Which Sugar is Best?

Clever Marketing has you Fooled…. 

Molasses = what makes “brown sugar” brown.

Better Sugars

“Brown Sugar is supposed to be better for you, right?”

Well, define “better.” We generalize, “don’t eat anything white.” White potato, white bread, white sugar. White is out and brown is “healthy.” But, what about brown sugar? I would argue most sugars are the about the same – especially when comparing carbohydrates…

  • White Sugar – 1 Tbsp = 15g carbohydrate
  • Brown Sugar – 1 Tbsp = 15g carbohydrate
  • Honey – 1 Tbsp = 15g carbohydrate
  • Maple Syrup – 1 Tbsp = 15g carbohydrate
  • Karo Syrup – 1 Tbsp = 15g carbohydrate
  • Molasses- 1 Tbsp = 15g carbohydrate
  • Agave Nectar- 1 Tbsp = 15g carbohydrate
  • *Powdered Sugar- 3 Tbsp = 15g carbohydrate

As far as grams of carbohydrate, they’re all about 15g of carbohydrate per 1 Tbsp – except for the powdered sugar. Beyond that, what’s the difference?

What about the fact that it’s “natural?”

Some sugars have very slight health benefits, but it would be like taking a 5 minute walk to cover your banana split. You’ve missed the point. Sugar is not intended to be “good for you.” It’s a fast acting source of energy with relatively little benefit beyond that. Unfortunately, there are not many of us that are in need of “fast acting energy” with our relatively sedentary jobs. For this reason, try to keep sugar to a minimum (you’re free to call me a hypocrite in about 1 minute).

Let’s go through the list again…

  • White Sugar – No nutrients, just energy
  • Brown Sugar – White sugar with molasses added (see molasses below).
  • Honey – Might help with seasonal allergies, if bought locally
  • Maple Syrup – Tastes different. Trace amounts of manganese and zinc.
  • Karo Syrup – No nutrients, just energy
  • Molasses- A source of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium… in TRACE AMOUNTS NOT LIKELY TO MAKE A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE. Strong taste.
  • Agave Nectar- Lower glycemic index – a slower release of sugar into the blood stream.
  • *Powdered Sugar- Fluffy consistency means more for less carbohydrate.

So… with all this in mind. I will introduce you to a cookie that is no better for you than any other cookie, but it tastes mighty fine.

Winter Gingersnap Cookies

Molasses Cookies


  • 2 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 Tbsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 C softened butter
  • 3/4 C white (or brown) sugar
  • 1/3 C molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 C cinnamon sugar


  1. Mix dry ingredients (flour and spices) together in a bowl and set aside. 
  2. Whip butter and sugar together. Once creamy, add molasses and egg. Mix well.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.
  4. Dip out 1 Tbsp of dough, roll it in between your hands and roll in bowl with cinnamon sugar to coat.
  5. Bake on cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes. Let cool. Will keep for a few weeks.

These are NOT healthy cookies. Those don’t exist. They are simply cookies – usually best when eaten during the wintertime, perhaps even with tea or coffee.

A Note to the Diabetics: 1 Cookie = 18 grams of carbohydrate. Budget it in to your 45 or 60 grams and make sure the rest of the meal is a winner (a.k.a. Lean meat, non-starchy vegetables, and healthy carbohydrate). 

Disclaimer: These gingersnap cookies are not as good as the gingersnap cookies my neighbor, Joan, makes for me. She’s had quite a few more years to work on her recipe and you can’t compete with perfection.


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