Demerara sugar: what it is, benefits and what it is for

You may have seen demerara sugar on the market at least once, but do you know what it is?

This is a type of sugar that does not undergo chemical whitening processes. In this way, it manages to keep all the nutrients and phytochemicals that are only good for the body.

Thus, demerara becomes not only a more natural option for sweetening food, but it is also better absorbed and metabolized by the body, is good for the heart and even improves the body’s defenses against diseases.

Demerara sugar: what is it?

Demerara sugar is a type of sugar with a caramel color and large crystals, it is usually wetter than the white versions and has a more intense flavor, similar to molasses.

It is manufactured directly from brown sugar and does not receive chemical whitening additives . Therefore, it manages to maintain a similar nutritional value.

With larger, darker grains that do not dissolve easily, this type of sugar is coated with a thin layer of molasses , which justifies the characteristic flavor, but smoother than brown.

These characteristics make this type of sugar have a more pleasant taste for most people, being widely used in the preparation of bread , cakes and cookies. ( 1 )

Health Benefits of Demerara Sugar

Did you know that the color of sugar is indicative of its benefits for the body?

When the product has a dark tone it means that it has retained all of its nutrients and other compounds important to health.

Thus, demerara sugar is very rich in several vitamins and minerals , in antioxidant compounds.

nourishes the organism

Demerara sugar undergoes a minimal and very light refinement process without the addition of chemical compounds. This different manufacturing process makes it able to retain most of the nutrients found in brown sugar .

Every 100 grams of demerara contains 94.5 grams of carbohydrates, 127 milligrams of calcium, 38 milligrams of iron and 522 milligrams of potassium . It also has vitamins A, D , E and some of the B complex. ( 2 )

All these nutrients would be lost if it went through the refinement and bleaching process.

However, you must remember that, like all sugar, it is high in carbohydrates, which makes it a high-calorie food. Each 100-gram serving contains about 369 calories, about the same as refined sugar (387 calories).

Chemical processes cause white sugars to contain only calories but no nutrients. Which is why they are called “empty calories”.

prevents diseases

As a substance that is almost in its pure state, demerara is a food full of antioxidants .

These substances are important because they protect the body from damage caused by free radicals , molecules produced during the degradation of cell components and that disrupt the normal functioning of the body.

Thus, changing refined sugar for demerara can help prevent various diseases and make the body work better. ( 3 )

It’s a more natural option

White sugar, especially refined sugar, undergoes several chemical processes so that it can have a light color and fine grains that are easy to dissolve.

This process is done by cooking, washing and evaporating the molasses, in addition to adding chemical substances , which remove the nutrients and transform them into empty calories.

In demerara this does not happen, as it undergoes a refinement process that forms the crystals, but does not remove the molasses coverage and maintains the nutritional value.

The result is a food that is almost raw and does not come with chemical additives, making the type an option for those seeking to avoid consuming processed and ultra-processed products. ( 1 )

good for the heart

Another reason to switch from white sugar to demerara is its ability to help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or accidents .

This is because of the large amount of potassium found in food. The mineral is essential for the body, as it works inside cells and ensures that blood pressure remains at normal levels.

This effect, combined with its antioxidant capacity, protects the heart cells and prevents several types of diseases that affect the organ, as long as demerara sugar is not consumed in excess. ( 4 )

How to use demerara sugar?

Demerara sugar can be used in many recipes, including as a healthy substitute for white sugars.

The differences in flavor, texture and appearance give a special touch to the preparations. In dishes such as cakes, breads and biscuits, these details do not interfere at all and still make the preparation tastier.

Banana cake

Banana cake or bread is simple, delicious and easy to make . This recipe uses oatmeal and you can still substitute the traditional flour for the whole version, making the recipe even lighter.


  • 6 very ripe dwarf bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup (of tea) of canola or coconut oil
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 1 cup of wheat flour
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 2 cups of fresh sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soup
  • Cinnamon to taste.

Preparation mode

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Place the dough in a greased mold and bake in a preheated oven at 180º C for about 50 minutes or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Wait for it to cool, unmold and the cake is ready to be served. You can use some sliced ​​bananas to mix in the dough, which adds a special touch to the cake.

Brigadier fit

The traditional Brazilian sweet is very caloric and not very healthy, due to the addition of condensed milk. However, for those who don’t give up a sweet throughout the day, it’s worth trying out this brigadeiro fit recipe .


  • 5 teaspoons of demerara sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 150 grams of ricotta cream (approximately one pot).

Preparation mode

Put the ingredients in a pan and mix well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about five minutes, or until the sweet has the characteristic consistency of the brigadeiro.

Finally, transfer to a container and let it cool before eating. Attention, the ideal is to use cocoa powder, as it has no sugar in its composition. And don’t worry about ricotta, it’s a sweet cheese with a very mild flavor that goes well with chocolate.

What is the best sugar to consume?

Demerara, crystal, refined, brown or light sugar, which is the best sugar for your health? When in doubt, the Ministry of Health indicates choosing the darkest one , as it will have more nutrients in its composition and will be less processed.

This makes brown sugar , which is raw sugar, the best of all for food. This type, however, has a strong flavor that does not please all palates.

Therefore, there is the demerara option, which conserves nutrients and has a milder taste.


According to the Ministry of Health, all sugars are high-calorie foods that increase glucose very quickly. This makes excessive consumption a key factor in the development of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

Therefore, diabetics should avoid this food. When choosing demerara as a healthier option, also control your daily sugar intake, an essential point for those who want to lose weight or are predisposed to developing chronic diseases .

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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