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Does Coconut Sugar Live Up to the Health Hype or is it a Lie?

 

Author: Najwa Khan

It seems like everyone is going CO-CO-NUTS for coconut these days. It is tooted as a healthy alternative substitute for milk, flour, soy, and even sugar. 

As a result of the public understanding of the harmful effects of sugar, many are turning to sugar alternatives and substitutes. One of the popular types of sugar substitutes today is coconut sugar. But the real question is, is the hype real and is coconut sugar actually better than sugar, or are we all being fed a big fat lie?

What is Coconut Sugar?

Coconut sugar is a natural sugar made from coconut palm sap (the fluid of the coconut plant). To produce the end result we’re familiar with, the coconut sap is dried under heat until the sap turns into granulated brown bits (similar to brown sugar). 

What is Coconut Sugar’s Nutritional Value?

Regular table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup don't contain any vital nutrients, making it “empty” calories. However, coconut sugar does retain quite a bit of the nutrients found in the coconut palm.

Most notable nutrients found in coconut sugar are:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Potassium

Additionally, coconut sugar contains the fiber, inulin, which slows glucose absorption and accounts for why coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than sugar. Also, coconut sugar contains fatty acids and is rich in antioxidants. 

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels. Coconut sugars GI is around 54, whereas glucose has a GI of 100. 

Nutritional breakdown:

Serving Size: 1 teaspoon

  • 15 calories
  • 0 g total fat
  • 0 mg sodium
  • 4 g carbohydrate
  • 0 g fiber
  • 4 g sugar
  • 0 g protein

One teaspoon of coconut sugar has 15 calories and 4 grams of sugar, the same nutrition facts as one teaspoon of cane or white refined sugar.

Does Coconut Sugar have Gut Health Benefits:

Unlike table sugar, coconut sugar is able to be digested at a slower rate (lower GI than sugar) and due to its inulin fiber, is able to promote a healthy gut. 

What can we Conclude About Coconut Sugar?

At the end of the day coconut sugar is not a miracle sweetener and is not a food item that should be eaten sparingly. Everything in moderation is our motto. Additionally, compared to other sugar alternatives that are processed or chemically made, coconut sugar is natural. 

However, if you are someone that has a sweet tooth AND cares about their overall gut health and body’s health, having coconut sugar instead of glucose or table sugar, is a healthier alternative. 

At dalci, we use small amounts of coconut sugar instead of sugar, glucose, and sugar alternatives that are chemically processed, so that you can enjoy our desserts without worrying about the negative impact to your gut and health.