Jaggery Benefits for Weight loss– Is It a Healthy Decision?

jaggery benefits for weight loss

Jaggery benefits for weight loss

“Quit sugar!” “Sugar is the reason why you are gaining weight.” Or, “get on a sugar-free diet to cut belly fat.” Many such words of caution get thrown at you when you begin your weight loss journey. People around you have all sorts of wisdom and experiences to share. But is sugar really the health demon, getting you obese and sick? Keep reading to know more.

Let’s begin with the two primary types of sugars that you come across in daily life. First, are the natural sugars found in fruits, vegetables, dairy products, etc. They keep you healthy and help in the process of digestion. Second, are the refined (or, processed) sugars added to cold drinks, pizzas, cakes, and almost all, that make your sweet tooth happy. Your everyday hot cups of tea or coffee are included too. The whole hoo-ha around sugar and weight gain concerns the latter category.

We find ample studies which indicate that excess consumption of refined sugars can lead to weight gain. And even increase the risk for heart diseases. So, how do you manage its intake? Moreover, there exist different kinds of refined sugars. Which one is better than the other – how would you know? And let’s not forget about the fight between white sugar (or, table sugar) and brown sugar (or, jaggery) happening over the years. One is a bit too heavily criticized, while the other is overly hyped about having all good and no bad.

Why is white sugar bad for health?

White sugar undergoes levels of processing before it reaches your kitchen shelves. Somewhere in this long-drawn-out refining, it loses all its nutrients. Most of the processing units use Sulphur to remove impurities from the sugar crystals. But reports tell us that in many cases, the crystals retain minute quantities of Sulphur in them. Initially, nothing happens. However, over some time, their consumption may cause health hazards.

Empty calories – is what white sugar brings you! It adds only fat to your body. A study, published in JAMA INTERNAL MEDICINE (2014), observed some connection between a high-sugar diet and a great risk of heart diseases. Dr. Hu and his colleagues found out that people who derived 17%-21% of their calories from added sugars were at a 38% higher risk of losing it all to heart disease than the ones who took only 8% of calories from added sugars.

The liver has a metabolic job to convert extra carbohydrates into fats. An excess intake of white sugar can increase its workload. If you don’t keep in check your high-calorie diets, fats may accumulate in the liver, turning it fatty.

Similarly, diabetes, high blood pressure, and weight gain are other possible outcomes. But we need more research to establish clarity on how sugar affects human health.

What is jaggery? How is it made?
Jaggery or Gur is the soft and lumpy brown sugar. It too is processed but in an organic way so that the nutritional benefits of sugarcane and sugar beet remain intact. People also make jaggery from date palms in the eastern parts of India. Especially West Bengal, where it is called Nolen Gur or Patali Gur. The sap of coconut and sago palms are good sources, but they are rarely available.

Now, let’s get into the three basic steps involved in the making of jaggery -

1.  Extraction – The sugarcanes or palms are pressed to extract the juice or sap.
2.  Clarification – The juice or sap is then allowed to stand for a long period so that the sediments settle down. After which, the juice is strained out to produce a clear liquid.
3.  Concentration – The clear juice is now placed in flat-bottomed pans and boiled for hours. During this step, the juice is stirred continuously. Meanwhile, all the impurities surfacing on the top are skimmed off. This continues until a yellow, thick paste remains.

The paste is then taken to huge molds for temporary storage. They are left to cool to allow them to solidify. And attain the form and shape of jaggery known to us. The color of jaggery purchased from different outlets may vary from golden to light and dark brown. It depends on the quality of the sugarcane used and the juice it produces.

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Is jaggery good for your diet?

Do jaggery win and white sugar lose? No! Both are refined sugars, having the same calorie values. They simply differ in their flavors, textures, and the fact that jaggery isn’t stripped of the molasses. Thanks to its organic processing again! Molasses is a dense, sweet brown-colored syrup, obtained as a by-product of the sugar-making processes. It gives jaggery its nutritional superiority over white sugar.

How many calories are in jaggery? Let’s find out. The two tables given below describe the macronutrients and micronutrients present in every 100g of jaggery (that fills almost half a cup).

              Macronutrients - present per 100g                  



Total carbohydrates

  1. Sucrose
  2. Fructose
  3. Glucose

> 70g

< 10g

< 10g









Present per 100g


Present per 100g

Vitamin A




Vitamin B1 



70-90mg (or, 20% of the RDI)

Vitamin B2



1056mg (or, 30% of the RDI)

Vitamin B3 




Vitamin B5 




Vitamin B6 



10-13mg (or, about 61% of the RDI)

Vitamin C



0.2-0.5mg (or, 10-20% of the RDI)

Vitamin D2 

6.50 mg



Vitamin E

111.30 mg






 [Note, macronutrients are nutrients that your body needs in large amounts to maintain its structure and different functions. The micronutrients are critical too, but they are required minutely.

RDI (or, Recommended Dietary Intake) refers to the average intake of a nutrient that is sufficient to meet the requirements of a day, for a particular age group at a particular stage of life.]
Still, 100g of jaggery is too much sugar to gobble in one sitting. People generally consume 10-20g a day.

Jaggery helps in weight loss. Does it?
Jaggery is a complex sugar, made up of long chains of sucrose. The body takes time to digest it, and the energy is released slowly. It is much different from white sugar wherein bulk energy is given out simultaneously. This also tricks your appetite into false satisfaction. But jaggery supplies energy for a long stretch and in no way is harmful to the body. No rapid sugar spikes occur in the blood, which can be the case with white sugar.

