White sugar

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A bowl of white sugar.

White sugar, also called table sugar, granulated sugar or regular sugar, is the sugar commonly used in North America and Europe, made either of beet sugar or cane sugar, which has undergone a refining process. White sugar (and some brown sugar) produced from sugar cane may still be refined using bone char by a few sugar cane refiners.[1] For this reason white sugar from sugar cane may not be vegan. Beet sugar has never been processed with bone char and is vegan.[2]


The refining completely removes the molasses and makes the white sugar actually sucrose (with a purity higher than 99.7%[3]), whose molecular formula is C12H22O11. The origin of the sugar thus produced is therefore chemically indistinguishable (sugar cane or sugar beet): it is possible, however, to identify its origin through a carbon-13 analysis (similar to radiocarbon dating used in archeology).[3]

From a chemical and nutritional point of view, white sugar does not contain - in comparison to brown sugar - some minerals (such as calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium) present in molasses, even if the quantities contained in brown sugar are not significant.[4][5][6] The only detectable differences are, therefore, the white color and the less intense flavor.[6]


  1. ^ "Animal Bones". www.sucrose.com. Retrieved 2019-09-19.
  2. ^ "A List of Bone Char Free Vegan Sugar Companies". ordinaryvegan.net. Retrieved 2019-09-19.
  3. ^ a b Dario Bressanini (3 June 2009). "Miti culinari 6: lo zucchero veleno bianco". Le Scienze Blog (in Italian). Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  4. ^ Raffaella Procenzano (28 January 2014). "Lo zucchero bianco fa male più dello zucchero grezzo?" (in Italian). Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  5. ^ Anahad O'Connor (12 June 2007). "The Claim: Brown Sugar Is Healthier Than White Sugar". Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b Dario Bressanini (6 April 2009). "Miti culinari 5: le virtù dello zucchero di canna". Le Scienze Blog (in Italian). Retrieved 30 October 2018.

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