INDIA: Cutting down on sugar is a distant dream for most, but undeniably that is the first thumb rule to a healthy lifestyle. With an increasing awareness about health and fitness, people are now switching to healthier alternatives like jaggery, honey, or stevia, but have you ever wondered how these sweet alternatives work on your body? Get a deeper insight into two of the most widely used alternatives to refined sugar.
Is refined sugar unhealthy?
The hard truth of refined sugar or processed sugar is that it is packed with empty calories. Due to this, excess consumption of it can lead to weight gain, impact cardiovascular health and increase the risk of several lifestyle disorders such as diabetes. On the other hand, honey is rich in antioxidants, so a moderate use of both honey and iron-rich jaggery can make for a perfect replacement for refined sugar.
The presence of fructose in refined sugar affects liver health by overloading the liver with excess sugar, hence causing diseases like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Not only that but it also massively reduces metabolism and impacts dental health. On the looks of it, consuming refined sugar can instantly make you feel satiated by spiking up the insulin levels, but in the long run, it has multiple cons.
Honey vs Jaggery
Honey and jaggery both, have the same amount of calories and give the body an instant boost of energy, but what makes both better alternatives of refined sugar is their low glycemic index and their rich nutritional level. They are rich in nutrients like folate, iron, phosphorus, and calcium to name a few. Jaggery is an unrefined version of refined sugar. Regular sugar and jaggery have the same source, as both are extracted from sugarcane.
Jaggery is loaded with minerals like magnesium, copper, and iron. Honey is rich in vitamin B, C, antioxidants, and potassium. Both honey, as well as jaggery, have a good amount of micronutrients. In fact, the taste and texture of both have a distinct difference, which further tweaks the taste of the dish or drink.
Moreover, jaggery has large chunks of good fiber which acts as a detoxifier and accelerates metabolism, when consumed raw or with warm water. Honey is also a popular drink for cleansing the body of toxins when consumed with warm water and lemon juice. Honey has immunity-boosting properties like antioxidants, amino acids, and essential nutrients. Whereas, jaggery has almost the same calories as refined sugar which instantly spikes up insulin and hence is not a great option for diabetics.