Jaggery or ‘Gur’ as traditionally known in India is obtained by evaporating water from sugarcane juice. In India, Jaggery is also made from date and palm sap. Jaggery is used for making many delicacies in India. In rural places in India, it is a practice to eat pieces of ‘gur’ post lunch and dinner because of its sweetness, distinct flavour, and healthy Jaggery benefits. The reason Jaggery is so popular because it is very rich in vitamins and minerals. Jaggery is dark brown or golden brown in colour. It is a natural sweetener. Here we share the healthier choice from Jaggery vs Sugar.
Some of the Incredible Jaggery Benefits are enumerated below:
- Jaggery is rich in iron and folate. Therefore, it prevents anaemia and is especially recommended for pregnant woman.
- Jaggery contains antioxidants and minerals such as zinc and selenium. It, therefore, helps boost resistance against infections.
- Jaggery has a high content of magnesium. With every 10 gm of jaggery, a person receives 16 mg of magnesium, which is 4 percent of the daily requirement of this mineral.
- Jaggery stimulates secretion of digestive enzymes which aid in faster digestion.
- Jaggery is a rich source of potassium. Potassium helps in the balance of electrolytes in the body, faster metabolism and building up of muscles. Therefore, eating jaggery is beneficial for weight loss.
Other than the benefits mentioned above, Jaggery also has cleansing properties. It cleanses our blood, stomach and respiratory tract. Due to its high nutrient content, it also provides nourishment to our skin.
Let us take a look at the Jaggery Nutrition Values:
|Major Nutrient||Value Per 10 g|
|Vitamin B6||0.004 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.30 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||16 mg|
|Potassium k||13 mg|
Jaggery vs Sugar Production Methods:
Jaggery and sugar are both popular sweeteners and are produced out of a common source, that is, Sugarcane. However, there are differences in their composition. Sugar contains only sucrose. Jaggery, on the other hand, consists of small quantities of mineral salt, iron and some fibre, apart from sucrose.
Both sugar and jaggery are produced by boiling sugar cane. However, the similarities in the processing technique end here. After the initial boiling, sugar is treated with charcoal to absorb unwanted particles that give it a clear, transparent solution. This solution is further condensed and crystallised resulting in sugar. In case of Jaggery, there is no treatment with charcoal. The sugar cane syrup is boiled extensively till it forms a fine paste.
Uses of Jaggery vs Sugar:
- Jaggery is used in several popular Indian cuisines.
- Jaggery is also superior due to its health benefits. Since it has less sucrose than Sugar, it is more suitable for diabetic people.
- Sugar is more popular of the two all over the world. The confectionary industry is dependent on sugar for its existence.
- Sugar is the mainstay for almost all things that taste sweet like soft drinks, jams, jellies, packed fruit juices, ice creams, chocolates and candies to name a few.
- Sugar is more easily digested along with a quick release of energy.
- Jaggery or ‘Guru’ can be used for preparing sweet dishes and confectionaries. But since its sweetness is less than sugar, remember to add extra quantities of ‘Gur’ to achieve the same level of sweetness.
- Also, Jaggery powder is not the perfect substitute for sugar for many recipes because when heated, Gur tastes more earthy and caramel type than plain sweet. Yet it can be used comfortably for many Indian recipes like Rice Pudding, Curries, lentil soups, homemade sweets and chocolates.
- It is recommended to replace Gur with sugar wherever possible because it is more natural and nutrient rich.
Here is a snapshot view of the important benefits of Jaggery over Sugar:
|Less quantity of sucrose||Predominantly made up of Sucrose|
|Contains minerals and Vitamins||No Minerals and Vitamins|
|Helps treat ailments and is a rich source of iron||No similar benefit|
|Slow to digest with a slow release of energy, and therefore the energy is provided for a longer time. Diabetic people can consume it in moderation||Easily digested with a quick release of energy. Therefore it is not recommended for diabetic people|
To sum up, Jaggery is definitely the healthier option than Sugar. It is also more natural and pure, because of simpler processing technique involved. Sugar goes through rigorous processing. In the process, though it attains a pristine white colour, the sugarcane syrup loses its nutrient value.
The other substitute for sugar is ‘Artificial sugar’. These are healthier options than sucrose because they are free of sucrose and therefore don’t add to calories. Artificial sugar is very sweet in taste and therefore must be used in small quantities to generate the same sweet taste as sugar. Artificial sugar is used widely in processed food like Jams, Jellies, soft drinks, ice-creams to name a few.
Artificial sugar has health benefits for diabetic people because they don’t raise the blood sugar levels. They are non-nutritive and therefore don’t add calories. The critics of artificial sugar, however, consider them a health hazard and have linked it to serious diseases like Cancer. The larger opinion is that it is fine to consume them in moderation even by pregnant ladies.
All kinds of tastes are important for our palate. Sweet is a basic taste we cannot miss But be aware of the pros and cons of the each type of sweetener. In most cases, moderation is the key and goes a long way in staying healthy.