Coconut sugar has been harvested and used throughout southern Asia for centuries. Some records state that it has been used for as long as 6,000 years. The sugar is obtained from the sap of the coconut flower. The sap is boiled so that the water evaporates from it, which makes the sap becomes thick and concentrated, similar to molasses. Eventually, the sap is reduced to the point that it crystallizes and becomes coconut sugar. This is the method that has been used throughout history.
Coconut sugar has received praise from the likes of Mahatma Gandhi who claimed that its use had the potential to eliminate poverty.
In recent years, the sugar from coconut trees has become a trendy sweetening option and one that is believed by many to have significant health benefits.
Another recent development in the history coconut sugar is the fact that it has been named the world’s most sustainable sweetener. This is because coconut sugar production has minimal effects on the environment. The sustainability of coconut sugar is thought to be especially noteworthy when compared to the production of sugar cane, which requires a considerable amount of resources.
Coconut sugar flavor profile
Coconut sugar does not taste like coconut; instead, it has an aroma and flavor profile similar to that of brown sugar. It is sweet, with light caramel notes.
Health benefits of coconut sugar
Coconut sugar’s nutritional profile is very similar to that of ordinary white table sugar. It consists of 79 percent sucrose, with the rest being glucose and fructose. Its calories and carbohydrate content is identical to those of white sugar. You get the same 16 calories per teaspoon. Among the nutrients in coconut sugar are:
- Minerals: Coconut sugar is often marketed as having a higher mineral content when compared to white sugar. It is true that the sap contains a potassium and other minerals; however, these minerals are present in relatively small quantities. Consider the fact that you would need to consume about 100 g of coconut sugar to get 25 percent of your daily potassium requirement. In a regular serving size of about 8 g of sugar, you will not be getting much of anything.
- Inulin: Coconut sugar does contain inulin even though it does not have any dietary fiber. The inulin content may well be the least controversial health claim made about this sweetener. Inulin is an indigestible carbohydrate that is fermented in the intestines where it feeds beneficial bacteria.
Coconut sugar help to treat or prevent health conditions like:
- Diabetes: One way in which it is thought to be beneficial for diabetics has to do with its glycemic index. This is up for debate as while the Philippine Food and Nutrition Research Institute has stated that it has a lower glycemic index, other sources claim that this is untrue. If it does have a lower glycemic index, it will not cause the dramatic blood sugar spikes that lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Another way that coconut sugar is thought to help diabetes sufferers has to do with its inulin content. Inulin is thought to improve insulin sensitivity and to be beneficial for the metabolic processes in people who are at a high risk of getting diabetes.
Common uses of coconut sugar
This is an all-purpose sweetener that you can use in much the same way that you would use light brown sugar. Use it in cakes and other desserts as well as to sweeten coffee or tea.