Food is an integral part of everyone’s life, and having something that satisfies your taste buds is important. Whether you have an interest in sweeter items or sour, there are a variety of ingredients that provide the perfect taste. However, not every tasty item is healthy, and that can hamper with the health-conscious diet plans.
On encountering such a baffling situation, natural substances are gaining more popularity as they provide incredible taste while also satisfying the beneficial aspects and health requirements of the body. Coconut sugar is one such food item that will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth. Numerous people find it beneficial as well due to the moderate content of glycemic index and fructose.
Coconut palm sugar is a healthier alternative, nutritious, and is not altered with artificial ingredients or chemicals. Also, you would not notice any added synthetic substances within its composition, which is another reason why fitness enthusiasts prefer it. Indeed, studies have shown its valuable benefits to the human body, and they are quite favorable.
What is coconut sugar?
In contrast to popular opinion, coconut palm sugar is not directly derived from coconut. The sap of the coconut palm is brewed and dehydrated; and then, it is collected into a container. To elaborate, the flower buds of the coconut tree is boiled using moderate temperature. Studies, done by the Philippine Food and Nutrition Research Institute, showcases that its glycemic index is approximately in the range of 35-42, which is lower than the GI score of white sugar, approximately around 60 or 65.
Physically, it looks like a clumped version of brown sugar and tastes similar. Moreover, the scent of it has a tinge of caramel flavor, which further adds to its appeal. Chemically, it has a similar composition to sucrose or white sugar. Both of these sugar types have around 16 calories in each teaspoon and hold 4gm of sugar.
Due to the higher concentration of antioxidants and particular minerals, people with a penchant for a healthier diet prefer this. It gives the right amount of sweetness to the food. People put this ingredient in their baked and cooked items as a natural sweetener.
Common benefits of coconut sugar
Without a doubt, there are some noteworthy points that allude to the reason why this natural sugar alternative is good for one’s health. It contains some nutrients that positively affect the human body while lacking in some. The latter is good too, considering the health issues they can cause. As for the benefits, it promises the following.
1.Not a refined product
One of the best qualities of coconut sugar is that it is a completely natural ingredient, and devoid of refining. Normal sugar particles have to go through a complicated refining process and are supplemented with preservatives. On the other hand, coconut sugar is made with a machine-less process and is comparatively pure. However, the taste does not deteriorate in the Coconut sugar recipes for different drinks and desserts.
2.Better gut health
The main fiber of the coconut palm sugar is inulin, and that helps immensely in maintaining the fitness of the gut. It means that this component improves the normal development of intestinal bifidobacteria. It offers a variety of beneficial aspects, including boosting the immune system.
According to some studies, the bifidobacteria produces many nutrients like Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin, and Thiamine. It also helps in the restoration of good bacterial concentration inside the gut.
The aforementioned type of natural sugar alternative works wonders to regulate the water content in the human body. This is due to the high content of good nutrients, like sodium, magnesium, and potassium. In fact, according to some studies, it has been found that it has approximately 400 times more potassium content than regular white sugar
Owing to this, you can moderate your coconut sugar intake, and the balance of electrolytes in your body would adjust remarkably well.
4.Higher nutrient content
As mentioned before, each teaspoon of coconut sugar contains around 4gm of carbs and 16 calories. Thus, it would not reduce your intake of calories, but would rather ensure that they are good calories.
Normal white sugar includes the same amount of calories in a single teaspoon, but they are mostly ’empty calories’. On the other hand, coconut sugar contains more nutrients in the same amount, like iron and antioxidants. This is decidedly more health-conscious.
Fructose content – low in coconut sugar or refined sugar?
While ingesting sugar, especially the regular type, the impending worry regarding the fructose level is quite relevant. Thus, when asked about its alternative the same question comes to mind-is coconut sugar healthy?
In the regular type of sugar, i.e., sucrose, the level of fructose content is 50%, and so is the content of glucose. Similarly, another sweetening alternative, corn syrup contains around 45% of glucose and 55% of fructose. Neither quantities are suitable for the healthy state of an individual and can cause metabolic issues.
In fact, recent studies indicate that ingesting more fructose may lead to harmful metabolic syndrome in people who are obese. However, the medical world is yet to be convinced of the toxicity of fructose and its adverse effect on individuals.
As for the quantity of fructose in coconut sugar, the amount is the same as that of regular white sugar. This is because the composition of fructose itself includes 70% to 80% of sucrose. Therefore, the effect of this element occurs equally in coconut sugar consumption.
The usual problems related to higher sugar intake are numerous heart diseases, diabetes, and obesity.
Overall, you would not find much of a difference when you consume coconut sugar in the matter of fructose content. However, in the question of nutrients, this type of sugar is better equipped than regular sugar. As long as you consume it in moderate amounts in your food, you would not face severe health issues.
How are the Glucose Levels in Coconut Palm Sugar?
Another major factor that you must think about is the glucose level in your blood. The primary measurement that people concentrate on is the glycemic index, or more commonly referred to as the GI score. As per this analysis, the food items that showcase a high GI score contribute to a higher blood sugar percentage.
In this context, Coconut palm sugar, a natural sweetener, is considered to have a lower GI score. It is because most naturally produced food items have a lower GI score than processed ones.
Studies have shown this as accurate to some extent since the coconut sugar does have a GI score in the range of 35 and 42. It is comparatively lower than the GI score of regular white sugar, which is around 65.
There is a theory that the presence of inulin in the coconut palm sugar is also somewhat responsible for the low GI score. However, the validity of this statement in reference to health benefits for individuals is not proven. It may not affect some people in the way more tested sweeteners would.
Overall, coconut sugar is a healthy alternative to regular white sugar as it contains some good nutrients. However, there are not any specific health benefits that it would provide, especially in the aspect of weight loss. If you are in search of a healthier version of sucrose, you may opt for this alternative. However, you must be cautious of its quantity in your daily diet.