Regarded as a better alternative to refined sugar, coconut sugar is the dehydrated and boiled sap of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar has caught the attention of many of those who are health conscious because of its low fructose content and low glycemic index. It also contains traces of some minerals and antioxidants as compared to regular white sugar. Another factor that gives coconut sugar an edge over the other sweeteners is that it is not refined or chemically altered and contains no artificial ingredients or synthetic substances. Coconut sugar is not a direct derivative of coconut, it is the boiled and dehydrated sap of the coconut palm which is collected in a container. It looks and tastes much like clumped brown sugar with a slight hint of caramel. It is used widely as a natural sweetener in baking and in cooking. Here are six amazing benefits of coconut sugar that will convince to to ditch refined sugar.
1. Low glycemic index
The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement evaluating carbohydrate-containing foods and their impact on our blood sugar and glucose levels. “Coconut sugar ranges relatively low in the Glycemic Index count. It ranks just 35 on the index as opposed to the regular table sugar which ranks between 60 to 65”, says Meher Rajput, Dietitian and Nutritionist at FitPass. High GI foods can cause your blood sugar to spike suddently which take a toll on your insulin levels. Moreover, coconut sugar contains a fibre called insulin which is known to slow down the glucose absorption.
2. Relatively high on nutrients
Containing about 16 calories and four grams of carbohydrate per teaspoon, coconut sugar may not bring down your calorie intake but Meher Rajput explains, “Your regular white sugar is what we term as ‘empty-calories’ which means that it does not contain any nutrients. Coconut sugar, on the other hand, is high on antioxidants, iron, calcium and potassium.”
3. Not refined
Coconut sugar is one of the most sought after natural sweeteners. Away from the extensive refining process which regular sugar has to undergo, coconut sugar is pure and straight out of nature.
4. Less fructose
Fructose is a variant of sugar which is quickly converted into fats by our body. Fructose is not easily broken down, and only the liver is capable of breaking down fructose, and this complex breakdown leads to formation of triglycerides (a form of fat). Coconuts sugar contains 70 to 75 percent of sucrose and about 20 to 30 percent of fructose as opposed to white sugar which is high in both fructose and glucose. Cane sugar is also 50 percent fructose.
5. Better electrolytes
Being high in potassium, magnesium and sodium, coconut sugar has the ability to regulate the body’s water content. It has 400 times more potassium than white sugar!
6. Good for the gut
The star fiber of coconut sugar –insulin has the ability to promote the growth of intestinal bifidobacteria, Bifidobacteria have been known to help restore the good bacteria in the gut and also boost your immunity.
Do note: In order to reap the maximum benefits of coconut sugar, you have to be a cautious shopper. Many brands may be selling coconut sugar mixed with cane sugar. Therefore, read the ingredient label carefully before purchasing. Coconut sugar, also known as coconut crystals or coconut palm sugar, may even be slightly more expensive in comparison to regular cane sugar.
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