Last updated on July 11th, 2023
India is big on gur or jaggery! India makes up 70% of the world’s total production of jaggery. Export of jaggery occurs in the year 2018-19. Export occurs to countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, the USA, Indonesia, etc. Jaggery is prepared from sugarcane juice or date palms. It is used in making desserts and also a range of dishes. Ayurveda is making use of it for thousands of years. Jaggery is known as ‘medicinal sugar’, as per the APEDA. Organic jaggery is even better form than the normal one. Read this to know about the truth “Can Diabetics Eat Jaggery ?.”
It is free from damaging chemical compounds. When the topic of jaggery comes, there are various beliefs. Few individuals state that jaggery is good for people with signs of diabetes. Few say that it is not safe for diabetics to have any type of sugar. Whether or not jaggery is safe for diabetics is a debatable concern.
Jaggery and Diabetes
Jaggery is a traditional sweetener extensively used in Asian and African countries. It is a healthier option than refined sugar. And, dietitians often suggest adding jaggery to desserts rather than sugar. This is due to the unrefined nature of the sweetener. Hence, it retains a huge number of nutrients as compared to refined sugar. Yet, a lot of diabetics are often confused about whether or not to use sugar. And, this is beyond the scope of their diet. Thus, what is the truth?
Is jaggery actually safe for people with diabetes? Or, is it good to avoid diabetes patients altogether, together with sugar? To answer this query, it is better to look at the production of jaggery. Jaggery is prepared from either sugarcane or date palm. Traditionally, to produce jaggery, boil raw sugarcane juice or date palm sap in large and thin vessels. The leftover residue after the process is complete. It is less refined as compared to the crystallized sugar which is consumed. Thus, it contains more nutrients in comparison to refined products. A person is more likely to get sugarcane jaggery. It is more commonly available. Yet, the nutrient profile of the sweetener nevertheless, it still contains high simple sugars.
Nutritional Value of Jaggery
Serving size – 10 grams
|Nutritional Value of Jaggery|
|Nutrients (in 14 grams of Jaggery)||Its amount|
|Saturated Fat||0 grams|
|Monosaturated Fat||0 grams|
|Carbs and Protein||9.8g|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.2 mg|
Can Diabetics Eat Jaggery?
Can a diabetic person eat jaggery? Let’s understand whether jaggery is safe for diabetics. Organic, unprocessed type of jaggery is better than white sugar. Organic jaggery doesn’t induce a similar extent of human response in the body just like white sugar. Jaggery contains sugars but is less risky than white sugar for people with diabetes. Also, jaggery comprises iron, calcium, and phosphates. It is not present in white sugar. Jaggery comes with lower glucose content and greater moisture content than white sugar. In contrast to popularly used white sugar, jaggery is good for diabetics.
Jaggery contains a high glycemic index. High GI means it contains a high number of sugars. And, it may rapidly elevate the glucose levels in your blood. Nearly all of the carbs in jaggery are sugars. Intake of jaggery may result in a sugar spike. This may be intensely risky for diabetics. Yet, if a person is not diabetic and wants to avoid its risk, avoid white sugar. And, substitute it with jaggery. Jaggery delivers numerous other health benefits. Don’t overindulge in jaggery regardless of your health status. Moderation is key.
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Health Benefits of Jaggery
Is Jaggery good for diabetics? Is the statement true or false? It is false. That doesn’t imply that jaggery doesn’t deliver any other health benefits. Most people fail to look at jaggery as anything other than a sweetener. But just a small bit of jaggery provides many health benefits. These include:
- Assists in weight loss.
- Removes the toxins.
- Good source of energy.
- Supports good digestion.
- Packs various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
- Prevents rheumatic afflictions.
- Maintains blood pressure.
- Lowers water retention in the body.
- Relieves the feelings of fatigue.
- Avoids bile disorders.
- Helps in the relaxation of muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.
