Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Coconut Sugar, an Alternative to White Cane Sugar

There is again another product of the tree of life, the coconut tree, which is called coconut sugar. Although its production has already taken place for a long time, it is only recently that there is enough awareness on this type of sugar that is reported to be a healthy alternative to regular white or brown table sugar which is shunned by some people because of its adverse effect to health.

Coco sugar comes from the sap of the coconut bud. To gather sap, a bud is cut crosswise. Liquids from the cut then trickle down and collected in a bamboo container. The whitish sap is sweet and invigorating to drink. However, too much of it can get one intoxicated. Left alone, the toddy turns to vinegar after some time.

To produce coco sugar, the raw sap is boiled in moderate heat in a wok to evaporate the moisture. What remains is syrup that is subjected to further heat until it becomes caramel colored granules which is the finished product. In the process of production there is no artificial ingredients added or there is chemical alteration in any way. Coco sugar is similar in taste to brown sugar and can be substituted for cane sugar in most recipes.

The disadvantage of using coco sugar is that it cost much more than regular white table sugar. Coco sugar’s selling point is its low Glycemic Index or GI. Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrate foods on the basis on how they affect blood sugar (glucose). Glycemic Index of coco sugar is ranked as 35, and by that measure it is classified as low GI food. White table sugar has GI which is 60 to 75. Foods high in GI cause blood sugar to spike which can lead to fluctuation of blood sugar level. A spike in blood sugar causes insulin level to raise in short period of time and this have some serious complications to diabetics. 

Basic sugar content of coco sugar is 70-79% sucrose and 3-9% each glucose and fructose. Cane sugar on the other hand is 50% fructose. Fructose is a type of sugar the body quickly converts to fat. Only the liver can break down fructose. And one result of this breakdown is triglyceride – a form of fat. A large amount of fructose is not good for the body because excessive amount of it elevates blood pressure, triglycerides and LDL. It also depletes vitamins and minerals, raises insulin resistance and causes obesity and it also contributes to hypertension and high blood pressure and to other diseases such as arthritis and cancer.                                                                                       
Coco sugar has 16 calories per teaspoon. It has relatively low contents of essential nutrients with the exception of potassium at about 25% of daily value per serving of 100 grams which is approximately 25 teaspoonfuls.