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Nutritional Properties and Health Facts on Turbinado Sugar- HealthifyMe


Nutritional Properties and Health Facts on Turbinado Sugar- HealthifyMe


Turbinado Sugar is also known as raw sugar. However, it varies from other sugars since its making process involves pressing the sugar cane, which retains the plant’s flavour and the natural molasses present in the sugar. The resulting syrup is heated to crystals and spun to separate them from the leftover liquid. This component is dark in colour, and the texture is coarse than the regular granulated sugar. Turbinado sugar is commonly available at the local cafes and condiment bars where people add them to lattes etc. It contains natural molasses, which gives its crystals a light to pale brown colour and a higher surface area than other sugars. It’s also more moist and flavorful than regular sugar, making it ideal for baking.

Even if processed, it is not precisely raw sugar, as some may refer it to. Some amount of processing is a necessity which helps to avoid contamination and removes dirt and other impurities that raw sugar may have. However, it is less processed than brown sugar and table sugar. Since it undergoes less processing, it consists of antioxidants from the molasses left behind. Therefore, the antioxidants in turbinado sugar may provide some benefits. However, even a tiny amount is more than brown or white sugar can provide.

Nutrition Fact of Turbinado Sugar

According to the USDA, 100g of turbinado Sugar contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 399kcal
  • Total fat: 0g
  • Phosphorus: 1mg
  • Potassium: 29 mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 99.8g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Calcium: 12mg
  • Iron: 0.37mg

Health Benefits of Turbinado Sugar

There is hardly any piece of evidence supporting the benefits of turbinado sugar. However, many experts consider it a healthy alternative compared to other kinds of sugar that undergo more processing. However, the nutrients present are in relatively small amounts. Therefore, it barely has any advantages. Turbinado sugar’s reputation as a healthier sugar is due in part to the following reasons:

Rich Nutrition Value

Turbinado sugar undergoes lesser processing in contrast to sugar. Therefore it retains the natural molasses and nutrients in it. Unlike other sugar-containing empty calories, turbinado sugar has traces of phosphorus, calcium, iron, and potassium. 

Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly

Turbinado sugar may also be appealing to vegans and vegetarians. This sweetener does not subject to bone char, an animal product utilised in the sugar refining process. Those who follow a plant-based diet may prefer turbinado sugar to white table sugar or other sweeteners. However, it has a slightly off-white colour, and the crystals are not as smooth as refined sugar because of the molasses.


A food allergy is a reaction that arises when your immune system reacts abnormally to a dietary protein, mistaking it for a dangerous toxin. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) states that food allergy symptoms can range from minor to life-threatening. Sugar allergy and intolerance are also conceivable. In addition, mild digestive pain, flatulence, headaches, or more severe side effects such as fainting may occur.

If you feel you have a sugar allergy or intolerance, consult your doctor for specific advice.

Specific forms of sugar make the body more prone to allergic reactions. If you have any of the following symptoms after eating this sugar, you might be allergic to it:

  • Stomach
  • Cramps 
  • Vomiting
  • Hives

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can occur in some persons. It is potentially fatal. Among the symptoms are:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling of the lips 
  • Tongue
  • Throat

Lactose and other sugar intolerance frequently affect the gastrointestinal system. After consuming these sugars, you will experience symptoms such as:

  • Bloating 
  • Gas
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea 
  • Abdominal 
  • Cramps 
  • Diarrhoea

True sugar allergies are uncommon. However, sugar intolerance, particularly lactose intolerance, is becoming more widespread. Lactose is challenging to digest for approximately 65% of the population. As you become older, this sugar gets more challenging to digest. Sugar intolerance will not develop into an allergy. Instead, an immune system reaction causes an allergic reaction. Food intolerance occurs when your body has difficulty digesting food. If you have a strong sugar allergy, eating it can cause a deadly reaction. If anaphylaxis is left untreated, it can be fatal.

