Though both sugar and jaggery are obtained from sugarcane juice, it is processing method that makes these both entirely different products, and yes, jaggery is widely considered a healthier option.
The key differences between jaggery and sugar are colour, texture, processing and composition.
Refined sugar is typically white in colour, whereas jaggery is yellow to brown in colour, depending upon the length of processing.
Sugar is hard and crystalline while jaggery is semi-solid and indefinite in shape.
The initial stage of processing sugar and jaggery from sugar cane juice is the same. However, it changes from that point onwards.
After the initial stage of boiling sugar is treated with charcoal to remove all the impurities and the final product is clear and transparent. The syrup is further condensed and crystallizes to form sugar.
Jaggery, on the other hand, doesn’t go for any treatment and crystallization. It is boiled continuously to get that thick consistency and then poured into desired molds or shape required.
Sugar is pure sucrose, jaggery is composed of sucrose, trace minerals, iron, salts and a small amount of fibre.
Health Benefits Of Jaggery
Jaggery is extremely beneficial in treating respiratory disorders, the anti-allergic properties of jaggery eliminate the toxins and any mucus out of the respiratory system. It treats persons with asthma, cough, cold and chest congestion by cleansing the passage.
Jaggery is excellent to promote digestion, it is a tradition to eat a piece of jaggery after food to boost digestion and it also helps in clearing the bowel.
Replacing sugar with jaggery is also beneficial for an anemic person in improving their haemoglobin levels.
Refined sugar is the simplest form of sucrose that is readily absorbed by the blood and releases instant energy. It provides you with empty calories and can cause a sudden spike in blood glucose levels. This doesn’t do good for people with diabetes and possess the risk of damage to vital organs and overconsumption of refined sugar results in weight gain.
So, if you have choose between refined sugar and jaggery, vote for the latter as it is healthier and provides body with necessary amount of iron.