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Jaggery Vs. Sugar: Know Which is Better for You and Why

Jaggery Vs. Sugar
There have been numerous studies conducted on both, sugar and jaggery, each claiming its superiority. As with most of debatable claims in question, both have their share of pros and cons.
Bhakti Satalkar
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Did You Know?
There is not much difference calorie-wise between sugar and jaggery, but sugar is mostly empty calories whereas jaggery contains various minerals and vitamins.
Every time you decide to make a dessert are you worried, that you are going to consume a lot of calories. Well, there are a lot of sugar alternatives, which you can use. One of them, which is definitely a healthier option is jaggery.

Both jaggery and sugar are made from sugarcane, then what is the difference between them? Is it just the difference in color, or are there any differences in health benefits? Know the answer in the upcoming sections.
What is Jaggery?
What is Jaggery?
Made from concentrated sugarcane juice, jaggery has varied shades of brown
~ It is a traditional unrefined sugar, which is consumed in Asia, Africa, Latin American, and also the Caribbean.
~ It is made from concentrated sugarcane juice, but the molasses are not separated, as is the case with sugar.
~ The color of jaggery can vary from golden brown to dark brown.
Jaggery - Manufacturing and Uses
~ Although traditionally, jaggery is manufactured using either sugarcane or date palms, in recent times, it is also made from sap of coconut and sago palms.
~ To make jaggery, raw sugarcane or palm juice is boiled in iron pans. Then, the liquid is cooled, and blocks are made.
~ Since, it does not go through additional processing, some of the natural vitamins and minerals are retained, although some of them do get depleted, due to the boiling process.
~ In Ayurveda, it has been used to treat various ailments. It is also said to be rich in iron, apart from the various vitamins and minerals.
~ It is eaten in small slices along with a dessert or it can also be combined with various other ingredients to make a variety of dishes.
~ The taste can be compared to brown sugar or any other raw sugar. Normally, it is brown in color, but the color is dependent on the base ingredient used to make it.
Comparison between Jaggery and Sugar
Sugar cubes
Sugar is white, jaggery is brown; sugar is hard solid, jaggery is semi-solid
~ The basic difference between jaggery and sugar is color. Sugar is bright white color, whereas the color of jaggery can range from golden-yellow to golden brown, brown, dark brown like dark chocolate.
~ The color is often dependent on two factors, namely the base ingredient used to make jaggery, and up to what extent it was cooked.
~ Both sugar and jaggery differ a great deal in texture.
~ While sugar crystals are solid and hard, jaggery is semi-solid, softer than sugar and also amorphous.
~ This is because the molasses and other impurities are not removed from it, as is the case with sugar.
Unlike jaggery, manufacturing of sugar involves crystallization
~ To make sugar, the syrup is treated to remove any unwanted particles, so that after condensation and crystallization, the product is white in color.
~ In case of jaggery, there is no treatment given to the juice and it also does not undergo the crystallization process.
~ The sugarcane juice is boiled continuously, until thick paste is formed, after which the paste is poured into molds and blocks of desired size.
~ There is a difference in composition of sugar and jaggery.
~ While sugar is made only of sucrose, jaggery is made up of predominantly sucrose, mineral salts, iron and some fiber. Hence, consumption of jaggery is recommended in case of iron deficiency.
Sugar crystals
Jaggery is healthier than sugar; it contains iron, potassium, and aids digestion
~ The health influences of sugar and jaggery are different.
~ Sugar is the simplest form of sucrose. It is instantly absorbed in the blood, and burst of energy is released immediately. Hence, it is not recommended for people with diabetes.
~ Jaggery on the other hand, is made up of longer chains of sucrose, therefore, it is digested slowly, and energy release is also slow. Hence, energy is provided for a longer period of time and it not harmful for the body.
~ Since jaggery is made in iron vessels, it is a rich source of iron.
~ It acts as a cleansing agent, and cleanses the lungs, stomach, intestines, esophagus, and respiratory tracts.
~ It aids digestion and hence is very effective in curing constipation.
~ It is very effective in increasing the overall immunity of the body.
~ The high potassium content in jaggery assists in weight reduction, as it prevents water retention in the body. It also increases metabolism.
It is better to consume jaggery as compared to sugar for iron content, minerals, and vitamins present in it along with sucrose. Healthy people can substitute sugar with jaggery. However, if you are diabetic, you should not consume it regularly.