What Are the Differences Between Turbinado Sugar and White Sugar?

Manufacturers make white sugar by boiling cane juice several times until the process removes all of the molasses, while manufacturers only boil cane juice for turbinado sugar once. Therefore, turbinado sugar, also called raw sugar, retains trace amounts of minerals, such as calcium, iron and potassium. Turbinado sugar also has larger crystals and is darker than white sugar due to the molasses contained within. The molasses inside of turbinado sugar also affects the taste.

Despite these minor differences, there is no significant advantage to consuming turbinado sugar over white sugar. Both sugars contain the same amount of calories. The amount of minerals contained in turbinado sugar is minuscule: a person who eats turbinado sugar would have to consume 13 cups of the sugar to get the same amount of calcium that is in a glass of milk.

Research indicated that molasses acted as an antioxidant in cell cultures, but the researchers could not replicate the results in the human body. Therefore, there is no proof that the slight amount of molasses contained in raw sugar could act as an antioxidant.

Sometimes people refer to raw sugar as brown sugar because it is darker than white sugar. However, most brown sugar is fully refined white sugar that has five to 10 percent molasses added back into the mix.