Honey Or Jaggery: Which One Should You Choose?

The detrimental effects of processed sugar have been a topic of discussion for a long time. With an increasing awareness among individuals regarding health and wellness, honey and jaggery have emerged as two prominent alternatives to sugar. Each has its own nutritional benefits, taste, and composition. Therefore, people are often confused as to which one to buy. While both are packed with important nutrients and minerals,  it is essential to remember that each body is different and reacts differently to certain food items. Also, a major factor to consider while purchasing either is the purpose of use. While some just want to replace sugar, others consume honey or jaggery for weight loss and similar reasons. 

Comparing honey vs jaggery

Honey and jaggery are both products derived from natural resources. While honey comes from the nectar of bees, jaggery comes from sugarcane or a toddy palm tree. Both these products undergo some basic processing to make them ready for sale and increase their shelf life. The table shows the basic differences between the two. 





By-product of nectar

Sugarcane, toddy palm, or date palm trees. 


Over 200 essential components

Depends on the source. 


Dark amber colour or yellow. Depends on its botanical source. 

Dark to medium brown in colour. 


Viscous or Watery. Depends on the source. 

Solid with a sand-like texture, powdered or a viscous liquid. 


Over 12 types of honey are available in India. Some common types include Eucalyptus, clover, wild, raw, and manuka honey. 

Six types of jaggery are available in India: date palm jaggery, coconut jaggery, sugarcane jaggery, marayoor jaggery, palmyra jaggery, and toddy palm jaggery. 


Mild sweet to bold sweetness.

Unique sweet taste.


Various medical purposes, in Ayurveda, as a replacement for sugar in various recipes, skincare, haircare, etc. 

Cooking purposes and various medical and ayurvedic purposes. 

Honey vs jaggery: Source

Honey is a by-product of the nectar of a bee and its upper-aero digestive tract. This leads to its slightly floral taste. Jaggery is made from sugarcane plants or by tapping toddy palm trees. A more exclusive variety of jaggery is made from the sap of a date palm tree. 

Honey vs jaggery: Nutritional composition

Both honey and jaggery are rich in various nutrients, making them essential ingredients in medical and ayurvedic medicines. Honey has a complex chemical composition with over 200 substances. Mainly has fructose, glucose, and amino acids. The composition of jaggery, on the other hand, depends on its source. The standard components are sucrose, fructose, glucose, iron, magnesium, and protein. The compositions of both are listed below. 

Composition of honey per 100gms

  • Carbohydrates 82.4 g
  • Fructose 38.5 g
  • Glucose 31 g
  • Sucrose 1 g
  • Other sugars 11.7 g
  • Dietary fiber 0.2 g
  • Fat 0 g
  • Protein 0.3 g
  • Water 17.1 g
  • Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.038 mg
  • Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.121 mg
  • Pantothenic acid (Vit. B5) 0.068 mg
  • Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) 0.024 mg
  • Folate (Vit. B9) 0.002 mg
  • Vitamin C 0.5 mg
  • Calcium 6 mg
  • Iron 0.42 mg
  • Magnesium 2 mg
  • Phosphorus 4 mg
  • Potassium 52 mg
  • Sodium 4 mg
  • Zinc 0.22 mg

Composition of jaggery per 100 gms

  • Calcium 40–100 mg
  • Magnesium 70–90 mg
  • Potassium 1056 mg
  • Phosphorus 20–90 mg
  • Sodium 19–30 mg
  • Iron 10–13 mg
  • Manganese 0.2–0.5 mg
  • Zinc 0.2–0.4 mg
  • Copper 0.1–0.9 mg
  • Chloride 5.3 mg
  • Vitamin A 3.8 mg
  • Vitamin B1 0.01 mg
  • Vitamin B2 0.06 mg
  • Vitamin B5 0.01 mg
  • Vitamin B6 0.01 mg
  • Vitamin C 7.00 mg
  • Vitamin D 26.50 mg
  • Vitamin E 111.30 mg
  • Vitamin PP 7.00 mg
  • Protein 280 mg
  • Phenolics 280–320 mg





Moisture (%)




Reducing sugars (%)




Non-reducing sugars (%)




Protein (%)




Fat (%)




Total minerals (%)




Calorific value (Kcal)




Honey vs jaggery health benefits

Honey and jaggery offer a wide range of benefits when consumed. The key advantages are outlined below.

