Sugar is a compound called sucrose which is a combination of glucose-fructose. These are found in tissues of most plants but are manufactured from sugarcane. The sugar-making process involves many chemical treatments like treated with milk of lime (calcium hydroxide and water), bleached by sulphur-dioxide and these are followed by the crystallization process and finally it gives white sugar crystals.
A tablespoon of sugar has 16 calories. Also, it has no other micronutrient like minerals or vitamins. Sugar has the presence of carbohydrates in it due to which it can easily release into the bloodstream as glucose and it leads to high blood sugar level.
Sugar is an essential part of our life. In the morning when we wake up we add sugar in our coffee/tea. This process of consumption goes on entire day with many food products. Also, indirectly we intake sugar through ice creams, chocolate, cold drinks and many other packed juices and biscuits. There are various types of sugar-white sugar and brown sugar.
White sugars are also called table sugar. It contains 99.9% sucrose i.e. 50% of glucose and 50% of fructose. These are manufactured by refining natural sugars which are found in sugarcane and sugar beet. This is considered as empty calories food which has no or limited value and also there is no health benefit added to it.
Brown sugars are produced by mixing refined white sugar with molasses. It has the presence of sucrose (93.5%-96.5%) and molasses (3.5%-6.5%) in it. Because of the molasses, it appears to be brown in colour. Brown sugar has 12kcal per tablespoon as compared to white sugar. A little amount of potassium, calcium and magnesium can be found but they are not present in great quantities. From a nutrition perspective, white and brown sugars don’t have any health benefits.
Jaggery is a simple process of crushing the sugarcane for extracting the juice from it and then heating it to produce thick crystals which are later solidified in the shape of blocks. Jaggeries are also made from the palm tree which is called palm jaggery.
Jaggery is a better choice than sugar and it is preferred by many. It contains a small amount of Vitamin B and minerals which also includes calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium and potassium to it. 10gm of jaggery has 36kcal added to it which includes minimal protein, 0 fat and 8.5g carbohydrates. Jaggery has many benefits added to it. These are:
- It helps in blood purification
- Nervous system
- Help to relieve from cough and cold
- It also works as a cleanser for lungs, stomach, intestines, oesophagus and respiratory tracts.
Jaggery is also used as an ingredient for many ayurvedic medicines and also has the presence of anti-oxidant properties. But it can lead to some harmful effects if we take high consumption of it. Some of the harmful effects can lead to abnormal weight gain, high blood sugar levels, indigestion and nose bleeding because of heat production in our body. Especially, a diabetic patient must avoid the intake of jaggery that has a high presence of glycemic.
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Honey is rich in sugar and is stored by honey bees from varieties of flowers. This contains 40% of fructose, 30% glucose and 17% of the water in it. 100g of honey has calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron vitamin B and Vitamin C in it. A tablespoon of honey contains 20 calories which include 5g carbs. It doesn’t have any extra protein and fat added to it.
Honey is purified before distribution and is less processed as compared to sugar. Tablespoon of honey gives the same taste as one tablespoon of sugar. Honey has many health benefits:
- Rich in antioxidant
- Lower blood pressure
- Improves cholesterol
- Lowers triglycerides
- Suppress cough and cold
- Work as an energy booster
- Helps in improving sleep
- Treat wounds and burns
- Immunity booster
- Prevent heart disease
- Helps in weight loss
- Helps in glowing skin
- Treat Dandruff
All the food items have some pros and cons added to it. High intake of honey can impact your health as it is high in calories and sugar. So, taking a moderate amount of honey can give you benefit.
Nutritional values of Sugar, Jaggery and Honey
|White Sugar||Brown Sugar||Jaggery||Honey|
|Minerals||NA||Available in small amt||Available||Available|
Sugar is found to have empty calories with has 0 nutrition values and has no health benefits. Because of high glycemic index and absence of vitamin, it raises the blood sugar levels quickly. Jaggery is a better option than sugar as it is not processed like sugar. But jaggery is not a good option for diabetic patients as it has a high glycemic index. Honey is a good choice compared to other two as it is less processed and has a low glycemic index. Avoiding eating food products that have high amount of sugar like icecreams, chocolates, biscuits and fruits juice. Sugar intake should be controlled for avoiding any kind of health issues.
Merits and Demerits
-Reduce hunger and cravings
-Helps in purifying blood
-Works as a cleanser for the body
-Maintain good health
-Control blood pressure
-Relieve joint pains
-Helps in Weight loss
-Boosts memory power
-Helps in curing cough
-Natural remedy for Dandruff
-Used for healing wounds
-Works as a natural sleeping aid
-Helps in Gum disease
-Abnormal weight gain
-Increase the risk of heart disease
-Risk of developing acne
-Increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes
-Increase the risk of cancer
-Accelerate the skin ageing process
-Lead to fatty liver
-Excessive consumption can lead to raising blood sugar levels
-Raises risk of parasitic infections
-Aggravate certain health problems
-Increases risk of bleeding