Myths vs. Facts: Is Jaggery Healthier than Sugar?

is jaggery healthier than sugar

Jaggery is known to be one of the most conventional sweeteners that are used in almost every household in India. Regardless of which part of the country you are in, you will find people add this ingredient to a savoury or a sweet dish. Jaggery can be either made from sugarcane which has been used extensively for many years, or from toddy palm, which has begun to appear in the population’s lives. No matter its origin, experts across the country, including the familiar people who consume it daily, have considered jaggery is healthier than sugar. Unlike sugar, jaggery is known to have therapeutic properties, and because of this, it is used in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal. 

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The world of Ayurveda has seen jaggery more often than any other ingredient. Both forms of jaggery (palm jaggery and sugarcane jaggery) are used equally and blend invert sugars, sucrose, and other components like proteins, wood ash, bagasse fibre, and moisture. It’s known by many names by the people living in the same country, such as Gur in Hindi, Gud in Bengali, Bella in Kannada and Tamil, Bellam in Telugu, Gul in Marathi, and Sharkara in Malayalam. 

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Gur or jaggery is essentially unrefined sugar that is produced in the form of semi-solid rocks or powder. It is a significant potassium source, magnesium, manganese, and small amounts of fat, which can be considered close to nil. It is also a rich source of iron, and doctors and experts recommend having a 61% intake in the daily diet schedule. Jaggery can be consumed in place of sugar in beverages such as coffee, tea, and different kinds of juices. Whether or not they are suffering from any comorbidity in their normal life, individuals must consider including a certain amount of Gur every day because of its therapeutic properties. It is easier to use and highly dissolvable into any hot liquid of your choice. 

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Is Jaggery Healthier than Sugar?

Jaggery and sugar are two of the most quintessential sweet components found in India and few other South-East Asian countries. However, jaggery indeed has a more significant weightage when compared to sugar because every tablespoon of jaggery only consists of 54 calories and also has zinc, iron, copper, and phosphorous in a considerable amount. The benefits of eating jaggery are as follows:

  • Palm jaggery is recommended for individuals who have diabetes because it has a lower glycemic index. This helps in reducing blood sugar levels and maintaining them at a balanced number. Moderate amounts of jaggery benefit the body to a great extent. 
  • Inulin is a form of dietary fibre that stimulates the growth of a special kind of bacteria which improves bowel function and digestion. It also decreases the body’s power to generate fat and helps in maintaining a generally healthy lifestyle. Palm jaggery consists of inulin because of which works well for those suffering from gastrointestinal problems. It allows your body to perform better nutrient absorption functions. 
  • Problems like acidity can also be dealt with by a small piece of jaggery. The reflex of acids from the stomach may trigger chest pain and induce fear of heart attack. Nutrients like magnesium will help you to improve digestion and stay away from acidity. 
  • Gur has natural healing properties, and one of them is its flexible capability to act as a coolant in hot weather and in dealing with a variety of respiratory troubles during the winter season. It has various anti-allergy properties, which allows the body to detoxify. 
  • One small rock of jaggery will help you ease the body’s muscles, and when consumed in combination with a little Sonth or dried ginger, your cough troubles will end. This combination also works wonders in clearing your airways by expelling the mucus. 
  • Gur can be a natural medicine for piles. It helps in reducing dryness in the intestinal tract of the body, which improves bowel movement. 
  • Include losing weight in the list of jaggery health benefits. If you are looking to lose weight, you must know that Gur helps trigger the body’s metabolism and burns belly fat. 
  • Among the healing properties of Gur is one of hormonal imbalance. An Irregular menstrual cycle is the effect of hormonal problems, which may, in turn, be a result of obesity and even low metabolism. A small amount of Gur in the diet will help balance the essential hormones in the body and bring the body’s cycle back on track. It also helps in regulating problems of PCOS. 
  • The healing properties of Gur will reflect on the outside as well, like glowing skin. 


Maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle is one of the goals each of us has in our lives. There is no doubt that the world. Every day we try to incorporate things in our daily life that will help us enhance the quality of living. This not only helps us in leading a life filled with joy and good health but also has great positive effects on our body. 

This article is reviewed by Dr. Sunanda Ranade


Dr. Deepa Kadam

Dr. Deepa has over 25 years of experience making her one of the notable medical professionals in the field of Ayurveda with expertise in Ayurvedic pharmacology.


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