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Sugar or Jaggery – the smarter choice!

Published September 14, 2017 Total Comments : 4

Sugar Or Jaggery:

When we talk about sweeteners crystal-like refined sugar comes to mind; sometimes Jaggery too. Jaggery is not as common as sugar now a days but do you know there was a time when jaggery was more popular than sugar. Jaggery known as Gur in India is what our parents and grandparents would associate with.

Both of them are produced by using sugarcane juice, but are treated and processed differently have different properties and benefits. They have different flavours and textures but can be substituted for each other in desserts and drinks.
Let’s explore the differences between sugar and jaggery to understand which one is healthier and better for us.


  • Sugar and jaggery have their own distinct colors and textures. Sugar is typically in the form of white or off white translucent crystals while jaggery can range from golden brown to dark brown in color, depending on the extent to which it is cooked.
  • The texture of sugar is hard, crystallized and solid, while jaggery is semi-solid, softer and amorphous in nature.
  • As mentioned, both are made from sugarcane juice but are processed differently. In case of sugar after the initial boiling of sugar cane juice the syrup is treated with charcoal to absorb unwanted particles and to give it a clear and transparent look. Once the solution is condensed and crystallised, it results in sugar. While on the other hand, there is no treatment for jaggery except that the sugarcane syrup is boiled for several hours to produce a thick paste which is then placed in a mould to get a firm shape.much easier!!
  • Since sugar goes to a rigorous industrial process while being prepared it loses all its nutritional value and what we get in the end is plain sucrose. On the other hand, jaggery manages to retain traces of iron, fiber and various mineral salts.


    Difference in nutritional values:
    10 grams Jaggery provides about 38 calories and 10 grams sugar provides about 39 calorie yes almost same but still jaggery is a better option than white refined sugar.let’s find out why!!
    10 grams of jaggery provides :
    Total Carbohydrates 9.81 g ( no fiber)
    Niacin 0.011 mg
    Vitamin B 60.004 mg
    Folate 0.1 mcg
    Pantothenic Acid 0.01 mg
    Choline 0.23 mg
    Betaine 0.01 mg
    Calcium 8 mg

Iron 0.30 mg Magnesium 16 mg Phosphorus 4 mg Potassium 13 mg Sodium 3 mg Manganese 0.01 mg Selenium 0.12 mcg

10 grams of sugar provides :: Carbohydrates 10 g

Yesthat’sit Jaggerywins!!!!

Health benefits of jaggery

  • jaggery is rich in several important vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron,zinc,selenium, calcium and phosphorus and antioxidants.
  • The iron content in this sweetener helps to boost blood hemoglobin level. Hence its use in pregnancy can be beneficial. Also good in anemia.
  • The potassium in jaggery helps to control blood pressure and water retention.
  • The sweetness of jaggery releases feel-good endorphins, which offer relief in premenstrual syndrome, depression and anxiety. It also helps relieve bloating and water retention.
  • Jaggery has selenium in very high amounts. Thus having this complex sugar relaxes your nerves.
  • It contains natural plant phyto-chemicals which activates and speeds up digestion. It becomes alkaline in the digestive system and corrects digestive problems That’s why it’s recommended to have some jaggery after a meal.
  • Also Jaggery is more complex than sugar and hence takes more time for digestion. Due to this, upon digestion of jaggery, the energy released is slower when compared to sugar.
  • Jaggery also has known to show anti asthmatic properties, easing breathing difficulties.
  • It acts as a cleansing agent and cleans the lungs, stomach, intestines, oesophagus and respiratory tracts. It also helps expel phlegm, thus offering relief from cold and cough.
  • The zinc and selenium present in jaggery works on enzyme systems of our body that scavenge free radicals.
  • Used as a treatment for various ailments, it is an excellent immunity booster as the antioxidants in jaggery can build your immunity system and further keep diseases at bay.
  • Jaggery can also provide therapeutic benefits, so it is used as adjuvants of various medicines in ayurveda and folk medicine.
  • Sweets made from jaggery are more beneficial during winter as they provide nutrition and warmth.

Though jaggery does not look as attractive as sugar this sweetener can be used as a healthy substitute for sugar.

On the other hand, sugar has been touted as a source of ‘empty calories’ with no nutritional value. Sugar gets absorbed in the blood easily causes increase in blood sugar levels very quickly which affects some of the internal organs leads to weight gain and other ailments.
So, when it comes to sugar or jaggery; jaggery is definitely a healthier option.

But remember No matter how healthy or nutritious jaggery may be, the more you consume it, the more calories you add to your body so moderation is the key.


Also, a common misconception about jaggery is that it could be safely consumed by diabetics. Interestingly, a study published in the International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries showed that jaggery and sugar when consumed, both raise blood glucose levels by approximately equal values. Therefore, it is safe to say that for a healthy person, jaggery is a healthy substitute for sugar. A person with diabetes may occasionally enjoy a jaggery laced treat only after consultation with doctor

Few tips:
Drinking milk mixed with jaggery helps in blood purification, healthy hair, improves digestion, reduces joint pain and, makes skin smooth and healthy.
It is used for curing dry cough and cold. Grind jaggery and black pepper powder and chew for relief from cough.
Having water with jaggery provides instant energy when tired.Jaggery is recommended for those having joint pains and problems in periods.

So we can definitely switch to jaggery and enjoy it’s health benefit but in moderation

References :
An interesting research has been conducted by Anand P. Sahu and Ashok k. Saxena of Industrial toxicology Research Centre , Lucknow observing the positive effects of consuming jaggery on lungs of Industrial workers exposed to dust and smoke.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1567304/
  2. Also an article supporting the benefits of jaggery on Ayurpharm an International Journal of Ayurveda and Allied Sciences https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.ayurpharm.com/index.php/ archives/category/60-volume-5-issue-5%3Fdownload%3D174:review-article-ayurvedic-review-o n-guda-jaggery-rajesh-ck-shajahan-ma-shahul-hameed-a&ved=0ahUKEwjegc3X8qHWAhWHqI 8KHU6YC6cQFghDMAI&usg=AFQjCNGkq0PRXplbVCRCbSrDU8_7ey9s0A
  3. Other https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.ayurpharm.com/index.php/ archives/category/60-volume-5-issue-5%3Fdownload%3D174:review-article-ayurvedic-review-on-guda-jaggery-rajesh-ck-shajahan-ma-shahul-hameed-a&ved=0ahUKEwjegc3X8qHWAhWHqI 8KHU6YC6cQFghDMAI&usg=AFQjCNGkq0PRXplbVCRCbSrDU8_7ey9s0A
  4. http://easyayurveda.com/2013/02/20/jaggery-health-benefits-and-usage-ayurveda-details/amp/

An article by Shivani

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