Sugar vs Jaggery: Are They Really That Different?
by Namita S on Feb 07, 2024
In the realm of sweeteners, jaggery is often seen as better than sugar and considered a healthier alternative. Is this really the case? Wildermart dives into the topic to find out!
Sugar is derived from sugar cane or sugar beets. It undergoes a refining process that removes impurities and leaves behind sucrose – the white, crystalline substance we're all familiar with. What makes sugar so great is its neutral flavor, making it a versatile addition to sweeten any dish.
Jaggery is made by boiling sugar cane juice or palm sap, allowing it to solidify into a concentrated block. The result is a rich, brown sweetener with a distinct flavor profile, containing trace elements of minerals not found in refined sugar.
Nutrient Content of Jaggery and Sugar:
When it comes to nutritional content, jaggery takes the lead. Unlike sugar, jaggery retains some vitamins and minerals in sugar cane or palm sap. It contains small amounts of iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, and B6. These additional nutrients can contribute to jaggery being seen as a more wholesome alternative. However the catch is that to get the benefits of these micronutrients, one needs to consume a considerable amount of jaggery, which has other repercussions on health.
One crucial aspect to consider is the glycemic index (GI) – a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Sugar has a higher GI compared to jaggery, meaning it can cause a rapid spike and subsequent crash in blood sugar. Jaggery, with its lower GI, is often considered a better option for those looking to manage their blood sugar levels more effectively. However the difference in GI between the two is not much and hence one should be vary of jaggery's ability to spike blood sugar.
Both sugar and jaggery contribute calories to your diet, with jaggery being slightly more calorically dense due to its natural, unrefined state.
Finally, in the sugar vs. jaggery debate, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. While jaggery may offer some health benefits over sugar, it should still be had in moderate quantities. This is why we say NO to products that have first ingredient as sugar and always warn you about excessive added sugar.