Jaggery, or country sugar, molasses, is unrefined sugar made by boiling the juice of sugar cane and other plants like a date palm until it reaches a semi-solid state.
It’s mainly produced in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
Jaggery is usually very sweet, but it depends on the juice used in the production. That’s why it’s used as a sweetener. It undergoes less processing than regular sugar, so it retains calcium, potassium, iron, and other nutrients.
However, is it a healthier alternative to white sugar?
Jaggery contains many nutrients, unlike refined sugar, thanks to its molasses content. It can help cleanse the intestines, stomach, and respiratory tract.
However, it does contain sugar, lots of it. Just like sugar, it’s a simple carbohydrate that doesn’t need to be metabolized, thus spiking your blood sugar levels.
Also, it contains 65-85% of sucrose – a type of sugar that increases blood glucose within minutes or hours after its consumption.
In fact, Yoga Journal showed that it affects blood sugar levels almost as much as pure glucose. Participants with non-insulin-dependent diabetes drank solutions of different sweeteners, including jaggery, glucose, sucrose, and honey.
After one hour, the results showed that jaggery is the second sweetener that raises their blood sugar levels the most, after glucose. The one-hour GI of glucose was 100, and that of jaggery, 84.4. On the other hand, the glycemic index of sucrose and honey was 70.
The first three sweeteners had the same GI after two hours. Therefore, researchers say none of them can be considered as a better option than others. In fact, jaggery shows the same glycemic implications as honey and regular sugar.
Jaggery is another sweetener that causes blood sugar spikes, almost the same as refined sugar. Therefore, people with diabetes shouldn’t consume it.
On the other hand, it’s a healthier alternative for those without diabetes, thanks to the nutrient content, especially for people with anemia and other mineral deficiencies.