Nutrition Q&A: Is brown sugar low in calories?

Nutrition and Dietetics expert, Parvathy Radhakrishnan answers readers’ questions on nutrition. Get your doubts cleared and see them featured on our FAQ page every Wednesday.
This week’s answers:

1. hi. What is the difference between brown and white sugar. Can brown sugar be used instead of white in all recipes?
While white sugar is refined sugar, brown sugar is unrefined sugar that contains a little of the molasses and hence the brown colour. Depending on the molasses content the colour maybe mild or dark.
Both white and brown sugar have more or less same calories. Though the brown sugar contains minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium it is insignificant nutritionally.
You cannot use brown sugar in all recipes. The texture of baked products will vary because brown sugar is moist.

2. dear madam, my weight is 74 kgs and height is 5 feet 5. I eat a lot during dinner as I am very hungry then. I travel for 1 and half hrs to get home after office so I cant eat anything in the evening. How can I avoid heavy dinner?
You are in excess of 12 kg body weight and cutting down on dinner is one of the tips to reduce weight because as the day progresses metabolic rate reduces.
One of the reasons why you may be feeling hungry at dinner is lack of enough protein at breakfast. Another way to avoid eating big dinners is to eat a protein/high fiber snack between lunch and dinner. You can carry a fruit and packet of lassi or milk with you and have it just when you finish work.
Add lots of raw vegetables as salad at dinner so it satisfies your hunger but with lesser calories.

3. hello. We use a lot of coconut milk in curries, puddings/kheer. Is it fattening and will it increase cholesterol level. Please help.
Since it contains saturated fat, it should be consumed in limited amounts, Saturated fats do increase cholesterol. Excessive intake of Coconut milk will increase triglyceride levels in the blood.
You can use skim milk or ground almond/cashew paste as an alternative to coconut milk.

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