Coconut Sugar

Coconut Sugar

In this article we tell you four reasons why you should change the sugar in your coffee for coconut sugar.

Coconut sugar is less refined

Table sugar is a food extracted from sugar cane or beet, and when it reaches our table it has undergone a tremendous refining process causing it to lose all the nutrients contained in its raw material in the natural state.

Flow chart

Figure I. Flow Chart of the production of table sugar (Iryani et al., 2012).

Coconut sugar is a sweetener traditionally used in Middle Eastern countries in many traditional local recipes.

It goes through less treatment, it is obtained from the sap of the coconut tree, from which a coconut palm sap syrup is obtained which is subsequently filtered, boiled, cooled, granulated and dried in the sun to obtain a coconut sugar with a high capacity of dissolution in water, without the need to add inactive ingredients or use solvents in the process.

Sugar

Figure II. Coconut sugar.

Thus obtaining a sugar similar in appearance to brown sugar of the cane, but with its original nutritional properties much better preserved.

It has a low glycemic index

The glycemic index is a measure in arbitrary units that designates the rate at which glucose from carbohydrates consumed is passed into the blood.

The higher the glycemic index the faster the gastric emptying and therefore the faster the sugars are absorbed.

This is a very interesting feature to choose carbohydrate sources before, during or after training.

However, for most of the day, consuming high glycemic index carbohydrates produces acute elevations in insulin concentrations, a peptide hormone that is highly lipogenic, that is, it facilitates the accumulation of fat and whose continuous secretion desensitises glucose uptake in muscle cells, generating resistance to peripheral insulin.

Therefore, it is preferable to feed on the basis of complete, less refined foods and the properties of the full food matrix.

Glycemic index

Figure III. FAO classification of carbohydrate categories according to their glycemic index (FNRI, n.f.).

Trials that have analysed the glycemic index of coconut sugar have found it to be around 35 (Trinidad et al., 2010), so it is considered a low glycemic index carbohydrate and if compared to its equivalent, cane sugar, which has a glycemic index that is around 60, we can see the difference.

Comparative

Figure IV. Comparative glycemic index in the form of AUC between coconut sugar, coconut syrup, and table sugar (FNRI, n.f.).

Contains more nutrients

The refining process to which table sugar is subjected causes it to lose all its nutritional interest, relieving itself to a simple energy nutrient that can be used by athletes to meet their needs.

Coconut sugar, thanks to its fuller state, retains both nutrients and phytonutrients of the original raw material.

The macronutrients are isolated, virtually all of the product is carbohydrate. In addition to containing:

  • More iron, zinc, calcium, sodium and potassium than table sugar.

Nutrients

Figure V. Comparison of iron and zinc content between coconut sugar, brown sugar and refined sugar (FNRI, n.f.).

  • Fibre from inulin, a fructose polysaccharide, which is not digested and travels to the colon where it ferments and produces short-chain fatty acids that have beneficial properties on the gut microbiota.
  • High amounts of polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanidins; important phytonutrients that have protective effects on the body (antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, chelating, hypocholesterolemia…)

Effects

Figure VI.Health Effects associated with the consumption of polyphernials through food (Dayem et al., 2016).

  • High amounts of propionate, a fatty acid that has been linked in in vitro studies to inhibition of the enzyme HMG-CoA Reductase in the cholesterol synthesis route; being able to exert an even more potent hypocholesterolemia effect.

Cholesterol shyntesis

Figure VII. Graphic representation of the cholesterol synthesis pathway in the body from acetyl-CoA. The enzyme inhibited by propionate is labeled.

Flavour

The taste of coconut sugar is similar to muscovado sugar, but with a hint of caramel, reminiscent of Grade A dark amber maple syrups.

Coconut

Figure VIII. Coconut sugar.

Coconut sugar has a very characteristic flavour thanks to the high density of volatile compounds that we can find in its composition.

The flavour of coconut sugar has been defined in the literature as:

“A sweetener flavoured with pleasant caramel and an exquisite touch of coconut”

(Purnomo, 2007).

Coconut Sugar from HSNfoods

Coconut sugar HSNfoods

HSN has produced its first coconut sugar-based product.

Obtained from coconut flowers from organic farming, in compliance with the standards and regulations contained in European Community Regulations No. 834/2007 and No. 889/2008.

Thus certifying its origin and the quality of its raw ingredients.

Soil association organic

Figure IX. The seal from the “Organic Soil Association”, which establishes the norms and standards of the European Commission establishing the above-mentioned regulation.

Can I take as much coconut sugar as I want?

Although it is a good alternative to table sugar because of its higher nutrient content, low glycemic index and other factors that have been analysed previously, coconut sugar remains caloric the same as sugar.

In this sense, its composition of saccharides is slightly reduced, its energy value is practically identical to that of sugar obtained from cane or beet.

Coconut sugar must therefore be an intermediate step in the process of reducing daily sugar consumption.

Bibliography Sources

  1. American Diabetes Association. (s.f.). Coconut Palm Sugar.
  2. Dayem, A. A., Choi, H. Y., Yang, G. M., Kim, K., Saha, S. K., & Cho, S. G. (2016). The anti-cancer effect of polyphenols against breast cancer and cancer stem cells: Molecular mechanisms. Nutrients, 8(9), 581.
  3. Food and Nutrition Research Institute. (s.f.). Beneficios nutricionales y sobre la salud del azúcar/sirope de la savia del coco.
  4. Iryani, D., Hirajima, T., & Sasaki, K. (2012). Overview of Indonesia Sugarcane Industry and Utilization of Its Solid Waste.
  5. Purnomo, H. (2007). Volatile components of coconut fresh sap, sap syrup and coconut sugar. ASEAN Food Journal, 14(1), 45–49.
  6. Trinidad, T. P., Mallillin, A. C., Sagum, R. S., & Encabo, R. R. (2010). Glycemic index of commonly consumed carbohydrate foods in the Philippines. Journal of Functional Foods, 2(4), 271–274.

Related Entries

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Review of Coconut Sugar VS Table Sugar

Less refined - 100%

Better properties - 100%

Lower glycemic index - 100%

Better flavour - 100%

100%

HSN Evaluation: 5 /5
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About Alfredo Valdés
Alfredo Valdés
A specialist in Pathophysiology and biomolecular effects on nutrition and sportive activity who will show you the elaborate world of sports nutrition in his articles, employing a simple and critical writing.
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