- Prevents anaemia and raises the haemoglobin levels.
Read More: HbA1c Normal Level For Adults
Some Other Health Benefits Of Jaggery
Jaggery has a number of health benefits. This includes blood pressure control because of the presence of iron. Also, it battles oxidative stress and helps indigestion. This is why elders believe in consuming a piece of gur after meals. Yet, for diabetics, a perfect diet contains foods with a low glycemic index. The GI of jaggery is very high. And, thus diabetics must not consume jaggery. Even usually, diabetes people should eradicate sweet foods and desserts. Erratic blood glucose also kills the sweet tooth in total. This is vital to condition diabetics to keep away from sugary foods.
In spite of being a diabetic, the love for sweets doesn’t finish. Even though a person must avoid all types of sugars, jaggery is a safer form of sugar than the white type. If a person should do something for those sugar cravings. Diabetics can switch to sucrose-free sweeteners to be safe.
If a person is perfectly healthy and has no blood glucose problems, then a person can use jaggery as an option over white sugar. But if a person has diabetes, then he or she must stay away from jaggery altogether. Jaggery is considered to be a healthier option than sugar. Even diabetics are suggested to have it.
The food a person eats converts into sugar. Release of energy occurs from it. And then, distribution occurs throughout the body to carry out various functions by the insulin hormone. Yet, if a person has diabetes, the body either fails to sufficiently produce insulin. Or, is incapable of using the insulin produced.
The result? Blood glucose levels are greater in their case. These may cause several health complications in the long run. These include heart ailments, kidney problems, nerve damage, and obesity. For this reason, diabetics must evade refined carbs and sugar. These are likely to increase their already excessive blood glucose levels like crazy. Glucose is out of the question for diabetics. Other healthier options such as jaggery still are under debate.
Diabetics must not take sugar to deteriorate their condition as per dieticians. Yet, jaggery is a better option than refined sugar. It does not give the glucose spike-like sugar does. In addition, unlike refined sugar, jaggery carries many health benefits. It is a rich source of iron, magnesium, and potassium. Diabetic people tend to eat jaggery in excess. Assuming that jaggery will not increase their blood glucose levels. This is not true as it does increase blood glucose levels. It is also strictly suggested to keep its intake limited or simply evade it. In some cases, diabetes is serious. Apart from restricting their jaggery consumption to say 1-2 teaspoons a day, use natural herbs for flavour instead:
Avoid the use of artificial sweeteners. They can result in gut health problems and insulin resistance in the long run. As for the use of stevia for sweetness, people must rely only on the homegrown stevia leaves. And, not on the packaged stevia sweeteners obtainable in the market.
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Is it safe to replace sugar with jaggery for weight loss?
If a person is choosing jaggery keeping weight loss in mind, he or she must remember that both sugar and jaggery comprise almost similar calories. This implies replacing sugar with jaggery won’t exert any huge difference on the weight loss journey. Both sugar and jaggery comes from sugarcane juice.
What occurs if a person consumes jaggery daily?
It avoids constipation because of its laxative property. It also activates digestive enzymes. As per Ayurveda, consuming jaggery daily after meals improves digestion. This occurs because of its Ushna (hot) property. Consumption of jaggery may also help in weight loss. It prevents retention of water in the body because of the presence of potassium in it.
Is jaggery and brown sugar similar?
Preparation of jaggery occurs using different process and approach. Jaggery is unrefined sugar prepared without spinning it in a centrifuge. While, brown sugar is the refine type of sugar and includes centrifuging as well. The sugar crystals and molasses present are major components in brown sugar. It comes from sugar cane.
Is jaggery as damaging as sugar?
Even if its complex, jaggery comprises sucrose. Its absorption occurs in the body and elevates the blood sugar levels. That means it is very much damaging as any other type of sugar. The only difference is jaggery takes time for absorption in the body. Individuals who don’t have diabetes may replace sugar with jaggery.
Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.