Is Jaggery Safe for People with Diabetes?


Once an individual has been diagnosed with diabetes, consumption of sugar can take a toll on their health. Thankfully, there are many alternatives to sugar these days, which can be used to prepare a diabetes-friendly diet. Apart from artificial sweeteners like saccharin, aspartame and sucralose, natural sugar substitutes are also available. Speaking about natural sweeteners, is jaggery good for diabetes? Read on to find out.

Sugar Substitutes for Diabetes

Several low-calorie sugar substitutes or natural sweeteners help a person with diabetes enjoy the goodness of desserts without increasing their blood sugar levels. Some commonly suggested alternatives are stevia, monk fruit extract, liquorice, cinnamon, dry fruits, and coconut sugar. Jaggery is also a preferred sugar alternative. But does it help bring down blood sugar levels? In other words, is jaggery good for diabetes? Let us explore the details of this ingredient.

Nutritional Profile of Jaggery

Food category Quantity (Per 100 g)
Calories 383 Kcal
Proteins 280 mg
Carbohydrates 98.96 g
Calcium 80 mg
Fats 0 g
Vitamins & minerals 1.5 g

How Is Jaggery Made?

To find out the answer to the question, “is jaggery good for diabetes”, one must know the process involved in making it. Preparation of jaggery involves the following steps:

  • Crushing the sugarcane
  • Filtering out the juice
  • Boiling or evaporating the juice
  • Clarification and concentration of the extract
  • Cooling, solidifying and moulding the jaggery into blocks
  • Packaging

Health Benefits of Jaggery

Before consuming any food item, it is essential to know what it does for our body. For example, one should be aware of what can be consumed and what foods to avoid for diabetes. In this section, let us discuss the advantages jaggery has on overall health. Research has shown that jaggery is superior to white sugar because of the following plus-points:

  • Great for digestion – Jaggery consumption helps to release digestive enzymes and is a boon for people suffering from constipation and other digestive ailments.
  • Detoxifies the body – The presence of antioxidants and minerals helps cleanse the body systems and flush out toxins.
  • Boosts immunity – Micronutrients like iron, selenium, magnesium and zinc present in jaggery help strengthen your immune system.
  • Helps in weight loss – Eating jaggery keeps you feeling full. This enables you to curb your hunger cravings, avoiding unnecessary weight gain.
  • Maintains haemoglobin levels – Regular consumption of jaggery increases iron absorption in the bloodstream, thus preventing anaemia.
  • Keeps blood pressure levels in check – The potassium and sodium content in jaggery helps control hypertension and maintains normal blood pressure levels.
  • Improves metabolism – Being rich in vitamin C, jaggery helps cleanse the body and speeds up the rate of metabolism. This helps you burn more calories.

Is Jaggery Good for Diabetes?

Although jaggery has numerous health benefits, its high glycemic index (GI) may not make it an ideal sugar substitute for a person with diabetes. GI is a value assigned to a food item based on its ability to increase blood sugar levels in the body. A food item with a higher GI value can release glucose into the bloodstream much faster. The high GI value of jaggery may cause a sudden spike in the blood glucose level, which is not advisable for individuals with diabetes.

Jaggery is an extract of sugarcane juice or palm sap with a high content of simple sugars. Therefore, if you are following a diabetic diet, it is better to explore other sweetening options.

However, compared to white sugar, jaggery has lesser sugar and higher moisture content. If at all necessary, it can be consumed once in a while, in moderation. Palm jaggery is relatively safer to consume for a person with diabetes. It is recommended to consult a diabetologist before deciding on what and how much to consume.

Jaggery or Sugar – Which Is the Lesser Evil?

While there is still an ongoing debate on whether to club jaggery under “what foods to avoid with diabetes”, it is wise to consider a few facts. Jaggery has a higher content of molasses as compared to sugar. This means that it is more nutritious. But, just because it is healthy, doesn’t make it wholly diabetes-friendly. The primary consideration for a diabetes-friendly diet is whether the food item can bring down blood sugar levels.

Jaggery is an excellent option to include in your diet to avoid conditions like diabetes in the future. But, for a person already diagnosed with diabetes, jaggery can cause more harm than good.


Natural or artificial sweeteners are good if you consume them in moderation. Whether you have diabetes or not, it is always safe to follow the middle path. Natural sugar substitutes like honey and jaggery may be healthier options than sugar. But, one must also have a fair idea about what foods to avoid with diabetes. Any food that increases your body’s GI is not diabetes-friendly and best excluded from the diet. Therefore, exercising caution when consuming jaggery is better if you have diabetes.

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