Your body works to maintain an equilibrium between calcium, potassium, and sodium, which is vital for normal health. Jaggery with its bag of nutrients can help your body do its work more effectively. It even stops water retention in the body. If you have a great metabolism, you will be able to burn fats faster. Jaggery can boost your metabolic rate and help manage body weight.

Can replacing white sugar with jaggery reduce the extra inches from your waist? It’s a 50-50 thing! How exactly? Well, jaggery has many nutrients to offer. But to derive its nutritional benefits, one has to eat lots of jaggery. And that can get unhealthy! Because remember, it has abundant calories too. You can simply look for those nutrients in other food sources instead. Most importantly, if you have diabetes, don’t use jaggery until you have consulted with your doctor.

How else can jaggery benefit your health?

1.Alleviates joint pain

The micronutrients present in jaggery have anti-toxic and anti-carcinogenic properties. It even shows promise to prevent diseases affecting bones and muscles. Yet, more research is needed to confirm such claims! But we have Ayurvedic experts who recommend eating jaggery with ginger or with milk to strengthen the bones. It may relieve arthritis symptoms too.

2. Counters iron deficiency
Jaggery collects a fine amount of iron salts from the iron vessels in which it is prepared. Good for you! As a study points out, the human body can easily obtain iron from jaggery. It is a lot easier than it can be from other plant sources.

We know, 100g of jaggery contains 11 mg of iron that can quite make up 61% of its RDI. But again, it is unacceptable for the body to consume that much jaggery! In a more practical setting, you would be taking somewhere close to a teaspoon (i.e., 7g of jaggery) which will have 0.77mg of iron making only 4% of RDI. Or, a tablespoon (i.e., 20g of jaggery) which can offer 2.2mg of iron, satisfies only 12% of its RDI. So, you do the math and think about it.

3. Cleanses the body
Ayurveda hails jaggery as a blood purifier for ages. It claims that jaggery removes the toxin from the stomach, intestines, and food pipe. Additionally, it tackles the mucus sitting in the respiratory tracts. This can keep you safe from asthma, cold and cough, and congestion in the chest. We also hear our elders stating that one should take regular doses of jaggery if he or she faces a lot of pollution daily.

There have been numerous talks about jaggery enhancing the way the liver detoxifies the body. But due to lack of evidence, none of them has a settled view.

4. Instant energizer
There has been a long-living tradition in many households across India to welcome guests with a glass of water mixed with jaggery. It gives you energy, helping you to remain active for a long period. In winters, jaggery can be real life-savers. Why not this winter, mix a tiny cube of jaggery with warm water and experience the cozy feel yourself. You can also have it with tea or coffee.

A study states that when you are sick, having jaggery can uplift the mood and get you to eat food. Next time, you feel weak and fatigued - have some jaggery and be jolly!

5. Helps in digestion
“A teeny piece of jaggery after a meal is a must!” The common myth is that jaggery activates digestive enzymes in the body. And helps the bowels to move out easily. But medical experts raise questions here. According to them, jaggery contains no fiber or water content. So, how would it prevent constipation? Only more research can help clear these doubts.

6. Reduces PMS symptoms

PMS (or, Premenstrual Syndrome) can disrupt your daily routine. Cramps, mood swings, irritability, pain in the abdomen, muscles, and more – yes, it is a long and scary list. Jaggery can ease your menstrual pain naturally and effectively. It causes the release of endorphins, (hormones that relax the body, lessening pain and stress).

7. Supports the immune system
Jaggery has many vitamins and minerals in it. They come from the juice of the sugarcane plant that absorbs all such substances from the soil. Sure, they make jaggery a great antioxidant. But does it count? Zinc and Vitamin C are known to fight colds and coughs. But we face a similar problem again. The daily intake of jaggery suitable for you doesn’t have enough of the two micronutrients to allow you to receive their benefits properly.


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Gul, Gud, Gur, Vellum, or Bella – people call jaggery by different names in different parts of India. It is available as solid cubes, liquids, and granulated powders. The powder jaggery is however becoming the most popular form commercially. It dissolves and digests easily. Plus, it perfectly balances the blood sugar levels.

Lukewarm lime water and jaggery on an empty stomach is one simple way to lose weight. To better the flavor, you can add black pepper or cardamom. There are plenty of snack recipes that include jaggery with nuts, pulses, and cereals. Moreover, you can also prepare traditional desserts and candies, mixing jaggery with coconuts, peanuts, and condensed milk.

“Jaggery has no side effects! It is purely healthy.” Well, check again if you think this way. A few reports suggest that sugar-sensitive people can be allergic to jaggery. In some cases, jaggery was found to cause trouble in digestion, especially one that’s fresh-made. And wherein, constipation followed as a direct result. Weight gain can be an issue too if one doesn’t consume jaggery moderately.
Is jaggery good for weight loss? What’s the final word? It can help, provided you consume it wisely. There are carbs in jaggery along with the nutrients. So, make sure you are not overdoing it.

1) https://www.longdom.org/open-access/review-on-recent-advances-in-value-addition-of-jaggery-based-products-2157-7110-1000440.pdf
2) http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/854/1/IJTK%206(1)%20(2007)%2095-102.pdf
3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26376619/
4) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339908838_The_benefit_of_Indian_jaggery_over_sugar_on_human_health
5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6046027/


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