When it comes to cooking and baking, a lot of people often wonder about which kind of sweeteners that they should use. There are various kinds of sweeteners available, each having advantages and disadvantages. Some people believe that certain sweeteners can either cause detrimental health issues or have potential health benefits.
Two kinds of sweeteners that often come into debatable topics are jaggery and sugar. These two sweeteners have been used since a very long time ago, and are still used regularly today. Some claim that jaggery is better than sugar. Is it true?
Jaggery is a traditional unrefined cane sugar that is widely consumed especially in Asia and Africa. It is initially made from sugarcane juice, but recently it can also be made from the sap of coconuts and sago palms. Unlike sugar, however, jaggery doesn’t separate the molasses from the processing. As the effect, it contains not only sucrose, but also other natural vitamins and minerals, such as iron, salts, and some fiber. Its color varies depending on the core ingredient and the duration of cooking, from golden brown to dark brown.
Sugar is certainly familiar to you. Sugar is made from sugar canes. Unlike jaggery, sugar separates molasses and other substances in the process. The result is effectively pure sucrose. It is typically white in color. The calorie levels of jaggery and sugar are roughly the same.
Jaggery vs Sugar
|- The color can range from golden brown to dark brown, while the texture is semi-solid, amorphous, and softer than sugar||- The color is typically white, and sugar crystals are solid and hard|
|- Contains sucrose, salts, iron, and some fiber||- Contains solely sucrose molecules|
|- Has longer chains of sucrose, which is digested more slowly||- Features the simplest form of sucrose, which can be absorbed very quickly into the blood|
As you can see, sugar is composed solely of sucrose, while jaggery also retains some natural salts, minerals, and fiber. Hence, jaggery can indeed give you some additional health benefits, especially as a source of iron for people with iron deficiency.