Coconut sugar also known coco sap sugar or coconut palm sugar, is not produced from coconuts. It is a product of the coconut tree, or more specifically the sap obtained from coconut tree’s flower buds. Coconut sugar is prepared by boiling and dehydrating the sap of coconut palm. The granules are brownish and larger in comparison to the standard table sugar. The question which generally arises in the minds of weight watchers is that whether this type of sugar is actually healthier in comparison to its alternatives or is it just another pretty name for a sweetener? The answer is very clear that coconut sugar offers the same amount of carbohydrates and calories as the standard table sugar (about 15 calories and 4 gms of carbohydrate per tsp), but the added benefits of coconut sugar are responsible to make it a hot commodity in the health food world. Some of the major benefits of coconut sugar which differentiate it from regular table sugar are stated as under-

1. Coconut sugar isn’t a nutritional superfood, but it does offer a good amount of vitamins and minerals than white table sugar. It contains trace amounts of vitamin C, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and copper. Along with this, coconut sugar also provides small amounts of phytonutrients, such as polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidin, and antioxidants. Apart from this, it also contains vitamin B inositol, often used as a mood booster.

2. It contains very less amount of fructose, which is a type of sugar human body converts to fat quickly. Only your liver can break down fructose, and one of the results of this breakdown is triglyceride, which is again a form of fat. Additional consumption of fructose must be avoided for better health. Coconut sugar has 45% fructose which is very less in comparison to other sweeteners.

3. The main role of glycemic index is to measure the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Foods that have high glycemic index result in a spike in blood sugar level which is the main cause of sugar rush and subsequent crash. Not only this, the fast spikes also result in soared insulin levels that ultimately have some serious consequences for diabetics. Coconut sugar ranks just 35 on this index while regular table sugar ranks between 60 and 75.

4.Coconut sugar has 78% of actual sugar while nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals constitute the remaining 22% which makes it a better alternative in comparison to regular table sugar which is 100% sugar!

5. Regular table sugar and high fructose corn syrup don’t contain any vital nutrients and, therefore, are a source of “empty” calories. Coconut sugar owing to its source of origin does retain quite a bit of the nutrients like iron, zinc, calcium and potassium, along with some short chain fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants that also provide additional health benefits.

6. In 2014, The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization classified coconut palm sugar as the most sustainable sweetener in the world. It’s source of origin, i.e. coconut tree use minimal amounts of water, especially compared to sugar cane production. It has no artificial ingredients and is not chemically altered in any way, which makes this product environment-friendly.

Overall this discussion can be summed up by highlighting that there isn’t much difference between white table sugar and coconut sugar in terms of calories, but the nutritional content and other associated benefits definitely make it a better choice.

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