Is Brown Sugar Good for Diabetics? Health Benefits & Effects

Last updated on October 13th, 2023

Individuals with diabetes always stay aware of their sugar intake. Since any form of sugar can increase blood glucose levels, it is important to keep a tab on your sugar consumption. This chronic health condition is better when managed, so eating a healthy and diabetic-friendly diet can add quality to your life. When it comes to sugar, it is better to avoid any form of sugar, but some diabetic patients have a question about brown sugar. Is brown sugar good for diabetics? Let’s read about brown sugar and its effects on diabetes in this blog.

What is Brown Sugar?

Brown sugar is a pure sucrose product. It is an outcome of processed sugarcane or sugar beet juice. Sugarcane or sugar beet juice goes through a process of cleansing, crystallisation and drying. The brown residual during manufacturing white sugar has molasses in it, and that is known as brown sugar. It either needs to be more refined or a little refined. The presence of molasses gives brown sugar a different colour, taste, texture, and some nutrients. Brown sugar has monosaccharides fructose, disaccharide sucrose, and glucose in it.

Brown sugar benefits includes a few vitamins and minerals like potassium, iron, calcium, etc., but in the end, it is a sugar. So it is important to consider your health and take it in moderation to get benefits.

Nutritional Value of Brown Sugar Nutritional Value of Brown Sugar

According to USDA, 100 grams of brown sugar has the following nutrients. These brown sugar benefits will help your body in many ways.

Nutritional Value of Brown Sugar
Nutrients (100g) Its amount
Calories 380 kcal
Protein 0.12 g
Carbohydrates 98.1 g
Sucrose 94.6 g
Glucose 1.35 g
Fructose 1.11 g
Calcium 83 mg
Potassium 133 mg
Sodium 28 mg
Folate 1 µg

As we can see in the table, brown sugar benefits include a small amount of nutrients, but it has sugar in abundance that is a threat to sugar levels. So keep its quantity as little as possible.

Read More: Normal Blood Sugar Level for Adults Agewise.

Glycemic Index of Brown Sugar

Glycemic Index of Brown Sugar

It is a refined sugar prepared from sugar cane or sugar beet, which is a high glycemic food. The GI of brown sugar is 70, which falls into the High GI food category. Similarly, the glycemic load of brown sugar is 68.6. High GI and GL foods tend to increase blood sugar levels. A diabetes patient should include a diet with low GI food that does not affect blood sugar levels. GI value is a standard measure to determine how a particular food can increase sugar levels via breaking carbohydrates. High fiber and low GI foods are healthy choices for a patient with diabetes.

Brown Sugar Benefits for Diabetics

Both white and brown sugar are the outcome of the extracted crystals of sugarcane or sugar beet juice. This juice follows a process of cleansing, crystallisation, and drying. When white sugar is prepared, its tiny crystals separate from a dark brown liquid known as molasses. This molasses is turned into brown sugar crystals through boiling and processing. Brown sugar is a basic form that can have multiple varieties, like muscovado, light brown, dark brown, and turbinado.

Since brown sugar benefits include some minerals and vitamins, many people think that it is a healthy choice over white sugar, which is not true. There is no scientific proof that indicates that brown sugar is healthy or less dangerous for diabetes. White and brown sugar both have sucrose in abundance, which directly affects and increases your sugar levels. Brown sugar is not sugar-free. It is a sweetener that eventually causes sugar spikes.

Read More: Are Sugar-Free Biscuits Safe for Diabetics?

Brown Sugar Composition

When it comes to brown sugar benefits, it has 100 grams of sugar has 83 mg of calcium and small amounts of other minerals like potassium, selenium, iron, manganese, and magnesium. Getting this little amount from whooping 100 grams of sugar is very harmful. You can get these nutrients from healthy choices like fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Brown sugar is also a simple carbohydrate. Simple carbohydrates are the easiest to digest, and it releases sugar quantities into the bloodstream more quickly than complex carbs. So it is likely to increase sugar levels more often and fast. Avoiding any form of sugar is the best way to keep your sugar levels under check. Brown sugar uses in moderate amounts does not harm overall health, including heart, liver, and kidneys. The right food and limited normal or brown sugar uses can prevent various health conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, non-alcoholic fatty liver, conditions related to metabolism, etc.

