Healthier alternatives to white sugar have become popular in recent years. There are many such sweeteners, including coconut sugar. It should be noted that coconut sugar is a sugar, which means that it will carry many of the same health risks as white sugar; however, it does have some significant differences. Even though it is sometimes referred to as coconut palm sugar, it should not be confused with palm sugar. Palm sugar comes from a different tree.
If you are trying to decide between using coconut sugar and refined white sugar, you will want to consider the ways in which they differ as well as the important factors when it comes to using one in place of the other. How well do they work when used as substitutes for each other? Consider the following questions when making your decision. Let’s dive into another SPICEography Showdown.
How are coconut sugar and white sugar different?
The name coconut sugar may seem to suggest a type of sugar made from coconuts or that tastes like coconuts. This is not the case, as coconut sugar’s flavor has a butterscotch note similar to raw brown sugars like sucanat. It also has a light brown color. It is not made from coconuts but from the sap of the coconut tree, so it does not taste like coconuts at all. White sugar is white, as its name suggests. It is refined sugar made from sugar cane or beets. The fact that it is refined means that the molasses content has been removed and along with it, any compounds that might flavor it. In other words, its flavor profile is simply sweet with no additional notes. Its function is to sweeten and nothing more.
Coconut sugar is actually a healthier form of sugar when compared to white sugar. It contains a type of fiber called inulin. Inulin may help to slow the rate at which your body absorbs sugar. This can be beneficial for people with diabetes or who are pre-diabetic since it can help to prevent blood sugar spikes.
Can you use coconut sugar in place of white sugar or vice versa?
Because the main function of each sugar is to sweeten, they can be used in place of each other to make a dish sweeter. Coconut sugar and white sugar will both sweeten effective, but you will not get identical results. Coconut sugar’s flavor and color make it an unsuitable replacement for white sugar in applications that require sweetness and nothing more. For example, you would not use coconut sugar to replace white sugar in light-colored baked goods or beverages. White sugar is not a good replacement for coconut sugar if you want a golden-brown color or caramel and butterscotch notes to go along with the sweetness.
When should you use coconut sugar and when should you use white sugar?
Use coconut sugar in darker colored applications and ones where its flavor will not interfere with the other flavors of the dish. For example, it can be used as a substitute for light or dark brown sugar or in chocolate cakes. You can also use it as a raw sugar replacement to sweeten beverages like coffee or tea. Use white sugar in dishes that are supposed to have a light color. For example, you could use it in lighter colored cakes or cookies.