Coconut Sugar- Is It A Healthy Choice?
Nowadays people are searching for natural alternatives to sugar and high fructose corn syrup as they are aware of their harmful effects. There is one sweetener that has become popular in the recent past and that is coconut sugar.
Coconut sugar is obtained from the coconut palm tree and it is being publicized as being more nutritious and lower on the glycemic index than sugar. People are talking high of this particular sweetener. Let us find out whether this sweetener is worth the praise or not!
What is coconut sugar?
Coconut sugar is also known as coconut palm sugar. It is a natural sugar that is made from the sugary circulating fluid (the sap) of the coconut tree.
Is it better than white sugar?
White sugar and high fructose corn syrup do not contain any essential nutrients and are hence called a supply of empty calories. However, coconut sugar has several nutrients in it. Most notable nutrients are minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc and iron. It has short chain fatty acids, antioxidants and polyphenols that have their own health benefits to offer. It also has fibre that slows down glucose absorption and is the reason behind the low glycemic index of coconut sugar.
In spite of containing nutrients, coconut sugar cannot surpass the nutrient content of other real foods. Coconut sugar is really high in calories just like how regular sugar is. And to get sufficient amount of nutrients it has to offer you have to eat really high amounts of it 😛
Coconut sugar and the Glycemic Index
As you must be knowing, glycemic index is a measure of how fast a food raises the levels of blood sugar. There has been a comparison in the glycemic index of coconut sugar and glucose in a study. Coconut sugar has a GI of 35 which is much lower than that of white sugar that is around 60. But making conclusions based on this study is not right as GI can vary between people and the study we are talking about had just 10 people! So, before jumping to a conclusion there is a need of a solid study in this regard.
Coconut sugar is loaded with fructose
Regular white sugar is thought to be unhealthy not only because it is has high GI or empty calories, the bigger problem is that it is loaded with fructose.
White sugar (sucrose) is 50% fructose and 50% glucose. It is being claimed that coconut sugar is free of the trouble maker- fructose but do you know that coconut sugar is made up of 70 to 80 percent sucrose which is half fructose!
This clearly means that coconut sugar provides the same amount of fructose as white sugar.
The take home message
To be frank, coconut sugar is no miracle food. It is quite similar to white sugar, the difference is that it is manufactured naturally and has minor amounts of nutrients in it. It is healthier than white sugar but not the best sweetener.
Coconut sugar is just slightly ‘less bad’ than regular sugar. So, you should use it sparingly. It can be placed close to honey.
Choose your sweetener wisely!
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