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Refined Sweeteners

Also indexed as: Beet Sugar, Brown Sugar, Cane Sugar, Confectioner’s Sugar, Corn Syrup, Demerera, Dextrose, Granulated Sugar, Grape Sugar, Molasses, Muscavado Sugar, Raw Sugar, Refined Sugar, Sucrose, Table Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, White Sugar


Preparation, uses, and tips

White sugar, raw sugar, and brown sugar are used to sweeten hot and cold beverages, and are key ingredients in most baked goods. Confectioner’s sugar is most often used to make icings for cakes. Corn syrup and molasses are used in baking.

Buying and storing tips

Store dry sweeteners (white sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar) in a dry place at room temperature. Store corn syrup and molasses in tightly sealed containers at room temperature or in the refrigerator.


White sugar

White sugar is known by many names, including sucrose, table sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, grape sugar, refined sugar, or granulated sugar. It is derived from the juice of sugar cane and sugar beets. Once extracted, the sugar cane or sugar beet juice is processed extensively to produce a white, granulated substance. “Invert sugar,” a variation on sucrose, is used commercially because it is sweeter than equal amounts of sucrose.

Raw sugar

Raw sugar is produced in the initial stages of white sugar’s manufacturing process. Raw sugar is coarser than white sugar, and is brownish in color. Although true raw sugar is banned in the United States because it may contain bacteria, molds, or insect parts, manufacturers partially refine raw sugar to remove the impurities and sell the product as “demerera,” ”turbinado,” or “muscavado” sugar.

Brown sugar

Brown sugar is made by adding molasses to white sugar.

Confectioner’s sugar

Confectioner’s sugar, or powdered sugar, is made by pulverizing white sugar. It also contains cornstarch to prevent the formation of lumps.

Corn syrup

Corn syrup (e.g., Karo® syrup) is a highly-refined, quickly-absorbed light colored syrup derived from corn. Also known as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), it is intensely sweet and inexpensive. It is manufactured by changing the glucose in cornstarch to fructose. HFCS is a major source of sugar in processed foods. It is added to canned and frozen fruit, soft drinks, juices, and a great many other packaged foods.


Dextrose is a form of glucose produced from cornstarch. It is commonly used in food production.


Molasses is thick, dark syrup produced during sugar refinement. It has a strong, bittersweet flavor.

Nutrition Highlights

Granulated sugar, 1 tsp (4g) granulated sugar
Calories: 16
Protein: 0.0g
Carbohydrate: 4.2g
Total Fat: 0.0g
Fiber: 0.0g

Brown sugar, 1 cup (220g) brown sugar (packed)
Calories: 827
Protein: 0.0g
Carbohydrate: 214g
Total Fat: 0.0g
Fiber: 0.0g

Confectioner’s sugar, 1 Tbsp (31g) confectioner’s sugar (powdered)
Calories: 31
Protein: 0.0g
Carbohydrate: 7.9g
Total Fat: 0.008g
Fiber: 0.0g

Molasses, 1 Tbsp (20g) molasses
Calories: 53
Protein: 0.0g
Carbohydrate: 13.7g
Total Fat: 0.02g
Fiber: 0.0g
*Good source of: Magnesium (48.4mg)

Corn syrup, 2 Tbsp (1/8 cup or 30mL) corn syrup
Calories: 120
Protein: 0.0g
Carbohydrate: 31g
Total Fat: 0.0g
Fiber: 0.0g

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.

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