Simple answer – No! It is a common myth that jaggery is a safe replacement for sugar in people with diabetes.
- Both jaggery and sugar (table sugar) are derived from a common source i.e., sugarcane, though different processing is involved.
- The major difference is that jaggery is less refined than sugar, and it thus retains small amounts of micronutrients (iron, calcium, magnesium, etc.).
- On the other hand, refined sugar loses all its nutrients during crystallization.
- So, jaggery can be a better alternative to refined sugar for those without diabetes.
Jaggery – micronutrients = Sugar
When it comes to the use of jaggery in those with diabetes, it is as bad as sugar because the bulk of it is sucrose.
Sucrose is a simple carbohydrate that gets digested and absorbed rapidly, resulting in elevated blood glucose levels.
Jaggery and sugar both have –
- Almost the same calorie density (380 kcal vs. 390 kcal per 100g)
- The high glycemic index (which means they cause a rapid and higher blood glucose excursion after consumption)
Thus, jaggery consumption is not advised for individuals with diabetes.