Adverse Effects of Turbinado Sugar

While turbinado sugar is not as refined as white sugar, it is still sugar. Besides that, your body can quickly break it down for energy; it offers no other significant health benefits. In other words, it still resembles white sugar. But, turbinado sugar has more minerals than white sugar. However, these minerals are present only in trace amounts and carry the same hazards of overconsumption as refined white sugar.

Gastrointestinal tract disorders can also make it more difficult for the body to break down sugar. Some persons with IBS have stomach discomfort after consuming fructose. Children with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGD) may have difficulty digesting and absorbing lactose and fructose.

People with celiac disease may also have difficulty ingesting sugar. Gluten intolerance occurs in people who have this condition. Their immune systems react adversely to gluten, a protein present in wheat and other cereals. When they consume gluten, their bodies unleash attacks that cause intestinal damage. Their systems may also have difficulty digesting down carbohydrates, such as lactose and fructose.

Your body converts extra sugars into glucose, resulting in a harmful excess. This excess glucose can result in:

  • Obesity and weight gain
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Syndrome of Metabolic Syndrome
  • High Blood Pressure

Preparation Tips

Turbinado sugar has a subtle molasses flavour that is more rounded and complex than conventional white sugar’s plain sweetness due to its unrefined nature. It’s delicious in hot liquids like coffee and tea, and it adds a nice crunch and texture to oatmeal or yoghurt. It is also an excellent ingredient in baked items!

  • Sprinkle a tablespoon over pies before baking for a suitable appearance and flavour. 
  • Top muffins with a large sprinkle for a “bakery-style” appearance 
  • Try a tablespoon in a crumble, crisp, or on top of a cobbler.

Recipes Using Turbinado Sugar

Candied Yams

  • Servings: 10-15
  • Cooking time: 80 minutes


  • Softened unsalted butter: ½ cup 
  • Sweet potatoes: 5 medium-sized
  • Kosher salt: 1 tsp
  • Grounded cinnamon: 1 tsp
  • Turbinado sugar: 1 cup
  • Brown sugar: ¼ cup
  • Vanilla extract: 1 tbsp


  • Preheat the oven to 350°C. Grease a 9- by a 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. 
  • Wash properly, slice ½ inch thick, and arrange in the baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a skillet over moderate heat. 
  • Sprinkle in salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugars and whisk until all ingredients get incorporated into the butter. 
  • Remove from flame and mix vanilla extract.
  • Cover the butter mixture over sweet potatoes, then cover the baking dish with foil.
  • Bake the potatoes for 30 minutes. Then, take the potatoes from the oven and coat them with the candied mixture. 
  • Replace foil and bake until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced and the sauce thickens(15-20 minutes). 
  • Remove from the oven, let rest 5-10 minutes, and it is ready to be served. 

Orange-Cranberry Scones with Turbinado Sugar

  • Servings: 8 pieces
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • One cup: 250 ml


  • All-purpose flour: 1½ cup
  • Quick oats: ¾ cup
  • Baking powder: 2 tsp
  • Salt: ½ tbsp
  • Turbinado sugar: 5 tsp
  • Unsalted butter: 6 tbsp
  • Dried cranberries: ½ cup 
  • Grated orange zest: 2 tsp
  • Buttermilk: ½ cup


  • Preheat the oven to 425° C. 
  • In a bowl, whisk the flour, oats, baking powder, salt and three tablespoons of sugar. Use a pastry blender or two knives, and cut the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  • Mix in the cranberries and orange zest. 
  • Stir in the 1/2 cup of buttermilk until a stiff dough forms; knead until it just comes together.
  • Pair the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick round on a floured surface and cut into eight wedges. 
  • Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle the remaining sugar on top. 
  • Transfer to the baking sheet and bake in the centre of the oven for 17 minutes, until slightly brown. Let cool slightly and serve. 

Storage and Safety

Turbinado sugar can harden or become lumpy if exposed to too much air due to its greater moisture content. The manufacturer suggests storing it in an airtight glass container in a cool, dark place. A relatively smaller amount can be kept in airlock packets or plastic containers. Once opened, it has to be air locked. 

