Is Jaggery Good for Diabetics?
The answer, sadly for all those diabetics who consume jaggery as a safe sugar “substitute”, is: JAGGERY IS NOT SAFE FOR DIABETICS.
Jaggery has immense medicinal value and has been used in Ayurvedic Science as a sweetener which purifies blood, aids digestion, improves lung health, strengthens the nervous system, prevents anemia, promotes bone health and also protects the body against environmental toxins.
Though derived from the same source, table sugar and jaggery are different due to their nutrient composition. Sugar is “stripped” of all nutrients during the chemical crystallization process while jaggery retains essential minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper and zinc. So jaggery is definitely the “healthier” choice.
But for diabetics the key is to avoid foods with high glycemic index (absorption rate of sugars by the body). This is where both jaggery and sugar are similar (have almost the same glycemic index) and cause the same detrimental impact of heightening blood sugar levels. Jaggery, containing complex sucrose, is slightly slower in getting absorbed but catches up within a couple of hours.
For a healthy person, jaggery is a healthy substitute for sugar but diabetics may occasionally enjoy a jaggery laced treat, however frequent use is certainly not recommended.