Can Diabetics Eat Gur (Jaggery)?
High content of sucrose in jaggery makes it as harmful as sugar for people suffering from diabetes.
Jaggery can raise blood sugar levels among diabetics
- Jaggery might make diabetes even worse
- Jaggery has 65 to 85% sucrose
- Jaggery has high glycaemic index
It is natural for a person suffering from diabetes to crave for something sweet at all times. Since sugar and sweets are the foods that are strictly prohibited for diabetes, it becomes imperative for diabetics to always want what is denied to them. After all, it is only human to have such cravings! And as a solution to serve their craving, which (they think) will not trigger their blood sugar levels, they switch to alternatives to sugar such as jaggery.
It is a common misconception among diabetics that having jaggery as a replacement for sugar can keep their blood sugar level under control and keep a check on their diabetes as well. However, this claim has been denied by experts who say that jaggery contains around 65 to 85% of sucrose.
Jaggery, natural sweetener but as harmful as sugar
Experts say that it is because of the nutritional properties of jaggery that makes diabetics feel convinced to replace sugar with jaggery as a natural sweetener. But it is quite possible that jaggery can increase blood sugar levels and make diabetes even worse.
Also read: 5 Reasons Why You Must Eat Gur (Jaggery) In Winters
Why diabetics must not have jaggery
The first and the foremost factor to keep in mind is that the source of both sugar and jaggery is sugarcane. While all the nutrients of sugar are lost during the crystallization process, essential nutrients of jaggery like copper, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc and potassium are all retained. So, jaggery is definitely a better alternative to sugar, but it does have a good content of sugar and diabetics must refrain from having it.
Agrees Dr. Sujeet Jha, who emphasizes that diabetics should not have jaggery. "Calories in sugar and jaggery are almost the same. Jaggery is only a little less refined. Even honey has almost the same amount of calories as sugar and jaggery. Why diabetics have been considering jaggery as safe is probably because anything green or so-called 'natural' is considered to be safe in our country."
He goes on to add, "The only difference is that jaggery is absorbed a little slowly as compared to sugar. But I would still say that when someone is eating jaggery, he/she should consider that they are consuming sugar. From the manufacturing point of view as well, there is no fiber in the sugarcane juice from which jaggery is extracted. The making procedure of sugar and jaggery are different, but not their sugar content."
The glycaemic index of jaggery is high. Hence, sugar absorption takes place at a faster pace and raises blood sugar levels. Sucrose in jaggery is complex sugar, which takes longer than usual to break down when consumed. Sugar levels tend to increase within a few hours of consuming jaggery.
Also read: Lose Weight And You Can Reverse Your Diabetes: Expert Opinion
Exercise, in case you feel like indulging in jaggery sometimes
Saftey precautions to be taken while consuming jaggery are the same as when you consumed sugar or sweets. A 15-minute brisk walk is always suggested whenever you have any of these. It helps in burning off the excess calories consumed and enables the body to make use of the glucose in the blood.
Nonetheless, there are some great health benefits of eating jaggery. It is considered to be an effective food item for people who are suffering from asthma, sore throat, lung infections and migraines.
Also read: Know How Healthy Eating Can Control Diabetes On This Diabetes Day
(Dr. Sujeet Jha is the Director of Institute of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Max Healthcare)
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