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Is rock sugar healthier than table sugar? (query)

Dr Tejender Kaur Sarna busts the common myth that mishri (rock sugar) is healthier than table sugar.

I am a 35-year-old woman. I always prefer eating healthy and choose the best of the lost. And this is the reason I started using rock sugar instead of table sugar as I thought that the former is a healthy option. However, my friend says that there is no much difference between the two and that table sugar is better than rock sugar. Is it true? Doesn't rock sugar has a low glycemic index? How much is too much? Please explain.

The query is answered by Dr Tejender Kaur Sarna, Childhood Obesity Expert, Nutritionist and Lifestyle Coach, Mumbai.

It is a common misconception that rock sugar (known as mishri in Hindi) is a healthier option than table sugar. And given the health effects of eating too much of sugar, most people have either replaced it with rock sugar or jaggery. But it is not so because as far as processing is concerned, the crystals of both rock sugar and table sugar are formed from saturated sugar solutions. Although there is no major difference between the process, rock sugar is more concentrated than table sugar and has more calories than normal sugar. Also, there are not scientific studies available to know if both the types of sugar have the same exact nutrient profile or not. So taking calorie count and processing into account, it can be said that rock sugar is not a healthier option than table sugar. So stop replacing table sugar with rock sugar but ensure that you limit the intake of table sugar as excess can be bad for health. Here are 15 simple ways to reduce sugar intake.

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Is rock sugar good for diabetics?

Believe it or not, eating table sugar (in any form) and in excess can be harmful to the body. Here are 10 reasons why table sugar is your biggest enemy. As rock sugar is a concentrated form of sugar, you have to be very cautious about the intake. Although it has many therapeutic uses and is widely used in medicines in the past, the portion size is still a crucial question.

Table sugar, chemically known as sucrose contains glucose and fructose and has a glycemic index (GI) of 65. Rock sugar, on the other hand, has the same GI value as table sugar (comparatively on a higher side). However, artificial sweeteners have a GI of Zero, but as known, it has numerous side-effects. Also, blood glucose levels not only depend on how much and what types of carbohydrates you eat but also depend on the intake of fat or protein with the carbohydrates. So if you have a carbohydrate meal, which has higher GI value, then it is wise to cut off sugar intake for the day to keep your glucose levels in control. Here is a sample diet plan diabetics can use for better blood sugar control.

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