The coconut seems to be the source of many healthy byproducts. We have long been aware of the hydrating benefits of pure coconut water, the dairy free milk that comes from inside the coconut, and the plethora of things that can be done with coconut oil. Recently, we have been hearing more and more about the natural sugar that is derived from the coconut tree.
Often referred to as coconut palm sugar, it is a naturally occurring sugar made from the sap of the plant,which is extracted and heated to create the commercially used sugar.
While regular table sugar and high fructose corn syrup don’t contain any vital nutrients, coconut sugar does.
Among the minerals found in coconut sugar are iron, zinc, calcium and potassium. TIt also contains various antioxidants and a fiber called inulin, which may slow glucose absorption.
So, should we be replacing all of our sugar and sugar substitutes with coconut palm sugar? Maybe, or maybe not.
The American Diabetes Association warns that the claims regarding the low glycemic index ranking of coconut sugar were not tested, and that the use of coconut sugar should be treated the same as that of regular table sugar. Both products have the same amount of calories and carbohydrates per teaspoon.
Another downside of coconut sugar is that the tree cannot produce both coconut sugar and actual coconuts, which are the source for coconut oil, coconut milk and shredded coconut. It’s lack of sustainability is a concerning factor for both producers and consumers.
Like honey and agave, coconut sugar is another sweetener that does not provide health benefits, but could potentially be better for you than white table sugar.The verdict: None of these should be considered “health foods,” and should be used sparingly.
photo: Glasshouse Images
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