Benefits of honey

The main benefits of honey are

  • Medicinal: Honey possesses a range of health benefits. It has been found to treat various eye diseases, throat infections, hiccups, bronchial asthma, fatigue, constipation, eczema, ulcers, and tuberculosis. It is actively used in medicines in both allopathic and Ayurveda. In fact, many people drink a glass of warm water with honey every morning for overall well-being. The high content of antioxidants helps in combatting heart diseases, diabetes, and even early signs of ageing. 
  • Weight loss: Honey possesses an astringent element that helps remove cholesterol and visceral fat from the body. Consuming honey alone might not help reduce weight, but if paired with a healthy and balanced diet without processed sugar, honey can speed up the weight loss process. 
  • Skin and haircare: Honey is used in various cosmetics and even in various facial and homemade masks to moisturise and glow skin. It is also used as a hair mask to soften and nourish hair. 

Benefits of jaggery

The main benefits of jaggery are

  • Medicinal: Jaggery plays a key role in blood purification, bile-associated issues, and even rheumatic afflictions. Its rich composition helps relieve stress and has anti-allergy properties. It is also extremely beneficial for heart and lung health, strengthens bones, and detoxifies the body. 
  • Weight loss: A high potassium level is found to promote metabolism, which in turn has a positive effect on weight loss. However, it is essential to remember that jaggery has the same caloric quantity as sugar and should be had in moderate amounts. But unlike sugar, it provides healthy nutrients, which makes it a better choice. 
  • Cooking: Jaggery is extensively used in various sweet dishes, and even in a powdered form, it is used as a sugar supplement.

Honey vs jaggery: Storage

The ideal storage method for honey is in glass jars with tight lights. Exposing honey to air can affect its texture. Also, honey should always be kept at room temperature. Do not store honey in metal or non-food plastic containers, as this can lead to oxidisation. 

The best way to store jaggery is in an airtight container. Solid jaggery should be wrapped in paper before being put in the container. Jaggery can also be stored in the refrigerator and in plastic or metal containers, making it much more convenient. 

Environmental impact

Honey obtained from native bees is hugely beneficial for the environment. It helps maintain balance. However, honey sourced from bees, not from a particular ecosystem, can have adverse effects. It ultimately depends on the source. Commercial plants often exploit honey bee populations, which are declining as a result. In terms of production, the process of making honey is quite simple and does not significantly affect the environment. 

Making jaggery involves burning the raw materials in factories, which can lead to smog. As such, most commercial jaggery units are located near highways. However, the primary source of jaggery, sugarcane and palm trees is great for soil health and the environment. 


In conclusion, it can be said that both honey and jaggery are highly beneficial for health and offer a range of uses. The choice between the two comes down to your personal needs and preferences. It is, however, recommended that you always try to source your honey and jaggery from ethical productions to ensure that you enjoy the peak benefits while being sustainable. 


Q1. Can I mix jaggery with honey?

Yes. There is no harm in having the two together. 

Q2. Does honey help in weight loss?

Including honey in a balanced diet and having it with warm water on an empty stomach has been found to boost weight loss. However, only depending on honey will not work.

Q3. Does jaggery help to lose weight?

Jaggery has the same caloric quantity as processed sugar. However, it is rich in potassium, which promotes metabolism and supports weight. It is best to have it in moderation as part of a balanced diet. 

Q4. Does honey increase sugar levels?

Honey has a much lower glycemic index than sugar, which means that it does increase sugar levels, but the process is not as fast as sugar's.


Zandu Ayurvedic Team

Zandu Ayurvedic Team has a panel of over 10 BAMS (Ayurvedacharya), boasting a collective experience of over 50 years. With a deep-rooted understanding of Ayurveda, they are committed to sharing their expertise & knowledge through our blogs.
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