Diabetes is a serious long term health condition affecting people of all ages and sex worldwide.
It is a major concern of causing complications such as blindness, neuropathy, kidney disease, cardiovascular diseases, and lower extremity amputation. 
People with diabetes must take special care to avoid blood sugar spikes for avoiding more severe complications.
Also, some people with diabetes could not stop themselves from sugar cravings. This is due to their addiction to sugar. So, they look for sugar alternatives and believe jaggery can be a good option for diabetics.
However, not all alternatives for sugar are a good option for people with diabetes.
For this, in this article, we will explore whether jaggery consumption is good for diabetics or not.
What is Jaggery?
Jaggery or non-centrifugal sugar cane is a traditional sweetener obtained by evaporating the water in sugar cane juice while keeping molasses intact.
The end product obtained is a semi-solid non-refined sugar retaining all minerals and vitamins of sugar cane juice. 
Generally, the 3 steps process are involved to produce jaggery 
- Step 1: Supply of enough temperature where sugar cane juice starts boiling.
- Step 2: Removal of water from the sugarcane juice at its saturation/boiling temperature so that only concentrated solid residue known as “molasses” left.
- Step 3: Further increase of temperature to reach a striking point where the sugarcane juice converts to a semisolid paste. This paste then collected from the pan surface and allowed to cool at room temperature to prepare the jaggery.
The processes involved contribute to the nutrition profile of jaggery and may contain [4, 5, 6]
- Sucrose – 65 – 85 %
- Reducing Sugar – 10 – 20 %
- Total Sugar – 90 %
- Glucose and Fructose – less than 10 %
- Water – 3 – 10 %
- Bioactive Component – Phenolic and Flavonoids
- Long-Chain Aldehyde – Policosanol
After the preparation of jaggery, it is made available in the solid blocks or the semi-liquid form in the market.
Is Jaggery Better than Sugar?
Despite obtaining from the same source (i.e. sugar cane), jaggery is nutritious than sugar and 100 g of good quality of jaggery provides 
- Protein – 280 mg
- Calcium – 40 – 100 mg
- Magnesium – 70 – 90 mg
- Potassium – 1056 mg
- Sodium – 19 – 30 mg
- Iron – 10 – 13 mg
- Zinc – 0.2 – 0.4 mg
- Copper – 0.1 – 0.9 mg
- Vitamin A – 3.8 mg
- Vitamin B1 – 0.01 mg
- Vitamin C – 7 mg
- Vitamin E – 111.30 mg
Jaggery is also made up of long chains of sucrose, traces of mineral salts, iron and some fiber that digest slowly and in turn releases energy slowly than sugar. 
Jaggery also contains long-chain aldehyde “policosanol” which is found effective in improving platelet aggregation, serum lipid, and endothelial cell damage. [8, 9]
But it should be noted that for getting enough nutrients, you have to consume a lot of jaggeries. It is possible to get that amount of nutrients by adding a far lesser amount of other foods.
Whereas sugar is purely disaccharides which digest quickly and provides spontaneous energy. As well as sugar is a source of ‘empty calories’ with no nutritional value.
Is jaggery good for diabetes?
Jaggery is rich in various nutrients that can be beneficial for health, but still, jaggery is sweet.
It contains a high amount of sucrose which can worsen the condition of patients with diabetes. Sucrose consumption in moderation, 45 g at mealtimes or up to 7% of total energy intake daily, have shown favorable outcomes on the patient with diabetes. [10, 11]
Besides, sucrose has a high glycemic index (GI) with a value 65 on the glycemic index scale. 
Foods having glycemic index values less than 55 or less are slowly digested and absorbed, thus cause a slower rise in blood glucose. 
Due to the higher glycemic index value of sucrose, it can spike the blood sugar level which can be dangerous for diabetic patients.
Besides, as per a report, added sugar, especially in the form of fructose, is more harmful in case of diabetes.
Fructose can lead to inflammation and insulin resistance and cause a more serious problem in a person suffering from diabetes.
By considering the above explanation, it can be concluded that patients with diabetes should not consume jaggery.
What to Do?
There are no single magical tips that work for diabetics. However, with a healthy eating plan and maintaining a healthy weight, you can manage your blood sugar. A healthy meal should be high in nutrients and low in fat and calories.
Here are a few simple guidelines that can help to prevent or control diabetes.
Eat Non-starchy Vegetables
Vegetable consumption plays a crucial role in managing diabetes. They are rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that are believed to be protective against diabetes.
Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and half cup cooked non-starchy vegetable will provide 
- Calories: 25
- Total Fat: 0 g
- Total Carbohydrates: 5 g
- Protein: 2 g
Besides, it is recommended to eat at least 3 – 5 servings per day of ½ cup cooked vegetables or 1 cup of raw vegetables to manage diabetes. 
Some of the non-starchy vegetables are broccoli, beets, carrots, cauliflower, beans, mushrooms, peppers, onion, and tomatoes.
Choose Whole Grains over Refined Grains
Refined grains are simple carbs that have most of the nutrients and fiber removed.
They digest easily and have a high glycemic index that can rapidly raise blood glucose levels. Eating refines grains such as white rice is associated with an increased risk of diabetes.
On the contrary, eating whole grains reduces the risk of diabetes. For this, consuming at least 2 servings of whole grains per day will be beneficial. 
Examples of whole grains are brown rice, whole wheat, whole oats, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, corn, and barley.
Manage Energy Balance and Weight
Weight gain and obesity are some of the major factors in developing the risk of insulin resistance.  These factors lead to a positive energy balance and a rise in blood sugar level which in turn develops the risk of diabetes.
A calorie restriction diet with physical activity or aiming for modest weight loss of about 5 – 7 percentage of total body weight can help to improve insulin resistance and glycemic outcomes. [18, 19]
This in turn will ultimately control the blood sugar which is the key factor in managing diabetes.
A lifestyle change is essential to prevent or treat the risk of diabetes and its complications.
Also Read: 11 Excellent Home Remedies to Lose Weight on Tummy and Hips
Cut Down on Added Sugar
The link between sugar intake and diabetes strongly holds even after controlling of food types, total calorie intake, body weight, and exercise. 
To minimize the negative effect of sugar, it is advisable not to increase 20% of daily calories from added sugars. 
As well as cutting down added sugar will help to reduce blood sugar levels and to control weight.
In this regard, replacing sugary drinks, energy drinks, and fruit juices with water, plain milk, and tea or coffee without sugar will be helpful.
Choose Healthier Fats
Fat is one of the important nutrients to get energy. But different types of fats have a different effect on the body.
Eating enough healthier fats such as polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats and lowering saturated and trans fats will provide better control over harmful cholesterol, insulin sensitivity and secretion, and blood sugar level. [22, 23, 24].
As a general rule, it is crucial to get 20% to 35% of total calories from fat with saturated fat no more than 7% of calories. 
Examples of healthy fats are vegetable oils, nuts, fatty fish, avocado, cheese, whole egg, olive oil, and olive.
Also Read: Balanced Diet Chart: Foods to Include for Healthy Living
Diabetes is a serious condition that is a concern of causing many health problems.
People with diabetes have to first eliminate sugar from their diet that they often feel of sugar craving. To compensate sugar craving, they look for an alternative source and believe jaggery is one of the good alternatives.
Although, jaggery is healthier than sugar and can provide many health benefits. But due to sucrose and fructose content, and having a high glycemic index, jaggery cannot be considered as good food for patients with diabetes.
Additionally, eating well and adding daily activity to your routine can provide a favorable outcome to manage diabetes.