Coconut Sugar: A Healthy Alternative?
The trick to making healthy eating fun and enjoyable is to become knowledgeable about ingredients.
When you realise how many beautiful healthy alternatives are at your fingertips, the meals and snacks you can enjoy are limitless. Being healthy doesn’t mean avoiding all your favourite foods - it’s simply about switching to delicious healthier alternatives!
Coconut sugar is an alternative to refined white sugar that opens up a whole world of recipe opportunities. There’s no need to deprive yourself of homemade cookies or fruity crumbles once you get coconut sugar in the mix. Of course, we’re not advocating a cookie a day, but when you do want to treat yourself it makes sense to choose healthier ingredients that still taste delicious.
So How Is Coconut Sugar Healthier Than White Sugar?
For starters, it’s packed with nutrition. While white sugar is stripped of nutrients due to processing, coconut sugar retains its rich mineral content, including calcium, iron, zinc and potassium due to minimal processing.
Coconut sugar originates from the flowers of the coconut palm. The sap from the flower buds is collected and heated until the moisture evaporates leaving a thick paste which solidifies and is ground into granules.
Not only is it nutrient dense, coconut sugar creates less havoc with your blood sugar levels. This is due to coconut sugar’s low glycemic index - a measure which tests how quickly a food raises your blood sugar level. The lower the better so your blood sugar level remains stable and isn’t ‘spiked’ by certain foods.
The Philippine Coconut Authority recorded coconut sugar’s glycemic index at 35, whereas sweeteners like cane sugar generally have a glycemic index well above 50. Foods with a high glycemic index can create feelings of lethargy, hunger and irritability after we eat them, which is why low glycemic sweeteners like coconut sugar are a popular alternative.
Natural sweeteners are definitely a better option than refined white sugar but it is important to remember that any sweetener, from coconut sugar to maple syrup or molasses, should still be consumed in moderation as they are all sources of sugar.
For an occasional treat, however, be sure to switch to coconut sugar instead of white sugar (use as a 1:1 ratio replacement) to create delicious wholesome goodies - your body will thank you!