So, a diabetic person should add a diabetic-friendly diet that should include high fiber, low-carbs, low-calorie, high protein, and nutrients. It will not increase sugar levels in the body and will help you to prevent various diabetes-related complications.

If you have good glycemic control and you adhere to a healthy diet, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with a moderate amount of brown sugar. 

Read More: Is Ghee Good For Diabetics?

Is Brown Sugar Healthier Than White Sugar?

Brown sugar and white sugar both have sucrose as a main component. So the answer to the question: Is brown sugar healthier than white sugar? Is simply no. This means that both sugars have an adverse impact on blood sugar levels. Although molasses in brown sugar is responsible for their colour, taste, and nutritional value, the amount of nutrition is very low. Brown sugar benefits for diabetics include nutrients like calcium, iron, potassium, selenium, etc., but does not back its nutritional profile.

So avoiding brown and white sugar is one of the best ways to keep your sugar under control. With maintained sugar levels, a healthy diet, physical activities, and stress management, one can add moderate sugar to their food and treat their taste buds. Remember your diet should have high-fibre food, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, nuts, and healthy smoothies.

Other Benefits Of Brown SugarBenefits Of Brown Sugar

Since brown sugar for diabetics is more on the losing side, it has very limited and few health benefits. Therefore to get these brown sugar benefits, you can switch to healthier options. However here are the few healthy brown sugar benefits:

Instant Energy Boost

The main brown sugar benefits include providing instant energy. Since brown sugar is a simple carbohydrate, it quickly breaks into glucose in the body and provides an instant boost to cells. This instant boost can mitigate your tiredness and make you feel active. However, there are multiple healthy drinks and smoothies available for people with diabetes to get an instant energy boost without affecting their sugar levels. So switch to healthy choices.

Relieves Period Cramp Pain

Brown sugar benefits include relieving period cramp pain. During period cramps or menstrual pain, one can have a hot drink that consists of ginger, tea leaves, and brown sugar. Boil them together and have them hot to relieve menstrual pain.

Read More: Is Rice Good For Diabetes?


Another brown sugar benefits include its usage as a natural scrub or exfoliator. To get shiny and healthy skin, you can use this as an exfoliator and remove dead skin. You can use it with some lemon juice and scrub out the dead skin.

Side Effects Of Eating Brown Sugar In DiabetesBrown Sugar Side Effects

Increased Sugar Levels

Increased sugar levels is one of the major side effects of eating brown sugar. This sucrose and simple carb sugar gets easily digested in the body and releases glucose very fast into the bloodstream. This results in sudden sugar spikes. Although it is a low-calorie sugar, its impact is as harmful as white sugar.

Heart Problems

Increased sugar levels in diabetics can cause various heart conditions like heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, restlessness, increased heart rate, fatigue, increased thirst, etc. So it is essential to keep your heart healthy and avoid any sugary foods. 

Read More: Is Coconut Milk Good for Diabetics?

Impacts Bone Health

Another side effect of eating brown sugar is that it can affect your bone health and can weaken them. It also can cause some bone conditions like osteoporosis and can damage bone formation.

Causes Inflammation

Excess sugar intake can give rise to inflammation in our body. Inflammation is the reason for various health conditions. Sugary food can increase inflammation, especially in the bones and joints, and cause pain and swelling. Along with that, it also triggers the liver to produce more fatty acids that also aid inflammation.

Brown Sugar and Hypoglycemia

Generally, foods high in simple sugars, such as brown sugar, can lead to rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, which may be problematic for individuals with hypoglycemia. Therefore, it’s crucial for people with hypoglycemia to moderate their sugar intake and focus on a balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and healthy fats.

Again, it’s crucial to consult a professional doctor to determine the best dietary plan for managing hypoglycemia, as individual needs may vary based on factors such as overall health, lifestyle, and medical history. They can provide personalised advice according to the certain demands of an individual’s body.

Read More: Indian Diet for Diabetes Reversal.

