in place of brown sugar to get the same level of sweetness. 

What Is Healthier? 

Whether you consume brown sugar or white sugar, both are empty calories that are detrimental to your health. Jaggery has become a much healthier alternative as a result, being less sweet and richer in nutrients. The major difference between brown sugar and jaggery is their nutritional value and taste.

Jaggery and brown sugar both contain molasses, but brown sugar has a higher glycaemic index and contains only a little quantity of minerals and vitamins. Brown sugar and jaggery are definitely healthier alternatives when compared to white sugar.

The Final Say

Jaggery is regarded as a healthier alternative to white sugar by many health professionals and fitness enthusiasts. Jaggery, on the other hand, is solid and must be broken up into pieces before being added to food. Hence, brown sugar can be used in fewer portions without sweetening your food or beverages too much. Jaggery can be used as a natural sweetener whereas brown sugar is an all-purpose sweetener.

The good thing is that you may consume jaggery in tiny amounts but you cannot have white or brown sugar if you are currently on a weight loss diet or want to start one. When ingested in moderation, jaggery is also safe for diabetes patients because it also raises blood sugar levels.


1. Can we consume jaggery daily?

Yes, jaggery is advised to be consumed every day after meals as it aids digesting and avoids constipation by turning on our body's digestive enzymes.

2. What is brown sugar made from?

White granulated sugar is made using sugar beets and sugar canes. In the production of brown sugar, only molasses from sugar cane are utilised. Molasses and their quantity give sugar its brown colour.

3. Can diabetics have brown sugar?

White sugar and brown sugar have extremely similar nutritional profiles and effects on blood glucose levels despite their modest flavour variances. Brown sugar, therefore, has no advantages for those who have diabetes. Everyone but especially people with diabetes should moderate their sugar intake for optimal health.

4. Which is better, jaggery or brown sugar?

Jaggery is considered a better choice as compared to white/brown sugar because it contains a small amount of B vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.

5. Can I replace brown sugar with jaggery?

Jaggery can be used in place of brown sugar when making specific meals. Try using jaggery wherever you might use white or brown sugar as a garnish or sweetener.

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