Compared to white sugar, demerara is slightly less processed and due to the nature of how it’s made, it also contains some molasses. “The molasses gives it trace amounts of vitamins and minerals and a slight toffee or caramel flavor,” notes registered dietitian Jenna Gorham, R.D., L.D.
However, in terms of the health differences between demerara and other sugars, the general consensus is that it’s no more or less good for you. “It’s important to remember that sugar in any form is still added sugar,” Gorham says. Notably, demerara and white sugar both have the same amount of calories and will cause a similar reaction when it comes to your glycemic index and blood sugar.
“It is recommended that Americans two years and older keep their intake of added sugars to less than 10% of their total daily calories,” notes Hultin of sugar in general. “Quantity and portions matter.”
It’s really in the texture that demerara differentiates itself as it is a larger grain sugar than its counterparts. “In baking, you can use them all but demerara is also more commonly used for a garnish because of its texture and large grain,” explains Hultin. Additionally, while white and brown sugar are softer, demerara is going to be a bit more coarse and better suited to sprinkle on top of recipes.