Difference Between White Sugar and Raw Sugar

White Sugar vs Raw Sugar

The difference between white sugar and raw sugar arises from the production process of each one. But, even before knowing the differences, some of you may ask “what is raw sugar?” It is because despite sugar being one of the most important and commonly used items in a kitchen, most people are not aware of the fact that apart from the white sugar they use, there is another variety of sugar in the market. This variety of sugar is called raw sugar. Even those who know and use raw sugar are not pretty sure about the differences between white sugar and raw sugar. Let us take a closer look at these two different types of sugars.

What is Raw Sugar?

To understand what raw sugar is, you should first see how it is produced. Machines are used to press and crush sugarcane plants to extract the juices. Lime is added to this juice to attain the required pH level and to remove any impurities that may be present in the juice. Reduction of this solution through evaporation produces a solid mass that is passed through centrifuge to get sugar crystals. This sugar is light brown in color and is termed raw sugar. This is also the most natural sugar you can hope to lay your hands on. Raw sugar is more health friendly because it does not contain many chemicals like other sugar types.

Difference Between White Sugar and Raw Sugar

What is White Sugar?

White sugar or table sugar as it is called is pure sucrose that is a source of carbohydrate and is naturally found in many fruits and vegetables. In nature, it is found in greatest quantities in sugarcane plants and beets from which it is separated to convert into the form that we use. White sugar is refined sugar that is prepared from natural sugar, or raw sugar as it is referred to.

White Sugar vs Raw Sugar

To make white sugar, sulfur dioxide is added to cane juice before it gets evaporated. This gas does the bleaching of the juice so that it does not turn brown and produces white sugar. At later stages, phosphoric acid, calcium hydroxide or carbon dioxide is added to absorb impurities. This juice is then filtered through a bed of carbon and then crystallized in a vacuum many times. Finally, the crystals are left to dry on their own to get paper white crystals of sugar.

What is difference between White Sugar and Raw Sugar?

• Now that we know the production processes of both raw sugar and white sugar, it becomes clear that while raw sugar is natural, there are way too many additives, acids, and preservatives are added to make white sugar.

• Because of the presence of molasses in raw sugar, it has a distinct flavor that is missing in white sugar.

• Calorific value of raw sugar is just 11kcal per teaspoon whereas it is much higher (16kcal) in the case of white sugar.

• From the two, raw sugar is more environmentally friendly as it goes through a less lengthy production process than white sugar. As a result, it does not produce waste, use energy, or have to let as much chemicals to be added as white sugar.

• When it comes to taste, raw sugar does not taste as sweet as white sugar because it contains molasses.

• White sugar or regular sugar comes in smaller crystal sizes than raw sugar.

• Due to the large size of the sugar crystals of raw sugar, it can create some problems when used in cooking. For example, with that large granule size of raw sugar sometimes mixing it with other ingredients can be hard. To avoid such situation, you must grind raw sugar using a food processor if you are planning to use it in cooking. Such problems are not met with when using white sugar as they come in smaller size crystals that are easy to dissolve.

• Though it lacks the taste of white sugar, raw sugar is a better choice for health as it does not contain chemicals as white sugar.

However, at the end of the day, it is your choice that will choose one of the two. So, make a choice that suits you and your health.

Images Courtesy:

  1. Raw sugar by Editor at Large (CC BY-SA 2.5)
  2. White sugar by Douglas P Perkins (CC BY 3.0)