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Jaggery Instead of Sugar, The Right Choice?

Jaggery instead of sugar

What is the right choice : Jaggery instead of sugar? Our cup of tea or coffee or a sweet dish is never complete without sugar or jaggery. Sugar and jaggery are the most commonly used sweeteners across the country. They contain the same amount of calories and both are made from sugarcane. Jaggery sometimes is also made from palm. Jaggery is popularly known as Gur in India. So how are they different, which one to choose between them, which is a better choice. Read this article and make an informed decision.

hidden sugar blog insertHow do they look?

  • Both are treated and processed differently. Sugar is a refined product and jaggery is the unrefined product.
  • Both have different colour. Sugar is white, translucent crystals. Jaggery ranges between dark brown to golden brown in colour.
  • The texture of sugar is hard, crystal and solid whereas jaggery is semi-solid and softer in nature.

Is jaggery more nutritious than sugar?

  • Sugar provides 387 calories per 100 gram. It does not give any other nutrients other than calories (empty calories).
  • The molasses content in the jaggery makes it more nutritious as compared to refined sugar. According to NIN (National Institute of Nutrition), 100 grams of jaggery contains:

Nutritional Comparison per 100 grams

Per 100 gms Refined Sugar Jaggery
calories 387 383
carbohydrates 95 gms
protein 0.4 gms
fat >0.1 gms
iron 2.64 mg
calcium 80 mg
minerals 0.6 gms
phosphorous 40 mg


better ingredients insertAny real health benefits of jaggery ?

Because of the nutrient composition of jaggery, there are some health benefits associated with it. Improved digestion, prevention of  anaemia, boosting of energy levels and immunity,   liver detoxification, reduced menstrual pain are some of them.

However it must be noted, that these health benefits are possible only when you eat large volumes of jaggery. This is because the nutrients of jaggery are in very small quantities.

Can I replace sugar with jaggery?

Equal amount of calories

These days there is the mis-information that replacing sugar with jaggery is a healthy choice. This is because of the nutrient composition of jaggery as compared to sugar. But to get the nutritional benefits of jaggery you need to eat a lot of it, which means a lot of calories.

More jaggery needed

To get the same amount of sweetness in a dessert or a drink one needs to add double the quantity of jaggery as compared to sugar. Example – for a cup of tea one you will need 1 tea spoon of sugar, but you will need to add 2 tsp of jaggery to get the same sweetness. So literally one is adding more calories each time. A high-calorie diet leads to added health risks.

food for diabetes blog insertGlycemic Index

Sugar & jaggery both have a high glycemic index. They have a similar effect on your glucose levels, get absorbed quickly and spike the blood sugar levels. Hence, jaggery as an alternate to sugar is not a good choice for diabetics. Elevated sugar levels for a long period leads to increased risk of heart disease and obesity.

Iron deficiency

Eating jaggery will help compensate your iron deficiency because of its iron content. Again, you need to eat huge amounts of jaggery to make this possible. However one can get good amount of iron from other iron-rich foods without the added calories.

swap sugar cinnamonWhat is the right choice : Jaggery instead of sugar?

The reason for jaggery to gain popularity is that it has more nutrition when you compare it to refined white sugar. Further, it does not involve any chemical agents in the process of making jaggery. If you cannot avoid or live without sweets or desserts, use jaggery as it is a better option as compared to sugar.


But, jaggery is still sugar. Use it sparingly. Replacing it is not beneficial. Reducing sugar is the key.

If you are replacing sugar with jaggery you will definitely get some nutrients, but along with the calories. Jaggery contains nearly the same amount of calories as that of sugar. Excess of anything is bad; consuming in moderation is the key.

detox blog insertTo know how to manage your sweet tooth in a more sustainable and healthy way,  get in touch with the Experts @Bucketlist Dreams.

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Consultant, Nutrition