Is Coconut Sugar Healthy?
Coconut sugar has grown in popularity in recent years as a natural alternative sweetener. Sometimes labeled as coconut palm sugar, this sugar is derived from the sap of the coconut palm tree.
Coconut sugar contains nutrients like iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, some short-chain fatty acids, polyphenols, and antioxidants. Advocates claim coconut sugar has a number of health advantages over regular table sugar. But what does science have to say about the reported benefits of this trendy sweetener?
Facts About Coconut Sugar Good For Diabetics : Low Glycemic Index Sweetener
One of the main touted benefits of coconut sugar is its relatively low glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood glucose levels. Foods with a high glycemic index cause rapid spikes in blood sugar.
Studies show coconut sugar has a glycemic index of 35 while regular table sugar is 65. This slightly lower glycemic index means coconut sugar impacts blood sugar levels slightly slower than regular refined sugar. But a glycemic index of 54 is still considered medium on the scale and not extremely low.
For comparison, foods like carrots have a glycemic index of 30 and an apple is 36. Science says coconut sugar does have a slightly lower glycemic response than regular sugar.
More Nutrients and Minerals Make Coconut Sugar Healthy
Compared to table sugar, coconut sugar does contain small amounts of nutrients like iron, zinc, calcium and potassium. One teaspoon of coconut sugar contains 10-30% of the recommended daily intake of some minerals.
However, the concentration of nutrients is quite low. To obtain meaningful amounts of nutrients from coconut sugar, you would need to consume very large amounts that provide excess calories and sugar. The nutrient content is interesting but likely not high enough to have a significant health impact.
Studies show coconut sugar contains beneficial polyphenols and flavonoids, types of antioxidants. Research indicates coconut sugar has an antioxidant capacity and free radical scavenging activity. This gives it slightly more antioxidant potential than brown sugar.
However, its antioxidant content is still lower than many fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and other foods. While coconut sugar does contain antioxidants, its polyphenol count is not remarkably high compared to the many other, healthier options available. Consuming a wide variety of plants provides better antioxidant sources.
Prebiotic Fiber Content
Coconut sugar contains a type of fiber called inulin which acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that feed beneficial gut bacteria. This stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.
Studies show coconut sugar does provide this prebiotic effect. But the inulin content is only about 3 grams per 100 grams, or 10% of coconut sugar. While it does selectively stimulate probiotic bacteria compared to other sweeteners, regular inulin supplements would be a far better prebiotic source.
Facts About Coconut Sugar : Anti-Diabetic Effects Makes Coconut Sugar Good For Diabetics
Some research indicates coconut sugar may have anti-diabetic properties. In animal studies, coconut sugar exhibited anti-diabetic and anti-obesity effects. This is thought to be due to its inulin fiber, polyphenols and amino acids.
However, human trials are lacking. There is no concrete evidence yet that coconut sugar prevents diabetes or benefits diabetes management in humans. Much more research is needed to determine if coconut sugar has anti-diabetic properties when consumed regularly as part of the diet.
Facts About Coconut Sugar : Less Processing Than Refined Sugar
Compared to regular white table sugar, coconut sugar is less processed. It is usually sustainably tapped from coconut palm sap and boiled to evaporate moisture. Minimal processing is an advantage compared to highly refined cane sugar.
However, coconut sugar is still concentrated with 70-80% sucrose just like white sugar. The glycemic response is not vastly different. While it is less refined, it still contains a high concentration of glucose and fructose like any sugar. Overconsumption should be avoided.
Facts About Coconut Sugar : Potential Contaminants
Some potential downsides of coconut sugar have also been identified. Contaminants like insects, molds and yeasts have been found in some coconut sugar products. These contaminants pose a health risk to consumers.
Proper production and hygiene practices reduce this risk. But testing has revealed contaminants are still an issue with some suppliers, especially products from small farms. This indicates quality controls may need to improve with the growing coconut sugar industry.
Facts About Coconut Sugar : Sustainability Concerns
Many sustainability organizations cite coconut sugar production as a threat to coconut diversity. As demand increases, more farmers are transitioning coconut plots to sugar production. This reduces availability of coconuts and byproducts like coconut oil and coconut water.
Coconut sugar production also requires sap tapping which can damage and weaken palm trees over time. Responsible farming practices are needed to ensure coconut sugar does not negatively impact coconut crops. Sustainability standards are still being developed.
Facts About Coconut Sugar : Is Coconut Sugar Healthy Than Table Sugar?
Coconut sugar does contain small amounts of nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber not found in regular white sugar. This gives it marginal nutritional advantages. The lower glycemic index reduces, but does not eliminate, blood sugar impact.
But the health differences between coconut and regular table sugar are relatively minor. Excessive intake of any added sugars in the diet should be avoided. The vitamins and minerals in coconut sugar are negligible compared to far healthier whole foods.
While coconut sugar is less processed and offers some slight benefits, it is still high in sugars like sucrose, glucose and fructose. Its concentration of nutrients and antioxidants is not sufficient to make it a healthy sweetener choice overall. But in small amounts, it can be slightly better than regular refined sugar. Those looking to control blood sugar or lose weight should still avoid overdoing sweetened foods and beverages, including recipes made with coconut sugar. So that coconut sugar good for diabetics is not myhts. However, this does not mean that category 2 diabetes sufferers can consume coconut sugar without restrictions.
The takeaway is coconut sugar does have some nutritional advantages compared to regular table sugar, but it is still a sugar that should be consumed in moderation.
How to Find Coconut Sugar Manufacturer?
Global Coco Sugar is #1 reliable coconut sugar manufacturer from Indonesia. We are specialize in derivative food coconut products. Our products already exported to various countries in various industries. We also already certified with international standard such as HACCP, Halal, Kosher, FDA, and Organic.
Besides we supply bulk, we also provide private label coconut sugar based on our customer needs. Feel free to contact us to discuss your needs, we will glad to help you!