Does Jaggery Causes Diabetes? Understanding the Truth About Jaggery

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Does Jaggery Causes Diabetes? Understanding the Truth About Jaggery

Jaggery, our desi sweetener, has been a part of our dishes for ages. But for people who are dealing with diabetes, there’s this big question: Is it okay to have jaggery? This blog is all about that! We’ll talk about how jaggery affects blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Some say it’s bad, while others say it’s not so bad after all. Let’s clear the air! We’ll dig into the real deal behind jaggery and diabetes. Is it a good idea to have it if you’re managing diabetes? Stick around to find out!

Understanding jaggery: A Traditional Unrefined Sweetener 

A brown, sticky substance made from sugarcane juice. Commonly used as a sweetener in South Asian cuisine.

Jaggery is our natural sweet stuff, made from sugarcane or palm juice. It’s not like regular sugar that goes through lots of processing. Instead, it’s boiled down until it becomes thick and solid. You might know it as ‘gur’ in Hindi. It has this caramel-like taste with earthy flavors. What’s cool is that it comes in different shades and textures. 

Jaggery’s loved for more than just its sweetness—it’s packed with iron and potassium, unlike processed sugar. Some also think it’s got good stuff like antioxidants and helps with digestion. Jaggery isn’t just sweet; it’s a natural, unrefined delight that adds tradition and rich flavor to our food.

The Link Between Jaggery and Diabetes 

Ever wondered about the link between jaggery and diabetes? It’s a big concern for many of us. Diabetes, as we know, is all about managing sugar levels in our blood. Now, jaggery is this sweet, natural thing we all love. But for folks dealing with diabetes, the big question is whether having jaggery is a good idea or not. 

Misleading image. Jaggery consumption alone does not cause diabetes. A balanced diet and exercise are important for diabetes prevention.

Investigating the misconception: Does jaggery cause diabetes? 

Many people wonder if eating jaggery leads to diabetes. Here’s the deal: jaggery doesn’t directly cause diabetes. The development of diabetes involves various factors like genetics, lifestyle, and diet. 

Now, jaggery, being a natural sweetener, does impact blood sugar levels. When we eat jaggery or any sugar, our blood sugar levels can go up. But having jaggery in moderation, like everything else, is unlikely to directly cause diabetes. 

Analyzing the Glycemic Index of Jaggery

This part focuses on exploring the glycemic index (GI) of jaggery. The glycemic index measures how quickly foods containing carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels.
We’ll explore jaggery’s GI to see how it impacts blood sugar, comparing it to sugar or honey. This will help understand its effect on blood sugar levels. The glycemic index (GI) of jaggery is moderate to high, typically ranging between 65 to 85. Therefore, it can elevate blood sugar levels more rapidly than some other sweeteners. This helps understand if jaggery rapidly raises blood sugar or has a gentler impact, useful for managing blood sugar levels.

Learn the Benefits of Jaggery for Diabetes Management

Jaggery helps manage diabetes. Natural sweetener with low glycemic index.

Balancing Blood Sugar Levels with Jaggery Consumption:

Exploring how jaggery consumption affects blood sugar levels is crucial. While jaggery contains natural sugars, some believe it might impact blood sugar differently than refined sugars. Determining if jaggery leads to stable blood sugar or sudden spikes could reveal its potential as a sweetener for managing diabetes.

Nutritional Value of Jaggery for Diabetics:

Jaggery isn’t just sweet; it also contains trace amounts of minerals like iron, potassium, and antioxidants. Exploring these nutritional components and their potential benefits for individuals with diabetes could shed light on whether jaggery offers additional health advantages beyond sweetness. 

Potential Anti-Diabetic Properties of Jaggery:

Some studies suggest that certain properties in jaggery might have anti-diabetic effects. Investigating these properties and their impact on blood sugar control could reveal whether jaggery holds promise as more than just a sweetener but as a potential aid in managing diabetes. 

A Scientific Study on the Impact of Jaggery on Diabetes

University Institute of Diet and Nutritional Sciences, Lahor

The study conducted at the University Institute of Diet and Nutritional Sciences, Lahore, involved 10 healthy individuals aged 18 to 45 for four months. They excluded individuals with medical conditions like diabetes or obesity. 

Subjects underwent physical examinations and fasting blood samples were taken after a 12-hour fast. They consumed a solution containing 50g of carbohydrates within 5 minutes, with blood samples taken at regular intervals for 150 minutes using new equipment each time. 

Results showed a mix of ages and genders among participants. Most had normal or overweight BMI. A few were smokers, with varying sleep patterns and dietary preferences. Interestingly, a majority preferred table sugar over jaggery. This study provided insights into the habits and characteristics of participants regarding sleep patterns, dietary choices, and sweetener preferences. 

The study recorded blood glucose responses at various intervals. At 0 minutes, the blood glucose response was 91.3 for dextrose, 84.5 for honey, 87.4 for jaggery, and 83.3 for sugarcane juice. 

