Coconut Sugar is fast becoming popular as a healthier alternative to regular table sugar. With all the current food trends waxing eloquent on the benefits of the products online and in health aisles in supermarkets around the world, let’s understand what’s making Coconut Sugar gain popularity in the health food world, and how it impacts human health.
Coconut Sugar is not produced from coconuts. It comes from the coconut palm, from the sap collected from the coconut palm’s flower buds. It is also known as Coco Sap Sugar or more popularly, Coconut Sugar. The blossoms are cut and the nectar is collected in bamboo containers. The nectar is about 80% water and is then heated to evaporate the liquid. The remaining solid is then granulated. The granules are golden brown in color and larger than regular table sugar granules. Essentially, Coconut Sugar is the boiled and dehydrated sap of the coconut palm.
TASTE, COMPOSITION & CALORIES:
The taste of Coconut Sugar is very similar to regular table sugar. Chemically speaking, 70% of Coconut Sugar’s components are identical to table sugar. It is a disaccharide called sucrose, made up of 2 monosaccharides: glucose and fructose. The rest of it is composed of the individual molecules of fructose and glucose, as well as trace minerals.When it comes to calories, Coconut Sugar is identical to table sugar – 4 calories per gram.
LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX:
But despite being so similar, the glycemic index of Coconut Sugar (36) is substantially lower than that of table sugar (60). Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how a particular kind of food affects blood glucose in the human body after being consumed. Foods high on the glycemic index cause your blood sugar to spike, which can lead to a sugar rush and a subsequent crash. Fast spikes in blood sugar can also cause your insulin levels to soar in a short period of time, and this can have serious consequences for Diabetics. The higher the GI, the more of a spike you will experience in your blood glucose. These spikes are not good and are unhealthy. The lower GI of Coconut Sugar has made it popular with people suffering from Diabetes. The American Diabetes Association says it is OK for people with Diabetes to consume Coconut Sugar, but not to treat it any differently than regular sugar.
Fructose is a type of sugar your body converts to fat quickly. Only your liver can break down fructose, and one of the results of this breakdown is triglyceride — a form of fat. You shouldn’t consume large amounts of fructose outside of that which you get in fresh fruit, notes Harvard Health Publications. Agave nectar is 90 percent fructose, and high-fructose corn syrup is 55 percent fructose. Coconut Sugar contains rust 45 percent fructose, making it a better option than these other sweeteners.
EARTH FRIENDLY & SUSTAINABLE:
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization named coconut palm sugar the most sustainable sweetener in the world in 2014. The trees use minimal amounts of water and fuel, especially compared to sugar cane production, and produce for about 20 years. It has no artificial ingredients and is not chemically altered in any way.
Coconut Sugar isn’t a nutritional superfood, but it does offer more vitamins and minerals than white table sugar. It contains trace amounts of vitamin C, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and copper. Coconut Sugar also provides small amounts of phytonutrients, such as polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidin and antioxidants. The B vitamin inositol, often used as a mood booster, is also present in Coconut Sugar.