As a child, you may recall your elders suggesting that you keep a few crystals of Mishri and some peppercorns in your mouth when you had a cough.
It was not for the sweet taste but because of the medicinal qualities of the Mishri and black pepper, which provided relief. Trying this remedy with refined sugar would be ridiculous! Mishri can range in colour, from a pale yellow to a dark brown, depending on the natural sap used to extract Mishri.
Mishri is a type of rock candy made from the sap of the Palmyra palm tree, also known as “Palm candy” or “Palmyra Jaggery”. The sap is heated over a low flame to remove impurities and then poured into moulds to cool and solidify. This candy is hard, translucent, and has a sweet flavour that is unique to it.
Used widely in India and other parts of Southeast Asia, people also use Mishri in medicine due to its purported health benefits. It is also a famous natural sweetener.
Mishri has a distinct taste, is pure, and has a long shelf life. Additionally, people believe it is healthier than other forms of sugar because it contains minerals and is naturally sourced.
The most considerable confusion lies with the impact of Mishri on blood sugar levels.
This article explores the connection and finds whether it is safe to use Mishri for diabetes.
Types of Mishri
There are three types of Mishri available in the market:
1. Dhage Wali Mishri: It is simply Mishri crystallised on a thread (also known as Dhage wali Mishri). It is the authentic, traditional form of Mishri. Ayurveda recommends using the Dhage wali Mishri to reap maximum benefits.
2. Small Machine-made Crystals of Mishri
3. Large Crystallised Lumps without Any Thread
The small machine-made crystals of Mishri and the large crystalised lumps are more commercial forms of Mishri.
Since these forms of Mishri are made using sugar syrup, they share a similar nutritional profile as white sugar. Moreover, they have the same glycemic index, making them equally harmful to people with diabetes.
The HealthifyMe Note
It is essential to be aware that genuine Mishri comes with a thread. Therefore, it is advisable to use Mishri with a thread instead of one without. Although Mishri without thread is also available for sale, it is not the same as the genuine one.
The Difference Between Mishri and Sugar
Mishri and sugar are both sweeteners, but they are made differently and have some notable differences.
Sugar is a sweet, white, crystalline substance derived from sugar cane or sugar beet. It is made by extracting the juice from these plants and then heating it to remove the water, leaving behind a concentrated syrup.
This syrup is then crystallised to form granulated sugar. One can use sugar in many culinary applications, including baking, cooking, and sweetening drinks.
Mishri, on the other hand, is a type of Indian sweetener made from crystallised sugar. It is also known as rock candy or Kala Khane in Hindi.
It is made by heating sugar until it reaches a high temperature, at which point it begins to crystallise. The crystals are then cooled and formed into small pieces.
People use Mishri as a sweetener in many Indian desserts. Ayurvedic medicine also uses it as a throat soother and a general tonic.
Some critical differences between sugar and Mishri are as follows.
Processing: Sugar is processed by extracting the juice from the plant and then heating it to remove the water, while Mishri is made by heating sugar until it crystallises and then forming it into small pieces. Overall, Mishri is less processed than white sugar.Appearance: Sugar is generally a fine, white powder, while Mishri is a small, clear or translucent crystal.Culinary use: Sugar is used in many culinary applications, while people mainly use Mishri in Indian sweets, desserts, and Ayurvedic medicinal practices.Nutritional Value: Both have the same calorific value and Nutritional contents. However, Mishri is more pure and unrefined, as compared to sugar.
Some other differences are:
Mishri is a low-acid food that is easy to digest. On the other hand, sugar is acidic and requires more time to absorb. It is mainly due to the difference in their processing.Mishri is cooling in nature, whereas sugar is hot.Mishri, according to Ayurveda, balances the Vata and pitta doshas in the body, but sugar has no such benefit.Sugar has no therapeutic properties, whereas Ayurveda claims that Mishri can be beneficial.Mishri includes trace amounts of certain vitamins and minerals because it is not processed, whereas sugar does not.
Can Diabetics Eat Mishri?
Known as rock sugar, Mishri is a naturally sweet material obtained from the sugarcane plant. It is free of chemicals and the purest form of sugar. If a person with diabetes consumes a dish containing Mishri, they must consider the glycemic index. It will show how Mishri can impact their blood sugar levels.
According to one study, the glycemic index value is a significant factor in determining the impact of food on blood sugar levels.
As per the GI values, people with diabetes can safely consume foods with a low glycemic index (1 to 55). Furthermore, they can moderately consume foods with a medium GI (56 to 69) as a part of a balanced meal. However, they should avoid foods with a high GI (70 and above).
The crystallised forms of Mishri that come without a thread are typically the same as sugar. It is due to their manufacturing process. Since they are made using sugar syrup, they contain the same glycemic index as processed sugar.
Some people believe that the processing makes them less sweet, and hence, it can make them healthier. However, it is a myth. The only form of genuine Mishri that can be is the Mishri with a thread or Dhage wali Mishri. It is slightly healthier than sugar but it is still not a great option for diabetic people as it can cause sugar spikes.
Ayurveda, the ancient medicinal system in India, talks highly about the benefits of Mishri for overall health. However, there needs to be more research to prove its effect on blood sugar levels.
Hence, it is safe for people with diabetes to consult their healthcare professional before using Mishri. Furthermore, one must also limit their Mishri consumption, as it is also a form of sugar.
The HealthifyMe Note
It’s a frequent misperception that rock sugar (called Mishri ) is healthier than table sugar. The fact is Mishri is just another type of sugar. So be mindful of how much you eat. Excessive consumption of Mishri or other refined or unrefined sugar can negatively affect blood sugar levels. In addition, excess consumption can result in obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues.
Despite the many wondrous benefits of Mishri, consuming too much of it can adversely affect your health. It is a form of sugar, so it is essential to be mindful of how much you consume. It is no secret that excessive added sugar intake is linked to a heightened risk of type 2 diabetes, likely due to its detrimental effects on the liver and its potential to cause obesity.
Along with sugar intake, other factors such as your eating habits, body weight, sleeping patterns, physical activity, and genetic makeup can all contribute to the development of diabetes.
To help you make the best food choices for your health, you can talk to a HealthifyMe nutritionist to create an individualised diet plan based on your personal needs.