Sugar, it makes life a little sweeter. But as we know, too much of a good thing can be bad. Whilst it is delicious, an abundance of refined sugar can have a negative effect on your health.
UK Government guidelines suggest adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day. Diets which are high in added sugar are strongly linked to medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease. But does the type of sugar you eat matter?
Today, we’re looking at this plant-based alternative and seeing if coconut sugar is any better for you than regular refined sugar. Is it worth making the switch? Read on to find out!
What is Coconut Sugar?
Coconut sugar, also sometimes referred to as coconut palm sugar is a naturally occurring sugar which comes from the sap of a coconut, which is the sugary fluid circulating the coconut plant.
It is often confused with palm sugar, which is similar, but actually comes from a completely separate variety of palm tree. It’s produced in the Philippines as well as other locations in South East Asia.
The sugar is produced by making a cut on the flower of the coconut palm, and the liquid sap is collected into containers. The sap is then placed under heat until the majority of the water has evaporated, and the dehydrated crystals which are leftover becomes coconut sugar.
How to Use Coconut Sugar
Luckily, refined sugar can be replaced by coconut sugar in pretty much all instances. To use coconut sugar as a substitute for other sugars, simply measure it at a one-for-one ratio.
You can easily swap to this alternative without making any compromises in the way you bake, prepare sauces, or sweeten your food and beverages such as tea and coffee.
And if you’re wondering about the taste and if it will make everything you add it to taste like coconut, it actually tastes more comparable to brown sugar. Not only is the colour similar but it also has a strong, sweet caramel taste. As the sugar comes from the sap, as opposed to the nut, there is actually no coconut flavour.
Which Has More Nutrients?
Many sugars you find in your local supermarket have been refined. This means the source material has been broken down, heavily processed and metabolised for maximum sweetness and shelf-life. Regular refined sugar does not contain any vital nutrients due to this processing and therefore supplies “empty” calories.
In contrast, coconut sugar is unrefined and is a more raw and pure way to sweeten things when compared to many common alternatives. Due to its minimal processing, it does retain quite a few of the important nutritional elements found in the coconut palm. So not only does it taste good, but it contains nutrients that are good for you too!
Coconut sugar contains potassium, magnesium, and sodium, which are all vital for regulating your body’s water content as well as many heart, nerve, and muscle functions. It has approx. 400 times more potassium than your regular sugar.
Other important minerals it hosts are iron, zinc, and calcium, which have many health benefits, including stronger bones. It also contains nitrogen which helps support the cardiovascular system along with some short-chain fatty acids like polyphenols and antioxidants.
Lower Glycaemic Index
Along with its vitamin and mineral content, coconut sugar also contains a fibre called inulin, which may slow glucose absorption and help clarify why coconut sugar has a lower glycaemic index (GI) compared to regular sugar.
Coconut sugar contains a GI count of 35 which is much lower than other types of sugars and sweeteners. For comparison, brown sugar has GI of 64 and maple syrup has 54.
Organic and unrefined coconut sugar is a better alternative as it can help reduce the chances of spiking your blood sugar levels and slows the absorption of glucose. This may also help control your appetite by keeping you feeling fuller for longer which may be useful if you're trying to lose weight.
Please be aware, that at the end of the day coconut sugar it is still a type of sugar and still should be used sparingly and in line with daily food guidelines.
But it is still considered a healthier option by being unrefined, having a lower GI and containing more nutrients in comparison to regular sugar - which is a victory in our book!
If you’re looking to switch your sugar, well look no further than our Organic Coconut Sugar.