Don’t let its name fool you – Coconut sugar doesn’t taste like coconuts, but many say it has a delightful, almost caramel-like sweetness and makes a great substitute for sucrose.
You may have heard that too much sugar is bad for your health or will rot your teeth, but in recent years, sugar consumption has been on the rise in Canadians. Sugar seems to sneak its way into many grocery items that you wouldn’t expect. This is of concern given the negative health implications sugar can have including high blood sugar, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Luckily there are many natural alternatives to sucrose and artificial sweeteners which are better for your health and don’t sacrifice taste. One being, Coconut palm sugar, also known as coconut sugar, which is a whole food sweetener and is more nutritive and less sweet than regular table sugar.
What exactly is Coconut Palm Sugar?
Coconut palm sugar is derived from the coconut palm tree. With a glycemic index of 50-54, coconut sugar ranks lower than regular sugar and is at the upper level of what’s considered a low glycemic index food item. The glycemic index (GI) assigns a value to foods and beverages based on their impact on blood glucose levels. Generally, sugars or sweeteners low on the glycemic index, like coconut sugar, will release glucose more slowly and steadily while foods higher on the glycemic index will release glucose quickly. Another bonus about coconut sugar is that is doesn’t go bad when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
How is Coconut Palm Sugar Made?
Coconut palm sugar is made by a simple process. First, the liquid sap is collected from the flower of the coconut palm tree, the sap is heated until most of the water has evaporated, leaving a granulated substance that looks somewhat like raw sugar.
How Does Coconut Sugar Taste?
Although it comes from the coconut tree, coconut sugar does not taste like coconut. People often say the taste of coconut palm sugar is similar to brown sugar but with a more caramel-like taste; therefore, it’s very versatile, which makes it an easy substitute for sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Will Coconut Palm Sugar Raise Blood Sugar Levels?
Coconut sugar retains some nutrients found in the coconut palm, including iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium, along with some short-chain fatty acids, polyphenols, and antioxidants. Coconut palm sugar also contains a type of fibre called inulin, which can help to slow the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream. As previously mentioned, it’s considered a low glycemic index food, offering a slow release of glucose, if you are looking for an alternative that has no-impact on blood sugar levels, consider a natural sugar alcohol such as, erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol or matitol.
Is Coconut Palm Sugar Healthy?
While coconut sugar doesn’t provide nutrients that directly relate to health, it is low on the glycemic index. Therefore, because it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels, organic, unrefined coconut sugar is a better alternative to refined and even brown sugar in those with blood sugar issues. Coconut sugar is also one of the natural sweeteners that doesn’t cause inflammation, unlike sugar and artificial sweeteners. For those that follow a keto diet, coconut sugar isn’t a viable option; however, sugar alcohols like erythritol are keto-friendly.
How to Use Coconut Palm Sugar
Coconut sugar works as a substitute for regular cane sugar in just about any recipe. Because coconut and cane sugars are both similarly sweet, they can be used in place of the other when cooking or baking without requiring very many adjustments. They both have very similar granulated textures, which makes substituting one for the other even easier. When substituting coconut sugar for cane sugar in a recipe (or the other way around), you can generally use the same amount that the recipe calls for. Since it doesn’t have much of a taste, it’s great to use in baking, cooking and sauces and in hot and cold drinks such as tea, coffee, lemonade etc.
Shopping For Coconut Palm Sugar
Canada’s Organic Traditions Coconut Palm Sugar is a superior product that’s fully organic, sustainably grown, minimally processed and unbleached. Organic Traditions doesn’t use any fillers, flavours, preservatives, chemicals or added sugars. These granules offer a tasty caramel-like flavour and can be used just like sugar in tea, coffee, smoothies, baking, oatmeal and much more.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your practitioner prior to taking herbs or nutritional supplements.