What is Jaggery and Why Jaggery is a Substitute for Sugar?


Jaggery is a condensed form of sugarcane juice, and it is a natural sweetener emerging as a “healthy” substitute to refined white sugar.

It is gaining popularity as a “Superfood Sweetener” because its nutritional profile has more minerals and vitamins and a lower sucrose content than refined white sugar.

This article contains information on how jaggery is made using modern techniques, is it better than sugar, is it good for weight loss, its different forms  and its applications.

What is Jaggery?

Jaggery and or similar products that are unrefined sugar exist across Asia, Africa, Latin America.

Mostly jaggery is made using sugarcane, and it is also made with date palm & coconut.

80% sugarcane in India goes to make sugar, 12% in making jaggery and the remaining 8% for seed cane.

According to APEDA (Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority). India produces more than 70% of the world’s jaggery,

People refer to jaggery as “medicinal sugar.” In Ayurveda medicines, jaggery has been used as a sweetener for thousands of years.

Jaggery comes in different forms and colours. Jaggery colours depend upon multiple factors like

  • Soil type, Sugarcane variety, Water, Maturity of sugar cane
  • Sugar content in sugar cane
  • The temperature during the making process is the main factor. Jaggery colour can vary from light amber to dark brown. 

       Myth Buster: Dark brown coloured jaggery is very healthy.

      There is no direct relation between colour and the healthiness of jaggery.

      How is Jaggery Made?

      Jaggery is made using traditional methods as well as modern scientific controlled techniques. Traditional methods have several disadvantages (1)

      Sunfarm Jaggery is made using the patented resource-efficient processing technique. Wherein sugarcane juice temperature is constantly monitored and controlled during boiling and evaporation stage using automated methods, and it is also monitored and managed during the cooling of concentrated syrup. No chemicals, additives are used.

      Following are four main steps in the jaggery making process

      1. Crushing of Sugarcane and Juice Extraction
      2. Temperature controlled heating and evaporation of Water from Juice
      3. Controlled cooling of concentrated syrup
      4. Solid Blocks/ Powdering/ Nuggets making

          Jaggery Powder Making Process steps:



          Myth Buster: Jaggery (Gur) made using the traditional method is more healthy. 

          Modern resource-efficient jaggery processing techniques control temperatures during the boiling and cooling process—this help to preserve more nutrients in jaggery compared to the non controlled traditional method.

          Why Jaggery is a Substitute for Sugar?

          Jaggery is more nutritious than sugar because of its richness in minerals and vitamins.

          Molasses, a by-product in the sugar-making process, are removed using centrifugal action, and there is no centrifugal action in the jaggery-making process. Nutrient-rich molasses get added to the end product, making it more healthy than refined sugar.

          Nutritional Profile of Jaggery

          Following is nutritional profile of Jaggery. These values are tested and certified by the Indian Government FSAAI approved laboratory

          Sr. No.

          Test Parameter

          Unit of Measurement











          Total Sugar




          Reducing Sugar




          Sucrose on dry basis



          6 Dietary Fibre g/100g <0.5





















          12 Magnesium mg/kg 809
          13 Phosphorous  mg/kg 23.09
          14 Acid Insoluble Ash g/100g <0.01
          15 Fat g/100g 0.12
          16 Extraneous Matter g/100g <0.1


          Since molasses is removed from sugar, all nutrients like Calcium, Sodium, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorous and other B vitamins are not found in the sugar profile.

          Jaggery becomes healthy due to these nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
          However, jaggery is unrefined sugar and comes with high calories. It is advised not to consume a lot.

          Compared to sugar which comes with almost nothing but calories, jaggery is way better to replace. Considering nutrients, minerals and vitamins it has it is a healthy alternative to refined white sugar.

          Consumption of jaggery in moderation is advisable.

          Is Jaggery good for weight loss?

          Jaggery is nutritious and rich in minerals. However, it also contains a high amount of sugar. Though it offers many health benefits, one should keep in mind that those nutritional values are per 100g, and one should not consume 100g sugar for intake of those nutrients. Alternatively, jaggery should be used as a replacement for sugar in diet plans.



          It is not directly benefiting in weight loss. However, its rich nutrients can help improve digestion and metabolism, which can help in the overall weight loss process provided consumption is at a moderate level.

          Different forms of Jaggery

          During cooling of concentrated syrup, jaggery can mould in different shapes and sizes.

          Following are the Jaggery forms

          1. Solid jaggery,
          2. Jaggery Blocks
          3. Jaggery Powder/ Granular Jaggery
            Jaggery Types


            Solid Jaggery

            Solid jaggery is the most produced form of jaggery, and the concentrated syrup is transferred into different mould sizes like 500 gms, 1 Kg, 5 Kg and 20 kg. This form of jaggery is sold through wholesalers and then through retailers.

            Jaggery Blocks/ Cubes

            Jaggery Blocks are possible in different sizes and shapes. In recent years jaggery producers have been using small blocks of square, rectangle, cone shape to produce these cubes. These are small in size and generally of 50 gms or less in weight. Jaggery nuggets fall in this form of jaggery.

            Jaggery Powder/ Granular Jaggery

            Jaggery Powder called “Powdered Jaggery”/“Granular Jaggery” is becoming popular these days. There has been a sudden spike in the consumption of Jaggery Powder, especially since 2020. It is popular due to its form and easy-to-use nature. Jaggery Powder easily dissolves and get instantly mixed with other ingredients compared to other states. It is straightforward to replace sugar in tea, coffee, sweet dishes, bakery products, cookies, biscuits, chikki, groundnut/ dry fruit laddoo.


            • Jaggery is a condensed form of Sugarcane Juice.
            • Jaggery in Hindi knows as Gud, in Marathi - Gul, in Tamil - Vellam, in Kannada - Bella, in Telgu - Bellam.
            • Jaggery is more nutritious than white sugar due to healthy molasses, which usually get removed in sugar making process.
            • Jaggery is called “Non-Centrifugal Sugar” due to no centrifugal action involved in the making process.
            • Jaggery is mainly available in Solid, Blocks, Liquid, and Jaggery Powder/ Powdered Jaggery forms.
            • Jaggery is made from Sugarcane, Palm & Coconut. Sugarcane production is a significant contributor.
            • In India, jaggery is used in tea, coffee, sweets, chikki, laddoo, chocolates, biscuits, cakes, etc.
            • Jaggery is a “healthy” alternative to refined white sugar.
            • Moderate consumption of jaggery is advisable. 



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