National Nutrition Week: Nutritional differences between jaggery and sugar to help make a healthy choice
It would not be wrong to say that sugar has earned the worst reputation in the wellness and nutrition space but it is not fair to label all sugar as the same. The molasses content in jaggery makes it more nutrient since this nutritious by-product of the sugar making process is removed while making refined sugar.
However, jaggery is still sugar despite its slightly different nutrition profile. Ahead of the National Nutrition Month this September, here are some health differences between jaggery and sugar to help you decide which sweetener is better for your diet
Refined white sugar contains only “empty calories” or calories without any vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, fiber, or other beneficial compounds whereas jaggery is rich in vitamins and minerals.
Effect on immunity
Jaggery makes for a great immunity booster, builds a shield against health ailments like cough and cold. Coconut jaggery is also a great source of antioxidants and minerals like iron, folate and magnesium while palm jaggery has the lowest glycemic index and is a proven remedy against cough and cold since it is packed with nutrients like iron, folate, potassium and calcium. On the other hand, refined sugar suppresses one’s immune system which if compromised, is more likely to lead to sickness and reduction of body’s ability to ward off disease.
High-fructose corn syrup or HFCS 55 is a type of refined sugar which contains 55% fructose and 42% glucose while jaggery contains more than 70% sucrose, less than 10% isolated glucose and fructose and 5% minerals.
While refined sugars are linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, dementia, liver disease and certain types of cancer, jaggery consumption leads to improved digestive health, anemia prevention, liver detoxification and improved immune function.
Hence, opting for jaggery is a healthier choice as it will get you a few extra nutrients but since it is still sugar at the end of the day, it should only be used very sparingly as per your preferences and dietary goals.