Last Updated on April 13, 2023 by Shari Mason
Our body needs sugar—that’s a fact, but overindulging in sugar might cause a health problem.
Good thing there are healthier alternatives like palm sugar and jaggery.
Keep reading to uncover the differences between jaggery vs palm sugar and find out which is healthier.
Comparing Jaggery & Palm Sugar
Jaggery and palm sugar are healthier than regular white and brown sugars, but it differs mainly in their base ingredient and nutritional benefits.
Jaggery is made from sugarcane or, in some countries, toddy palm, while palm sugar uses only sap from palm trees.
Jaggery also has a relatively high glycemic index level compared to palm sugar, making palm sugar more suitable for people with diabetes.
In making jaggery, the sugar cane is crushed to extract its juices, then boiled and filtered to remove any impurities. After filtering, you can cool it and solidify it into bucket-like containers.
On the other hand, palm sugar is made simply by boiling the collected sap from palm trees. The boiled sap from the palm tree can be sold as palm syrup.
After the boiled sap solidifies, you can sell it as blocks. But usually, most palm sugars are sold in granular form.
Palm sugar doesn’t have other ingredients. It is a healthier sugar alternative made from the accumulated sap collected from the palm tree.
Meanwhile, jaggery uses sugarcane as its main ingredient, making it sweeter. Some countries use toddy palms instead of sugarcane or sometimes combine them to produce jaggery.
Also, in other versions of jaggery, people use bleaching agents to purify the concentration more.
Glycemic Index Level
Jaggery has a higher glycemic index score of 84.4 compared to palm sugar’s low glycemic index score of 35. Jaggery’s high glycemic index makes it not suitable for people with diabetes.
A glycemic index helps to identify how quickly each food affects your blood sugar. So, having a high glycemic index level will quickly digest and absorb food causing a rapid rise in blood sugar.
“Sugar is the sociopath of food. It acts sweet but it’s really poison.”– Karen Salmansohn, Author
Palm sugar is granulated but not as shiny as normal white sugar. It is comparable to brown sugar but doesn’t have the crystal-y features other sugars have.
Unlike granulated palm sugar, jaggery is typically formed into a semisolid mass. It is rock-like sugar similar to solidified sugar cane juice.
However, jaggery is usually lighter in color than brown sugar and has yellowish tones. But it is sometimes darker depending on the sugarcane used.
Jaggery, also called “Gur” in Hindi, is a traditional unrefined natural cane sugar found in Southeast Asia and Africa, and most of the jaggery production is done in India.
You can enjoy your chunks of jaggery as a substitute for your regular sugar in drinks like coffee, tea, baking cookies, and other recipes.
Meanwhile, palm sugar is also part of Southeast Asian food, and just like brown sugar, you can put it in your hot and cold drinks and even desserts. Both jaggery and palm sugar are versatile.
Jaggery and palm sugar has its sweet health benefits. In India, jaggery is commonly taken after meals as it’s believed to help digestion.
Jaggery helps in anemia prevention and can boost energy, while palm sugar contains inulin that helps regulate blood sugar.
Palm sugar also has more antioxidants than other sugars that prevent cell damage, and since its sugar, it also boosts energy levels.
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Do Jaggery & Palm Sugar Share Similarities?
Yes, jaggery and palm sugar share similarities in producing its product. In some recipes, jaggery and palm sugar use sap from the palm tree in their ingredients.
Also, these sugars are commonly found in Southeast Asian countries. Jaggery and palm sugar are excellent and healthier substitutes for normal sugars in your drinks, dishes, and desserts.
Which is healthier, palm sugar or jaggery?
Palm sugar tends to be healthier than jaggery. Its natural sugar is made with no chemicals used. Also, palm sugar is slightly lower in calories, and it’s known to have a low glycemic index.
Is palm sugar good for diabetics?
Yes, palm sugar is good for diabetics. Since it has a low glycemic index, it prevents increasing insulin levels. It also has inulin, a dietary fiber, which lowers the blood sugar level in diabetics. 
Jaggery and palm sugar are natural sweeteners you can regularly enjoy in your hot tea, iced coffee, or even cookies. These sugars have more health benefits than normal sugar.
Jaggery is mostly sugarcane, while palm sugar is made of sap from the palm tree. Jaggery is sweeter than palm sugar and is believed to aid digestion and prevent anemia.
But if you have diabetes, use palm sugar instead. It has a lower glycemic index that helps regulate blood sugar, making it more suitable for people with diabetes.
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