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Is Jaggery a Sugar Replacement for Diabetics?

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Introduction

Jaggery is a traditional sweetener frequently used by Asians. It is considered a healthy option compared to refined sugar. Sugarcane jaggery is commonly available. Sometimes, dietitians recommend adding jaggery to desserts as a replacement for sugar. Jaggery contains more nutrients compared to sugar as it is less refined than crystallised sugar. Still, the nutrient profile of jaggery contains high simple sugar.

Some people think jaggery is suitable for people with diabetes, whereas some say it is not safe to have any kind of sugar for diabetics. So, is jaggery good for diabetics? Let us find out the truth!

Is Jaggery Safe For Diabetics?

The organic and unprocessed jaggery is healthier than white refined sugar. It does not induce high blood sugar levels, unlike white sugar. It is less risky for diabetics as compared to white sugar. Also, jaggery contains iron, calcium, and phosphates. Whereas in white sugar, all these nutrients are lacking. Jaggery has higher moisture content and less glucose content compared to white sugar. Jaggery may be considered a good food for diabetics instead of sugar.

Nutritional profile of Jaggery

A quarter-cup of jaggery contains:

  • Calories: 100
  • Protein: Lesser than 1 g
  • Fat: Less than 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26 g
  • Fibre: Lesser than 1 g
  • Sugar: 24 g

Jaggery also contains:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus

Health Benefits of Jaggery

Is Jaggery good for diabetics? The honest answer is no. People think jaggery is just as anything as a sweetener. However, that doesn’t mean that jaggery does not contribute any health benefits. You will be amazed to know that even a small quantity of jaggery provides many health benefits. These include the following:

  • Jaggery contains iron that helps to regulate blood pressure.
  • It also battles oxidative stress and aids in digestion.
  • It helps in building immunity.
  • Jaggery promotes as a blood purifier and helps in the detoxification of the liver.
  • Jaggery help eases menstrual pain in women. Due to high iron content, it helps to resist the symptoms of PMS.
  • Jaggery also aids in weight loss and provides a good source of energy.
  • It helps in maintaining blood pressure and reduces water retention in the body.
  • Jaggery can ease out the feeling of fatigue.
  • Helps in treating bile disorders.
  • It assists in the relaxation of nerves and muscles, and blood vessels.
  • It is loaded with nutrients, like vitamins and minerals.

However, despite the benefits, jaggery is not ideal for diabetes.

Jaggery has a high glycemic index

A high glycemic index (GI) means it contains a higher number of sugars. When you take it, there will be an elevation in your blood sugar. All the carbohydrates in the jaggery are sugars. Consumption of jaggery may spike your sugar levels if you have diabetes. Hence, it can be highly risky for people with diabetes. But, if you are non-diabetic and want to avoid the risk of white sugar, replace it with jaggery as it provides several health benefits.

What are the Good Foods For Diabetics?

The key to better health for diabetes patients is eating a variety of healthy foods from all food groups with low GI content. Here are some good foods for diabetics:

  • Vegetables like carrots, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, peppers, and tomatoes
  • Starchy food like potatoes, corn, and green peas
  • Fruits like oranges, bananas, berries, melons, apples, and grapes.
  • Whole grains
  • Protein
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Lean meat
  • Chickpeas
  • Beans
  • Low fat
  • Yoghurt
  • Cheese

Conclusion

Jaggery is a better replacement for white sugar, but not for people with diabetes. If you are completely healthy and have no high blood glucose issues, you can use it as an alternative to white sugar. But if you have diabetes, you must avoid jaggery.

Natural sugars are always better compared to artificial sweeteners. They are healthier but cannot be taken as per the heart’s desire and should be in moderation. Whether you have diabetes or not, you should not cross your consumption levels since this will cause obesity and other complications. An appropriate amount that keeps you healthy is the way forward.

The best attitude to live a healthy life with diabetes is to manage blood sugar with a healthy diet. It is essential to incorporate low GI food into your diet if you are diabetic. It is better to consult a doctor to determine which food to include and avoid.

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