Everyone who’s anyone seems to be quitting sugar right now – except me. Bucking the trend I seem to have developed a raging addiction to after-lunch chocolate which is going to have to be nipped in the bud very, very soon. I don’t need to do any big diet makeover to make that happen though – I just need to stop having it in the house. After a couple of days of whining and post-lunch grumpiness, I’ll have broken the habit and that’ll be that.
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For those with more established sweet tooths (teeth?) though, looking for sugar alternatives is big business right now and one of the latest offerings to appear is Palmyra Jaggery.
What IS Palmyra Jaggery?
Made from the sap of the Palmyra palm tree then made into a powder, Palmyra Jaggery has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine for things like fighting fluid retention and digestive health.
It looks like very finely ground brown sugar and on its own, tastes a bit like caramel.
As a sugar substitute though its claims to fame include the fact that it’s 2-3 times sweeter than sugar so you only need to use a third to half the amount to get the same result.
It contains vitamins including B12 – a serving contains more than the RDA you need in a day making it another source of this elusive vitamin for vegans and vegetarians. It also provides high doses of vitamin B6 and B1 and minerals including iron – although let’s not use it as our main source of those people.
And with a GI measurement of 40, Palmyra Jaggery is classed as a low GI food. GI measures how fast something turns to glucose in the body and, the lower the number the slower this happens and the better it is for your body). Normal sugar has a GI of 63-65, honey can be about the same, which definitely makes this a healthier option.
Palmrya Jaggery vs Agave.
Aha, you might be saying but agave is even lower on the GI Index scoring just 17 surely agave is better than Palmyra jaggery?
While it’s true that it’s low GI number means that agave is even suggested as a sugar substitute for those with diabetes, agave is also extremely high in fructose – and that’s the sugar most experts are worried about in terms of things like liver health and metabolic syndrome.
Palmrya jaggery has only three per cent fructose and therefore is thought to be healthier than agave even with it’s slightly higher GI.
Another trendy sweetener not to confuse it with is coconut palm sugar which is made from the sap of the coconut palm. They may sound kind of similar, but coconut palm sugar has a higher GI and a few other differences.
How to Use Palmyra Jaggery?
Now, despite my current chocolate addiction, I was a bit stuck while testing PJ (as I’m now calling it because I keep spelling it wrong) – I don’t normally eat sugar per se.
I don’t add it to drinks, I don’t add it to porridge, I don’t bake (replacing sugar in recipes is one of the best uses for Palmyra jaggery) so I couldn’t swap it in there, I, therefore, spent a lot of time staring at the packet thinking ‘now what’.
Now what came in the form of a particularly hungry evening watching Nashville on the television – I was nibbling my way through the contents of the fridge quite nicely.
Now for some reason when this happens only one thing stops it – a cup of hot milk. And hot milk is the only thing in which I take sugar.
So out came the PJ – and I can report that yes, it acts like sugar, it tastes like sugar and, to all intents of purposes is sugar. But under the health technicality clause, it isn’t sugar!
It also isn’t jaggery. Jaggery, also known as Gur is a solid sugar made from boiling sugar cane (it can come from date or coconut sugar but cane is most common). Jaggery claims to have health benefits of its’ own, but it’s not the same as Palmyra Jaggery.
If you want to give it a try, it’s produced by Conscious Food under the name Suga Vida. Click here to order it online and have it delivered to your house. maybe not quite before your normal sugar craving fades, but pretty fast.
If you are thinking about cutting back or quitting sugar, Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar book is one of the best plans out there.
Click here to check out the I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook
If you’re a fan of Davina – she’s also written a sugar quitting guide – and let’s face it, if it makes you look like her it’s a winner!
Click here to check out Davina’s 5 Weeks to Sugar-Free: Yummy, easy recipes to help you kick sugar and feel amazing
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.