Difference Between Raw Sugar and White Sugar

You can either have a sweet tooth or a salty tooth or you equally appreciate them. Either way, you can not deny the temptation of some mouth-watering desserts. Occasions seem dull without a sweet dish complementing its purpose. Also, fruits and vegetables have sugar in them. The origin of this sweetness is sugar. Sugar is composed of sucrose. This article highlights variations between raw sugar and white sugar.

Raw Sugar vs White Sugar 

The main difference between raw sugar and white sugar is the way they undergo filtration. Raw sugar is less processed than white sugar. There is a significant difference in their texture and flavor. Sugar falls under the classification of carbohydrates. Sugar has natural and artificial sources. Sugar is naturally present in fruits and vegetables and they are extracted to produce artificial sugars. Sugar cane has high sugar content.

Raw Sugar vs White Sugar

The initial stage of sugar extraction is the formation of raw sugar. Squeezing out the juices from the cane sugar is the first step that is initiated in the factory. The process extracts 95 to 97 percentage of sucrose. The extracted viscous fluid is acidic in nature and thus it is neutralized using alkali

White sugar on the other hand is the more refined version of raw sugar. It undergoes stages of elimination to gain its artificial structure. The juice that is gathered from the cane sugar contains lots of impurities. Apart from sucrose, it has polysaccharides, amino acids, flavonoids, organic acids, and fiber. 

Comparison Table Between Raw Sugar and White Sugar

Parameters of ComparisonRaw sugar White sugar
Sucrose The sucrose content in raw sugar is 96 to 99 percentThe sucrose content in white sugar is more than 99.9 percent
Glucose The percent of glucose in raw sugar is 0.3-0.6The percent of glucose in white sugar is less than 0.01%
Fructose 0.3-0.6 percent of raw sugar is fructoseLess than 0.01% of white sugar is fructose
Starch Starch content ranges from 50-400 p.p.mStarch content ranges from 51 to 214 mg/kg (1/1000000 = 1 p.p.m)
Texture Coarse-textured (rough) Polished or smooth

What is Raw Sugar?

Raw sugar is partially processed sugar. Cane sugar, the raw material is harvested followed by the extraction of the juices from its stem. The extracted juice contains only 15 to 20 percent of sucrose, thus the processes are performed to get rid of the impurities and collect the sugar in its purest form possible. The juice is further purified via filtration followed by evaporation. The step is executed till the molasses are removed. There is a visible color change as well. Consequently, it passes through a centrifuge (a machine that separates liquids with different densities applying centrifugal force) and dried out to get raw sugar. Raw sugar is then distributed to industries and local markets for further processing and common usage respectively.

There is enough probability that the cane sugar might deteriorate. That is why industries prefer converting them into raw sugar and store them for further purification. Processed raw sugar has longevity as long as many years.

The composition of raw sugar is enlisted as follows

 Sucrose  96 to 99% 

 Glucose   0.3 to 0.6 %

 Fructose  0.3 to 0.6 %

 Moisture  0.1 to 0.5 percentage

 Ash  0.1 to 0.5 %

 Starch  50-400 p.p.m.

 Other polysaccharides  800- 1500 p.p.m.

 Color   800-3000 ICUMSA units.

What is White Sugar?

White sugar is the most refined form of sugar. The concentration of sucrose in white sugar is 99.9%. After we obtain the raw sugar, it is further processed to gain white sugar. The liquid extracted from the stem of the sugar cane is turbid due to its acidity. Thus alkali is reacted with it to neutralize it. The remaining impurities are eliminated via the addition of sulfite or CO2 or lime. Then the product is finally crystallized. White sugar is the most common kitchen component in any household. 

Types of white sugar

Pearl or decorating sugar 

Table sugar

Caster sugar

Powdered sugar

Sugar cubes

White sugar is hygroscopic that is it has an affinity towards water, it absorbs moisture from the air. So white sugar must be contained in an airtight container. White sugar is used in baking due to its higher dissolving tendency in contrast to raw sugar. The molasses content is almost absent in white sugar which gives it a sweet taste devoid of any impurities while raw sugar has a thin layer of molasses that results in varying tastes. Also, white sugar is used in food preparation due to its unique texture that goes well with food.

Main Differences Between Raw Sugar and White Sugar

  1. The sucrose content in raw sugar is 96 to 99 percent whereas white sugar has more than 99.9% of sucrose.
  2. Raw sugar has a glucose percent of 0.3 to 0.6 while the percent of glucose in white sugar is less than 0.01%.
  3. Raw sugar comprises 0.3 to 0.6 percent of fructose and white sugar has less than 0.01 percent of sucrose content.
  4. Raw sugar has a starch content varying from 50 to 400 p.p.m whereas starch content in white sugar ranges from 51 to 214 mg/kg.
  5. Raw sugar has a coarse texture, on the other hand, white sugar is smoother in texture.


The main source of raw sugar and white sugar is cane sugar or sugarbeets. The extracting of pure sucrose goes through a two-step mechanism. The first step is the formation of raw sugar and then through further filtration evaporation and crystallization white sugar is extracted. Raw sugar has a coarser texture than white sugar which has a defined crystalline structure. The binding tendency of white sugar makes it versatile and thus used in cooking, baking. Raw sugar has lesser sucrose content than white sugar. Raw sugar contains a thin layer of molasses whereas white sugar has no trace of molasses. They have similar calories and thus do not vary in nutritional value. Overall raw sugar and white sugar are sugar and they just differ in the stages of purification, raw sugar is partially pure, whereas white sugar is the purest form.


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