Which is Healthier: Jaggery or Sugar?
Whenever we talk about sweeteners, refined sugar is the first thing that comes to mind. Except, there is another variant of sweeteners which is known as Jaggery and is popularly called Gur in India. Sugar and jaggery, both, are obtained from the same sources but have a stark difference in their properties and benefits. Both of them are produced by using sugarcane juice but are treated and processed differently. Their flavors and textures are also different, but, both of them can be substituted for each other in a variety of desserts and drinks.
There are a lot of similarities between the two sweeteners yet there are remarkable differences that often open the debate on sugar versus jaggery and which one is recommended. Now let us explore the differences between sugar and jaggery to understand which one is healthier and better for you.
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What is the difference between Sugar and Jaggery?
Both sugar and jaggery are made from the juice of sugarcane but are processed differently. On one hand, sugar, after the initial boiling of the juice, the syrup is treated with charcoal to absorb unwanted particles and to give it a clear and transparent look. Once the solution becomes condensed and crystalized, sugar is formed. On the other hand, jaggery does not undergo any kind of processing except that the sugarcane syrup is extensively boiled for long hours to produce a thick paste. This paste is then placed on a mold to get the desired shape.
Since both sugar and jaggery are processed in different ways, they possess distinct colors and textures. Sugar is mostly found in the form of white and translucent crystals while the color of jaggery ranges from golden brown to dark brown, depending on how long it is cooked for.
Sugar is hard, crystallized and solid, while jaggery is semi-solid, softer than sugar and amorphous in nature.
Sugar goes through a vigorous industrial process while being prepared and therefore all its nutritional value is lost and it is mostly just sucrose in the end. On the other hand, in jaggery, all essential traces of iron, fiber, and various mineral salts are retained.
Is Jaggery better than Sugar?
According to nutritionists, jaggery helps treat a number of breathing problems. It has anti-allergic properties which help detox and relax the respiratory muscles. It works wonders while curing constipation issues and clears the body of toxins and any excess mucus. Jaggery also aids in boosting the digestion process in the body. Consumption of a small piece of jaggery after meals is considered to be healthy. Due to its excellent immune-boosting and antioxidant properties, jaggery is also often used in the treatment of various other problems thereby further keeping diseases at bay.
On the other hand, sugar is considered a source of ‘empty calories’ with zero nutritional content. It is responsible for the occurrence of sudden blood sugar spikes which not only has a negative impact on your body but also leads to weight gain and other ailments. After all that is mentioned above, when it comes to sugar vs jaggery, jaggery is the healthier option. But always remember to eat everything while managing the portion size. Therefore, the addition of both sugar and jaggery to your diet is equivalent to adding calories to the body. So it is advisable to consume jaggery in small quantities just like sugar to maintain an overall healthy life.