Diabetes is a condition concerned with excessive high sugar level in the blood. Treatment for diabetes is mainly maintaining diet and avoiding sugar. Being diabetic often triggers sweet cravings. And hence, always there is a constant look for alternates. Many people believe that jaggery is the great alternative sugar for diabetes. But is it really a healthy choice for diabetics? Let’s have a look.
For diabetic, anything that spikes sugar level is bad. Both sugar and jaggery are derived from the same source – sugarcane. And both sugar and jaggery have high glycemic index. Jaggery indeed is more nutritious than sugar. It contains calcium, iron, and other vital minerals. In that aspect, it does not affect the body as much as sugar does.The problem arises with sucrose, which jaggery contains. White sugar and jaggery have almost same glycemic index value. The glycemic index (GI) is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Sugars and jaggery are considered to be high GI foods which means they quickly raise the blood sugar level.
Diabetic patients need to be mindful about the glycemic index of various foods before including them in the diet.
Many diabetic patients are under the misconception that jaggery is a safe replacement for sugar. It is a good replacement for sugar only among non-diabetics. If not suffering from diabetes, we can safely include jaggery in our meals. It is best to use organic, unprocessed variant. Apart from adding taste, jaggery helps to build immunity. Indian food traditions are rich with references of use of jaggery. For instance, during winters jaggery is mixed with ghee and consumed to keep the body warm. Jaggery also helps purify blood and detoxes the liver. Women can benefit by including jaggery in their meal as it helps relieve menstrual pain. Due to its high iron content, it also helps combat symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
When different commonly available sugars are compared with the GI values, honey has little lesser value when compared with brown sugar, jaggery and white sugar respectively. Foods with lower GI values are always to be considered by the diabetic patients. Hence, jaggery is not a healthier option for diabetic patients.