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Jaggery or Refined (white crystallized) Sugar?

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In the world of diets and healthy eating, we must ask our nutritionists whether to take Jaggery or white sugar as a sweetener. In this article, I will differentiate both sweeteners and try to determine which is better. 

Jaggery and refined sugar are sweeteners but differ in processing, composition, and nutritional value. They are commonly used in cooking and baking. However, there are several differences between them in terms of their production, nutritional value, and health benefits.

How are they made?
Jaggery is made from the sugarcane juice or sap of palm trees that is boiled down until it becomes thick and syrupy. It is then poured into molds to cool and solidify. In contrast, refined sugar is made by extracting juice from sugarcane or sugar beets and processing it to remove impurities, producing a white crystalline substance.

What is the Nutritional Value?
Jaggery is a more natural sweetener that retains some of the vitamins and minerals in sugarcane juice, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It is also rich in antioxidants and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar; as a result, it causes a slower rise in blood sugar levels. On the other hand, refined sugar has been stripped of most of its nutrients and contains empty calories with no nutritional value.

The Health Benefits:
Jaggery is often considered a healthier alternative to refined sugar due to its lower glycemic index* and nutritional value. In addition, Jaggery is believed to be a valuable source of iron, magnesium, and potassium, aid in digestion, boost immunity, and help regulate blood sugar levels. It also contains antioxidants. Refined sugar, on the other hand, is associated with several health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay.

Environmental impact:

Jaggery is more sustainable and eco-friendly than refined sugar since it is made from natural sources and does not require extensive processing or transportation.

In conclusion, Jaggery has several advantages over refined sugar. First, Jaggery is a healthier and more nutritious alternative to refined sugar. However, any sweetener should be taken in moderation as part of a balanced diet. However, consuming large amounts can have adverse health effects, especially regarding added sugars in processed foods and beverages. Therefore, it is crucial to have a healthy diet to focus on whole foods and limit added sugars as much as possible.

In our country, taking a small piece of Jaggery after a meal or having jaggery powder and ghee with roti has always been part of the tradition. As humans, we are also beginning to go to the roots. I think it's high time we also return to our food values. 

* The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical rating system that measures how quickly carbohydrates in food raise blood sugar levels. The scale ranges from zero to 100, with higher values indicating that carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar levels more quickly.


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