Nutrition

Organic Coconut Sugar | A Healthy Sugar Alternative?

Written by Sarah Curran


Organic Coconut Sugar


Cane sugar has received a bad rap in the press the last few years, and when eaten excessively, this is certainly for good reason as too much of the white stuff has been linked to health conditions such as obesity and type two diabetes. What are the benefits of coconut sugar over table sugar and is it truly any better for you?


coconut water health benefits


What Is Coconut Sugar?

 

Coconut sugar is an extremely sustainable form of sugar in comparison to cane sugar as it comes from palm trees. Palm trees are beneficial to the environment as they require very little water to survive and help restore the soil in which they are grown. When compared to cane sugar, coconut trees actually use only one-fifth of the soil nutrients and water required for cane sugar to grow. They also produce more sugar per acre than cane sugar.


How Is Coconut Sugar Made?

 

Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut plant which is then heated to a high temperature until the water evaporates leaving coconut sugar behind.


sugar-substitutes


What Is The Difference Between Coconut Sugar & Normal Sugar?

 

Coconut sugar has a few extra benefits that table sugar hasn’t. That said, you are still adding calories to your food, and coconut sugar is still a type of sugar, of which too much will be detrimental to your health just as with any type of sugar. In moderation, it certainly is better for you than normal table sugar, but as mentioned above, you can have too much of a good thing if you overdo it.

 

Coconut sugar is composed of approximately 71% of sucrose, which is basically table sugar, 3% pure glucose and 3% pure fructose. The remaining 22% consists of various nutrients such as zinc, iron, calcium, potassium, antioxidants and inulin. These are beneficial to the body, although it certainly would not be recommended you attempt to gain these benefits through the consumption of coconut sugar alone as you would need to eat an awful lot of this delicious sugar to do so.

 

The additional components that are not present in table sugar are an explanation as to how coconut sugar has been shown to have a lower glycemic index to table sugar when researched in the journal of functional foods. One of the most notable components is the inulin that you find present in coconut sugar. Inulin is a type of dietary fibre that acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics has been found in studies to help promote healthy gut health.


sugar


How Can I Use Coconut Sugar?

 

The beauty of coconut sugar is you can use it for everything, from baking to sweetening your porridge or tea. Coconut sugar has a slightly different flavour to standard table sugar, with a hint of butterscotch and caramel notes to it. When baking with coconut sugar, you can simply swap out the normal table sugar you use for your coconut alternative. It tastes especially good when you use it in homemade granola due to its caramel undertones.


cooking with coconut oil


Take Home Message

 

Coconut sugar is still a type of sugar, and you shouldn’t go to town adding it excessively to everything just because it is perceived as healthier than table sugar. Quite simply put, you will still be consuming a similar amount of calories, therefore too much of a good thing will land you in hot water in much the same way as too much table sugar in your diet will.

 

There are certainly some added benefits to coconut sugar over table sugar, but the amount you consume should be in moderation regardless. Coconut sugar is more sustainable than table sugar and a great option for those who are concerned with the environment.


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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye has a MSc in Sport Physiology and Nutrition, and puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding. She enjoys a pun, and in her spare time loves dog walking and eating out.


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