Is Jaggery Good For Health? Read What Experts Have To Say

For generations, individuals all over the world have been enjoying the unique flavour and purported health benefits of jaggery by substituting it for sugar in their favourite dishes. It has a rich, caramel-like flavour since it is made from sugarcane juice or palm sap. Even though jaggery has some vitamins and antioxidants that white sugar doesn't, it has a comparable nutritional profile to sugar. Jaggery, like sugar, is a caloric sweetener that may affect glucose metabolism. Some people, however, like jaggery because of its more natural processing and the trace minerals it contains. Krish Ashok, author of Masala Lab, addresses the question of whether jaggery's sucrose content makes it a preferable sweetener in one of his Instagram videos. 

In his post, he mentions, “Jaggery is delicious and adds a complex depth of flavour to many Indian dishes, but it’s important to remember that it is still, at the end of the day, sugar. There is simply no sugar-coating that (because it is already, um, sugar). While it may contain a small amount of minerals (like Iron etc), it’s best not to treat it as some kind of health food. It is not. It’s a sweetener that is mostly sucrose, just like cane sugar. One of the most common fallacies in India is the “natural” fallacy - the presumption that if a molecule came from “natural” sources, it is somehow different from the same molecule that was produced post-processing. Unfortunately, that is not how chemistry works. Sucrose is sucrose no matter where it came from.”  

He further writes, “By all means, use jaggery to make delicious dishes and desserts, but if you think replacing all your white sugar consumption with jaggery will make a measurable impact on your health, think again. It’s just sugar. If you eat enough jaggery to get enough minerals, then you are probably eating too much sugar!  

If you are someone who prefers to avoid processed food as much as possible, then by all means, use jaggery instead of white sugar for your morning cup of tea, but if you don’t like the taste of jaggery in your tea, a tiny amount of white sugar will not kill you. Switching from sugar to jaggery by itself will make very little difference unless you also reduce your overall consumption of all sugars.” 

Here is how to lessen the amount of sucrose in your foods 

Fruit purees: Fruit purees, such as applesauce or mashed bananas, can be used as natural sweeteners in baked goods. They add moisture and sweetness while reducing the need for added sugars. 

Spices and extracts: Enhance the flavor of your dishes with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, or almond extract. These can add a touch of sweetness without the need for extra sugar. 

Choose whole foods: Focus on whole, unprocessed foods that are naturally sweet, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods contain natural sugars along with beneficial fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

In the end, moderation is the key, and those with special dietary requirements or health conditions should seek out professional medical advice.