Study Observations

As time progressed: 

  • At 30 minutes, dextrose showed the highest mean value of 138.5 compared to honey (115.5), jaggery (129.6), and sugarcane juice (102.1). 
  • After 60 minutes, dextrose maintained the highest mean value of 116.7, surpassing honey (96.1), jaggery (103.1), and sugarcane juice (97.4). 
  • At 90 minutes, dextrose again registered the highest mean value of 96.2, while honey (79.7), jaggery (90.4), and sugarcane juice (91.9) remained lower. 
  • Similarly, at 120 minutes, dextrose recorded the highest mean value of 88.3 compared to honey (72.7), jaggery (86), and sugarcane juice (76.6). 
  • Finally, at 150 minutes, dextrose maintained the highest mean value of 80.9, with honey (75.4), jaggery (80.7), and sugarcane juice (74.6) having lower mean values. 

The study involved 10 participants, evenly split between males and females aged 18 to 44 years. Among them, 6 were slightly overweight based on BMI, while 3 were smokers with varying sleep durations ranging from 8 to 12 hours. 

Frequency distribution of subjects by attributes: bar graph showing the distribution of subjects based on their characteristics.

In a study conducted by Uma P et al.,

The glycemic indices of jaggery, honey, and sucrose were evaluated to determine if honey could serve as a viable alternative sweetener to sucrose. The findings indicated that the glycemic index values for jaggery, sucrose, and honey were quite similar, suggesting that all three are similarly hyperglycemic. As a result, honey and jaggery cannot be recommended as substitutes for sucrose. 

The results of the present study revealed that dextrose exhibited the highest glycemic index, starting at 91.3 at 0 minutes, followed by honey at 84.5, jaggery at 87.4, and sugarcane juice at 83.3. Over subsequent time intervals: 

  • At 30 minutes, dextrose recorded the highest mean value of 138.5 compared to other products (115.5 for honey, 129.6 for jaggery, and 102.1 for sugarcane juice). 
  • After 60 minutes, dextrose maintained the peak mean value of 116.7, surpassing honey (96.1), jaggery (103.1), and sugarcane juice (97.4). 
  • Similarly, at 90, 120, and 150 minutes, dextrose consistently had higher mean values (96.2, 88.3, and 80.9, respectively) compared to honey, jaggery, and sugarcane juice. 

Graph showing mean glycemic response after consuming honey agar.

Based on these findings, it is suggested that honey, sugarcane juice, and jaggery can be consumed by healthy individuals without significant concerns about their glycemic impact. 

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Related to Jaggery & Diabetes

  1. Does Jaggery Causes Diabetes? 

    Jaggery has a pretty high sugar content and thus it can lead to a spike in the blood sugar levels for diabetics. Jaggery also has a high glycemic index of 84.4, which makes it unfit for diabetics to consume. 

  2. Is jaggery as harmful as sugar? 

    Jaggery contains some vitamins and minerals, making it comparatively healthier than white sugar. However, it is still a type of sugar, and consuming too much of it can have a negative impact on a person’s health. 

  3. Who should not eat jaggery? 

    Consuming too much jaggery can lead to weight gain, so it should be eaten in moderation. Jaggery can also cause diarrhea and abdominal pain if consumed in large amounts. It is also not recommended for people with diabetes or those who are trying to lose weight. 

  4. Which is better for diabetes jaggery or honey? 

    So, for what it’s worth, gets absorbed a bit slower and hence causes a lower blood-sugar spike when consumed in the same amount. So if you are diabetic, and you must have one of the two, honey would win. 

  5. How much jaggery is safe per day? 

    around 10 grams 

  6. How much jaggery is equal to sugar? 

    You can substitute jaggery for granulated white sugar in many recipes-you will need to use about one-and-a-half times the amount of jaggery to achieve the equivalent level of sweetness. 

  7. Can I eat jaggery everyday? 

    Is it good to eat Jaggery every day? Yes, Jaggery is recommended to be eaten after meals daily as it prevents constipation and helps in digestion by activating the digestive enzymes in our body. 

  8. Does jaggery increase blood? 

    Jaggery is a rich source of iron, which improves the level of haemoglobin in the blood. An increase in haemoglobin levels increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, which in turn helps improve breathing and provide symptomatic relief in asthma. 

  9. Should we drink water after eating jaggery? 

    Drinking warm water after eating jaggery and drinking cold milk is generally considered safe and can even have some health benefits. Drinking warm water can help to soothe the digestive system and relieve any digestive discomfort, and jaggery is a natural sweetener that can be easily digested. 

  10. Why should we not mix jaggery with milk? 

    Often, people add jaggery to milk instead of sugar. This is a healthy option, but in Ayurveda, jaggery with milk is said to be harmful for the stomach. There is a possibility of stomach upset due to this. 


Based on the above-mentioned studies and many other, it is found that honey, jaggery, and sugarcane juice had good effects on blood sugar levels, making them better choices for health. Dextrose, on the other hand, had a higher impact on blood sugar, suggesting that natural options like honey, jaggery, and sugarcane juice are healthier alternatives. Understanding the truth about jaggery’s impact on diabetes reveals that while it doesn’t directly cause diabetes, moderation is key in managing its consumption for those with existing diabetic conditions.