Coconut products seem to be all the rage at the moment. We have coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut flakes, coconut flour and coconut butter that have all taken centre stage in the last few years of health revolutions. You might have even seen articles last month based on American Heart Association research that questioned coconut oil’s health benefits? Well, we are going to dig a little deeper into coconut sugar to see whether it is hot, or not.
So, what is coconut sugar?
Coconut sugar, or coconut palm sugar, is the sugar that comes from the sap of flowers from a coconut tree, not the actual coconut itself. The sap goes through a heat and boiling process until you are left with sugar.
What are the benefits of coconut sugar?
As a contrast to normal table sugar, coconut sugar does contain a range of minerals. These minerals include zinc, potassium, calcium and iron. It also has a slightly lower GI (Glycemic Index) than sugar, meaning it is digested slower. Coconut sugar also sits with some people’s gut better than other sugars, like standard sugar or honey, and it brings a different flavour to your baking. Diabetics may also respond better to this type of sugar as it has inulin, which helps to slow glucose absorption. Thinking of going Paleo? Coconut sugar is Paleo approved!
What’s the catch? Is coconut sugar really that good for you?
The catch is this: coconut sugar is still sugar! For those avoiding fructose or on FODMAP diets, coconut sugar will not help as the fructose levels are still high. Coconut sugar claims to have lower fructose and high sucrose, but sucrose is 50% fructose anyhow! And what about the calories? Still, you have sugary calories. But I said there were minerals, didn’t I? A single teaspoon of coconut sugar will only contain 0-2% of those nutrients listed. You would need to eat a lot of coconut sugar to get your daily nutrient requirement! Consuming this much sugar would far outweigh the benefits. Don’t go adding coconut sugar into drinks and dishes expecting there to be no impact on your waistline.
Should you make the swap to coconut sugar?
This is a personal preference. When compared to normal sugar, coconut sugar comes out on top with its nutritional value. But don’t swap to coconut sugar thinking you can use it more than any other sugar, it still has plenty of calories! If you are diabetic or follow a paleo diet, it might be worth giving this a go in moderation.
Let us know, have you used coconut sugar? Did you notice the difference?
Yummy coconut recipes
Check out how we’ve used coconut products in our recipes section:
Find this yummy fruity breakfast here – great for summer!
Coconut Flour Pancakes
This is one of the most popular recipes on the blog – check it out here.
Rosemary, Thyme & Garlic Paleo Breadsticks
These paleo breadsticks are a great afternoon snack, or pre-dinner nibble or side dish when you’re entertaining.