What's the Deal with Coconut Sugar?

A lot has been said about coconut sugar, but what do we at Healthy Supplies say? Here's what we think!

Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut blossom

To make coconut sugar, the flower buds are cut, the sap collected and then evaporated to leave the brown coconut sugar crystals.

Coconut sugar is also known as coconut palm sugar, but this is not to be confused with regular palm sugar.

Coconut Sugar has a low glycemic index

The glycemic index of any given food is a measure of how quickly the sugars within the food are released into the bloodstream. Foods with a high glycemic index release their sugars quickly, which can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. This causes a large release of insulin, promoting the absorption of glucose, which in turn leads to a large drop in blood sugar levels, leading to a feeling of hunger. Regular consumption of high-GI (glycemic index) foods can lead to problems such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Food with a low glycemic index releases its sugars slowly, leading to a more gradual release of insulin and fewer feelings of hunger later.

Glycemic index is measured empirically by feeding food to test subjects and measuring the change in their blood sugar levels. Whereas standard table sugar has a glycemic index of around 60, coconut sugar has a GI of around 35, indicating a much more gradual absorption rate.

Coconut sugar is tastier than normal sugar

Quite simply, coconut sugar is extremely tasty! It has a delicious flavour: richer than table sugar, but less malty than brown or demerara sugar. It doesn't taste particularly of coconuts: it's more caramel-like and biscuity.

For this reason, you can often get away with using a little less coconut sugar in your recipes than with standard white sugar.

Coconut sugar contains other nutrients

Coconut sugar contains a number of minerals not present in white sugar. These include iron, zinc, calcium and potassium. It is not a huge amount, but this is still an advantage over white table sugar.

Coconut sugar also contains inulin. Inulin is a pre-biotic that may help to slow down the release of sugar, and which may account for the low glycemic index of coconut sugar.

Coconut sugar is approximately 78% sugar

Coconut sugar consists of around 71% sucrose, 3% fructose, 3% glucose and 1% other sugars. Sucrose is, of course, table sugar. The exact composition can vary depending on the particular tree that the sugar is harvested from. Some of the other 12% is the aforementioned inulin, and the remaining part is the remnants of the coconut sap, which is what gives coconut sugar its lovely flavour and colour.

Coconut sugar is still sugar

No sugar is miraculous. Whether coconut sugar or table sugar, all sugar is best eaten in moderation. Coconut sugar and table sugar have the same number of calories, although as mentioned before, these calories are released more slowly with coconut sugar.

If you need a zero-calorie alternative, try stevia, a natural plant extract that's become very popular recently.

You can use coconut sugar in any recipe that calls for sugar

We haven't found a recipe yet that hasn't benefited, taste-wise, from using coconut sugar instead of regular sugar. Try it now - you won't be disappointed!


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