On a visit to a friend’s place, I was fumbling through the kitchen shelves to find the sugar pot to sweeten my beloved cup of evening tea. But to my surprise, they announced, “We don’t use sugar at our home!” In splits over my flummoxed look, my friend handed me a jar of khand instead of sugar. “Use this, it’s healthier,” she said, piquing my interest in this humble sugar substitute.
As a sugar loyalist who finds even the taste of jaggery a little off, I was skeptical. Nevertheless, I wasn’t going to drink my tea ‘sweet-free’. So, I gave khand a try. And to my surprise, it didn’t taste absurd. It had a honey-like taste! In fact, it seemed like a great way to cut down on my sugar intake, most of which comes through my two cups of tea in a day.
Quitting sugar was not an option I wanted to make even if weight loss was on my mind. But it encouraged me to use khand instead of sugar every day. I won’t exaggerate by saying that it led to immediate weight loss or turned my world around, but yes, it definitely makes me feel lighter, better and a little less guilty.
Using khand instead of sugar, however, also made me wonder if this healthy switch could make me inch closer to my weight loss goals in the near future. So, I asked a health expert.
Dr Anjali Nakra, a Delhi-based general physician, tells Health Shots, that while the sweetness of sugar added to tea and coffee is enjoyed by most people, experts would always against taking sugar, which is all about empty calories.
While sugar is refined, the brown-coloured khand is not, explains Dr Nakra of Path To Health Clinic.
Sugar, which has chemicals and zero nutritive value, is added to most of the processed foods and drinks to enhance the taste. Normal sugar is made from sugarcane juice, which is refined by the addition of various chemicals. The molasses is removed, and the transparent white crystals are extracted during the process. Some chemicals, especially sulfur, is added during the refining process of sugar and these are harmful for us.
Also Read: Is replacing sugar with stevia a good idea?
On the other hand, khand or raw sugar, is unrefined. These are partially refined crystals with a distinct flavour.
“No chemicals are added to khand, and molasses are not removed. Khand is replete with iron, magnesium, phosphorus and many other minerals,” says Dr Nakra, adding that because of its less sweet flavour, one may require to add more quantity of khand.
In khand, which may also be known as muscovado sugar across the world, the amount of some minerals may not be very high. But as Dr Nakra explains, “The advantage of being chemical-free is important. And so, if you must add sugar to your tea or coffee, it is better to use khand or unrefined sugar in small quantity.”
The same goes for when you are looking at weight loss or perhaps diabetes reversal!
Well, health-conscious people are always on the lookout for healthy alternatives to refined sugar, because killing sugar cravings just does not make the cut. It’s one life, after all, isn’t it?
So my friends, you can always use the good ol’ gud or jaggery, stevia, maple syrup, raw honey and molasses, if healthy sweeteners are what you want.
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