Prediabetes and Brown Sugar Connection

If you have prediabetes, it’s essential for you to carefully manage your diet to help manage your sugar levels and delay or halt the incoming of type 2 diabetes.

Like all sugars, brown sugar can raise blood sugar levels when consumed. Therefore, it’s generally recommended for prediabetes patients to limit their intake of added sugars, including brown sugar. High sugar intake can lead to spikes in blood glucose, which may contribute to insulin resistance and progression to type 2 diabetes.

Instead of using brown sugar, prediabetes patients should focus on adopting a balanced diet that includes whole foods with complex carbohydrates, fiber, and lean proteins. Some alternatives to brown sugar include using artificial sweeteners in moderation, or natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit.


So in this article we answer big question: Is brown sugar good for diabetics? And we find brown sugar for diabetics is a type of sugar with bare minimum to no health benefits. The amount of nutrients in brown sugar is in low quantities that have no impact on health. So according to our judgement we don’t consider brown sugar benefits any different from normal sugar. Brown sugar for diabetics is equally harmful as white sugar. It has traces of minerals and vitamins that do not add to good health. To get these nutrients, one can switch to a healthy diet like high fiber, lean protein, low-carb, low-calorie food, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, healthy smoothies, etc. Also, it is important for a diabetic to lead a healthy life, so adding a nutrient-dense diet, ample exercise, good sleep, and no stress can do wonders and keep your high sugar levels at bay.


Is Brown Sugar Healthy Sugar?

Brown sugar benefits are more than normal sugar is a plain myth. It is as harmful as white sugar. It can adversely affect your sugar levels. So before adding this to your diet, consider some factors like your glycemic control, fitness, sugar levels and lifestyle. One can have brown or white sugar in moderate quantities if these parameters are controlled.

Can I Eat Any Sugar In Diabetes?

If you have diabetes and have a sweet tooth, then there is one lovely option available for you, and that is stevia. Stevia is a healthy sweetener for people with diabetes. It is a natural sugar infused with various minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. It also helps in weight loss. So if you want to manage your sugar levels, reduce weight, and still want to have something sweet, then stevia is a good option for you. Stevia’s benefits are way much higher than brown sugar uses and benefits.

Is Gud Better Than Brown Sugar?

For diabetics, gud or jaggery benefits are more than brown sugar benefits. Unlike processed sugar, jaggery is raw, with many nutrients and health benefits. It is also good for digestion. So doctors often suggest jaggery as a sweetener in sweets and desserts. Jaggery is also used in some traditional medicines and home remedies because of its antioxidant and medicinal properties. However, before using jaggery, consult your doctor, also, make sure to use organic jaggery without any additives and chemicals.


Can Brown Sugar Increase Sugar Levels Similar To White Sugar?

White sugar and brown sugar benefits and drawbacks have the same impact on sugar levels. They are simple carbs that break glucose into the body rapidly and can cause sugar spikes. The nutritional profile of both sugars is almost the same except for some trace amounts of nutrients in the brown sugar. However, these nutrients have no role in making brown sugar a healthy option. They are negligible, so avoid both sugars equally and have them in a moderate amount based on your sugar levels.


Can I Eat Brown Sugar in Diabetes?

People think that brown sugar benefits diabetes patients and is a healthier option than white sugar, which is not true. Brown sugar in diabetes puts the same strain on your body as white sugar. It increases your sugar levels and can cause sudden spikes. Since many people believe that brown sugar has some nutrients, it is safe for diabetes, but on the contrary, the quantity of nutrients in brown sugar has nearly no nutrients. So with the proper diet and controlled sugar levels, one can add moderate amounts of sugar to their diet. However, more sugar can increase the risk of various health conditions like heart problems, fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, obesity, high sugar levels, etc.


Is Brown Sugar Good For Diabetics?

Brown sugar is a simple carbohydrate and pure sucrose that can increase your blood sugar levels. Brown sugar benefits are very low as it has fewer nutrients that have no positive load on the body. If you have reasonable glycemic control with a healthy, active life, you can have brown sugar in moderate quantities.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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