Talk about sweeteners and crystal like sugar strikes your mind. While it is common for us to use refined sugar in our everyday life, there is yet another kind of sweetener – jaggery. Jaggery or better known as Gur in Hindi, is something your parents and grandparents will mostly prefer over sugar.
So, what’s your pick between Jaggery vs Sugar? Which one is healthier for you? Which is a better sweetener? Why at all are they so different in looks and flavor?
Here’s all about Jaggery vs Sugar you need to know.
Jaggery vs Sugar: What’s the difference?
Both sugar and jaggery are commonly used sweeteners across India. Even though both of them are produced from sugar cane juice, they are still very different in texture and taste.
- Sugar and jaggery are processed differently from the sugar cane juice, hence they have a distinct color, texture and taste.
- Sugar is in form of white crystals while jaggery is usually golden brown in color.
- Sugarcane juice is heated initially. In case of sugar, the syrup is treated with charcoal to absorb unwanted particles and to give it a clear and transparent look. This solution condenses and crystallizes resulting in white translucent sugar.
- On the other hand, there is no treatment for jaggery. The sugarcane syrup is boiled for several hours to produce a thick paste which is then placed in a mould to get a firm shape. The extent of boiling makes it golden brown to dark brown in color.
- Sugar goes through a long industrial process, thus it loses all its nutritional value. All it is left with is mainly sucrose. On the contrary, jaggery (gur) keeps hold of iron, fiber and mineral salts from the sugar cane.
Jaggery vs Sugar: Which one is healthier?
Putting it in a flash, jaggery is! While sugar contains less nutrients and more sugar (sucrose), jaggery (gur) is much more healthier.
Here are some of the benefits of jaggery to let you know what counts for the difference between the two.
Jaggery acts as a natural sweetener and provides energy over an extended period of time. Even factory made honey is considered unhealthy, but jaggery leads the way!
Jaggery prevents free radicals responsible for early ageing with its anti-oxidants (the likes of zinc, selenium etc). It is extremely good at treating few breathing disorders, cures constipation and boosts your immune system keeping many diseases at bay.
It activates digestive enzymes within our body and thus, helps in proper digestion of food. Now, that’s where the concept of eating “sweet” after food steps in.
So whenever it is sugar vs jaggery, jaggery (gur) is the obvious winner for your better health.
Why are jaggery and sugar so different in texture and flavor?
In case of sugar, the sugar cane juice goes through a vigorous industrial process where it is treated with charcoal for a clear and transparent appearance. This is what makes the sugar crystalline and the taste is mainly from its constituent sucrose.
In jaggery (gur), sugar cane syrup is continuously boiled for hours to give a thick paste. This paste contains most of the nutrients and minerals from the sugarcane, thus it’s usually brown in color. The same reason holds for its distinct taste as well. A longer heating sometimes creates variation in the color from golden brown to dark brown.
Which is a better sweetener?
Both of them do their job great.
While sugar easily dissolves in a number of drinks and food items, it finds a good place in cooking. Jaggery (gur) is better at being eaten directly for its health benefits.
In either case, both sugar and jaggery in your diet add up excessive calories for the day.
No matter how good and nutritious grandparents’ favorite jaggery is, it is beneficial to consume it in small quantities since excess of anything is bad.
Would you prefer jaggery over sugar in your everyday diet?