We’re sure you’ve heard it before: “Use brown sugar, para mas healthy!” We hate to break it to you, but brown sugar isn’t exactly what it seems.


  • It’s white sugar, but with molasses added back in

Yep. That’s what brown sugar is. It is basically white sugar that has added molasses added back in during the process. This is done to reintroduce the some trace minerals back into the processed white sugar. The moisture of brown sugar also changes as molasses is introduced back in making it ideal for some cooking and baking recipes over white sugar. However, there are other alternatives that can be considered much healthier than brown sugar.


  • But isn’t molasses good?

As mentioned, yes because it does contain trace minerals. However, the question here is how the sugar is processed prior to adding the molasses. For sugar to be white and fine, it goes through a number of processes which include bleaching. Some of the chemicals used for bleaching sugar include styrene, divinylacetylene benzol, benzol peroxide, polyvinyl alcohol, bentonite, concentrated sulfuric acid, methacrylic acid, sodium hydroxide, methyl chloride, diethylenetriamine (DETA) etc. These chemicals are mainly for industrial use. So, even if you add molasses back in, the traces of chemicals found in the processed, refined white sugar is still not good for you.


  • So, what are my alternatives?

Coco sugar, muscovado sugar, unfiltered honey…these are just some of the sweeteners you can use. The key here is to choose the ones that have gone through less chemical refining, bleaching, and/or processing. When buying your sweeteners, always check the label and never take things at face value. For example, there are lots of stevia brands being marketed in the Philippines. However, upon closer inspection, you will find that, currently, there is no stevia brand in the Philippines that is pure stevia. Most either have maltodextrin or some other sweetener mixed in, diluting the pure stevia content. Even with honey, make sure what you are buying is real honey and not “commercial grade honey flavored syrup” which has been seen in groceries nationwide.