Lately I've been wondering about the difference between light and dark brown sugar, pure cane, and turbinado.
Turns out, not a heck of a lot.
All sugar starts from tropical sugar cane (or beats). Its harvested, boiled, and spun in a centrifuge to remove the molasses. At this point, we have turbinado, the costly stuff that's found under the better known brand name Sugar in the Raw. Because its only been processed once, it retains the more natural brown coloring.
Pure cane sugar, the stuff we've used in our coffee for a good bit, is boiled again and put through the centrifuge a second time to remove the remaining impurities. Sometimes its bleached to remove all color, other organic varieties leave the slightly golden coloring.
And brown sugar?
Well its processed the same as pure cane sugar, but then the molasses is re-added so the result is a more uniform product. Light is about 3.5% molasses, dark is right around 6.5%. So really, when it comes to diet, there's no difference between the three.
One is no healthier than the other, and none have "benefits" over the others. It all comes down to which taste you like better (I'm a light brown sugar guy).