Coconut sugar: properties, benefits and their use in the kitchen

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Among the different alternatives we have to sweeten our dishes is coconut sugar, an option that is currently used to replace white or refined table sugar. We tell you its properties, benefits and possible uses in the kitchen.

Properties of coconut sugar

The coconut sugar is extracted from the sap of coconut palms which consist of 80% water, 15% sugar and 5% of mineral salts. Therefore, water evaporates leaving a kind of sugar with minerals that serves to sweeten our dishes.

According to a study carried out in Indonesia, coconut sugar consists of almost 71% sucrose, 3% glucose and about 3% fructose, the rest of the components being non-digestible fiber or carbohydrates and water.

Due to its high proportion of hydrates that are resistant to digestion and absorption in our body, coconut sugar despite being a source of free sugars is metabolized more slowly and therefore has a lower glycemic index than sugars indicated by research published in 2015.

This could be due to a derivative: xylose, which is a suppressant of postprandial glucose and thus, avoids glucose peaks, as well as blood insulin.

Benefits of coconut sugar

Although coconut sugar is a concentrated source of free sugars that should be reduced in the usual diet, it is an option with fewer calories and a lower percentage of simple carbohydrates than white or refined table sugar, for example.

In addition, because of its lower glycemic index, coconut sugar is not so harmful to health, since not producing glucose peaks in insulin does not increase the risk of suffering from insulin resistance and other associated metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

On the other hand, as a source of fiber, especially inulin, as noted in a study published, coconut sugar can favorably affect the intestinal flora of the body and thus benefit the intestinal transit and encourage the body’s defenses, because Inulin has a prebiotic effect in our body.

In addition, the lifelong white sugar is only fructose and glucose, that is, it contributes no more calories to the body, while the coconut sugar provides not only sugars but also, fiber with prebiotic effect and various minerals, as well as vitamin C and amino acids as indicated by research published in Indonesia, which contributes to improving the quality of the diet if we use it instead of the first one.

How to use coconut sugar in the kitchen

The coconut sugar as we said is a substitute to the table sugar of all the life, therefore, we can use it to sweeten several preparations like for example: caramelized vegetables or integral muffins in replacement of sugar of brown cane. 

Of course, we must not forget that coconut sugar, although it is more nutritious and has less sugar than white sugar, also has free sugars that should be reduced in the usual diet, so we recommend its use in limited quantities, so as not to exceed 10% of daily calories in the form of sugar as suggested by WHO.

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