Brown Sugar Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/23/22 •  10 min read
brown sugar side effects


Energy: brown sugar side effects may include temporary energy boost that lasts between 30 and 60 minutes before crashing

Longevity: brown sugar side effects may include fatty liver disease, heart disease, high blood sugar levels, several chronic conditions, type 2 diabetes *when consumed excessively

Appearance: brown sugar side effects may include obesity, weight gain

Brown sugar is…

a kids book about plant based eating
Teach Kids Where Our Food Comes From. Look Inside!


Water footprint: low, it takes 1,782 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of refined sugar / 214 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of refined sugar

Carbon footprint: high, 3.93 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of refined cane sugar, a car driving equivalent of 9 miles or 14.5 kilometers

Destruction: high, brown sugar production is relatively destructive, cultivating and processing sugar environmentally impacts the loss of natural habitats, heavy use of agro-chemicals, discharge and runoff of polluted effluent, wholesale conversion of habitat on tropical islands and in coastal areas led to significant environmental damage, such as a loss of biodiversity

Brown sugar is…


Kills: none, brown sugar production does not require animals to be killed

Harms: brown sugar production does not require animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: various animals, brown sugar production uses bone char for processing, wildlife and ecosystems

Brown sugar is typically…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Brown sugar…

Is brown sugar nutritious?

Brown sugar is high in sugar and only contains slight amounts of calcium, iron, and potassium.

acidic foods and alkaline diet to improve ph levels

brown sugar is acidic.

Is brown sugar alkaline or acidic? Brown sugar is acidic. What is the pH level of brown sugar? Brown sugar has a 5.5 pH level, once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

brown sugar is gluten free.

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

Is brown sugar gluten free? Yes, brown sugar is gluten free. Brown sugar does not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

brown sugar is not a common food allergen.

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is brown sugar a common food allergen? No, brown sugar is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to brown sugar but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

brown sugar has a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does brown sugar have a high or low water footprint? Brown sugar has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of brown sugar? It takes 1,782 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of refined sugar / 214 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of refined sugar.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake…quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

brown sugar has a high carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does brown sugar have a high or low carbon footprint? Brown sugar has a relatively high carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of brown sugar? It takes around 3.93 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of refined cane sugar, a car driving equivalent of 9 miles or 14.5 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

brown sugar is unsustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

brown sugar is typically not vegan.

vegan food to eat on a vegan diet

Is brown sugar vegan? Typically, brown sugar is not vegan. Brown sugar comes from refined sugar with added molasses, it is not the byproduct of an animal but during the production process bone char is often used. See product information for further vegan specification.

According to Sentient Media, “more than 200 million land animals are killed for food around the world every day. Including wild-caught and farmed fishes, we get a total closer to 3 billion animals killed daily.”

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

brown sugar is a product that may or may not have labor issues.

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 


brown sugar – FoodData Central

CID Sugar Refined White and Sugar Brown.pdf – Agricultural

Cut Down on Added Sugars

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.