Ways to Use Turbinado Sugar

  • Finely grounded cereals can be topped, such as oatmeal and cream of wheat.
  • Serve with whole-grain muffins, scones, and quick bread.
  • For smoking or grilling meat or poultry, add a dry spice rub.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve over baked sweet potatoes or roasted carrots and beets.
  • You can make candied nuts with pecans and almonds.
  • Pear, apple, or peach halves, can be baked and topped with this sugar.
  • Fill a graham cracker pie shell with the mixture.
  • Top pies, apple crisp, and crème brûlée with decorations.
  • For a more natural look, sprinkle on top of whole-wheat sugar cookies.
  • Use whole-grain toast with cinnamon.
  • Make coffee, tea, or other hot beverages sweeter.
  • Create your natural body scrub or face exfoliant.


A serving of turbinado sugar contains only sugars; there is no fibre or starch. Turbinado sugar has a glycemic load of 3, which is relatively low. However, keep in mind that glycemic load takes into account serving size. Your estimated glycemic load will rise if you eat more than a teaspoon. Its grains are uneven compared to refined white sugar, making them an excellent finishing sugar.

While refined white sugar comes from either sugar cane or sugar beets, turbinado comes from the first pressing of sugar cane. The cane juice is then only heated once (instead of refined granulated sugar and boiled several times to rid it of all residual molasses and any brown colour). Sugars crystallise due to the boiling process, and the crystals are subsequently spun in a centrifuge to remove excess moisture. Turbinado sugar is the outcome. It is minimally processed and contains traces of molasses. However, it does not provide much nutritious value. Though it can be a tasty component, sweetener, or topping, it, like all sugars, should be used in moderation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is turbinado sugar the same as brown sugar?

A. Brown sugar is much darker than turbinado sugar, with a golden hue rather than a deep brown colour. Also, turbinado sugar contains larger, coarser crystals than brown sugar, which has smaller, softer crystals that dissolve more easily in creamed mixes, sauces, and marinades.

Q. Is turbinado sugar healthier?

A. Turbinado sugar is less processed and therefore contains natural molasses and nutrients. Consequently, it is healthier than table sugar because it has little amount of nutrients, unlike other sugar, which has empty calories. 

Q. Is turbinado sugar the same as white sugar?

A. No! Turbinado sugar is not white sugar. It is different in texture. It also has an additional nutrient content and a slight colour difference. White sugar has no nutrients, whereas turbinado sugar has iron, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. 

Q. Can I replace brown sugar with turbinado sugar?

A. Brown and turbinado sugar can be exchanged in various situations, depending on their usage. Brown sugar dissolves more easily in recipes; therefore, turbinado sugar may need to be ground into finer crystals and used as a substitute. Otherwise, you can substitute brown sugar for white sugar, but remember that brown sugar has a more robust flavour.

Q. How do you melt turbinado sugar?

A. Like all sugar, you can melt turbinado sugar. However, subjecting it to a higher temperature and constantly stirring it will give you your desired results. A temperature of 320°F is suitable to melt the sugar.

Q. Does turbinado sugar taste different?

A.Since turbinado sugar contains some natural molasses, it provides a slight caramel flavour/taste. However, most people hardly notice the difference in taste. Therefore it can be considered negligible. 

Q. Can I use turbinado sugar in my coffee?

A.You may also discover that turbinado is also known as Muscovado and Demerara sugar. They are not identical, but they all emerge from different levels of processing and can be used to make coffee.

Q. Does turbinado sugar expire?

A.After opening, turbinado sugar can last up to two years in the cupboard. Also, sugar, technically, never spoils. Therefore, please consume turbinado sugar within two years. However, it can still be useful for baking purposes after two years. 

Q. Will turbinado sugar dissolve?

A.Because it is gritty, it does not dissolve well in batters as granulated sugar does, even after whisking the batter containing turbinado sugar thoroughly. Therefore, it will have a crispy texture when done. However, turbinado sugar dissolves in water.

Q. How do you bake with turbinado sugar?

A. You can use turbinado sugar in place of granulated white sugar in baked items in a 1:1 ratio. First, figure out how much white sugar the original recipe includes. Then, measure the same amount of turbinado sugar.

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