We often hear people suggesting Jaggery as a substitute for SUGAR. One of the common concerns we often face is, whether sugar should be restricted completely or just be substituted? Is eating jaggery instead of sugar, the right choice? What is the best alternative to sugar in Diabetes Management?
Aspartame is 4 calories per gram but is 200 times sweeter than sugar. This alternative of sugar is highly used in weight loss.
Let’s look into our research.
When sugarcane juice is extracted, purified, filtered and crystallised, it turns into sugar. Traditionally, jaggery is made up of raw sugarcane juice or date palm. The sugarcane juice is extracted, boiled and the residue that remains after the completed process is the jaggery we obtain. Powdered jaggery is later made out of this. Refer to this link to see the process
Jaggery has different names in various languages. In Marathi, it is ‘Gul’, in Kannada, it is ‘Bella’ and in Tamil, it is ‘Vellam’.
Jaggery has many health benefits like it regulates blood pressure, aids digestion, purifies the body and most importantly it’s a great source of iron preventing anaemia.
Now, let us understand the co-relation between jaggery and diabetes.
We know that diabetes is a chronic disease caused by spiked sugar levels in the blood. The food which we eat has a direct impact on these blood sugar levels. Thus, for diabetic people, an ideal diet would consist of foods that have low Glycaemic Index (GI) as low GI food does not cause a spike in insulin levels and gives you an advantage in controlling your sugar levels.
The word ‘spike’ means a sudden rise in levels. Then same way, a sudden drop in blood sugar levels may cause lethargy and make you feel hungry in the long run.
Looking at jaggery’s glycaemic index is very high, which is 84.1 and hence, there is a spike in the insulin levels after eating jaggery. It shows how glucose is directly linked to the consumption of sugar as well as jaggery. To conclude, diabetics shouldn’t consume jaggery.
Research paper reference link- https://proceedings-szmc.org.pk/index.php/szmc/article/view/142
If you are not keen on lowering your sugar intake and just want to replace the refined sugar with an alternative, then, jaggery is advisable. However, if you are looking to reduce your overall sugar consumption like in the cases of diabetics, natural, low-calorie sweeteners like stevia are a better option.
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