Cracking the Coconut Sugar Craze
We’ve heard it all before: Coconut is a nutritious superfood that is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. But does this statement still ring true when it comes to coconut sugar? What are the benefits of coconut sugar— if any?
But before we jump into the benefits (or lack thereof), let’s quickly recap what coconut sugar is…
Coconut Sugar 101
Produced from the sap of coconut palm trees, coconut sugar is made when a flower from the tree is cut, allowing the sap to drain into containers. Afterwards, the sap is heated and the water evaporates, resulting in coarse brown granules, similar to brown sugar.
The Good News
Turns out, coconut sugar does, in fact, come with a slight nutritional edge.
In contrast to regular, cane sugar, coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index, meaning it will have a lower impact on your blood glucose levels, not spiking insulin. This makes it an overall better choice for consumption, especially for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Additionally, coconut sugar is nutrient-dense.
While cane sugar is essentially just calories with no reward, coconut sugar contains important nutrients, including small traces of zinc, iron, calcium, and potassium. Unlike cane sugar, coconut sugar also does not have any artificial ingredients, like additives or preservatives, and is not chemically treated in any way.
The Dose of Reality
That said, it’s important to note that just like honey and maple syrup, coconut sugar can still impact your blood sugar levels, which can affect your mood, energy levels, and overall health.
Also, most nutritionists don’t recommend mainlining coconut sugar on a regular basis. And when it comes to the nutrients: many dieticians say the benefits are small. Like, very small.
For example, depending on the brand, a one-teaspoon serving of coconut sugar contains around 10 milligrams of calcium, making it just 1 percent of the recommended 1,000 milligrams of calcium adults are supposed to consume per day, according to the National Institutes of Health.
While most health experts don’t recommend consuming coconut sugar on an everyday basis, at the very least, it is most certainly an overall better choice than cane sugar. Plus, it’s a sweetener option that has at least a small amount of nutritional value, versus cane sugar, which has none.