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Coconut Sugar — A Healthy Sugar Alternative or a Big Fat Lie
Diseases like obesity and diabetes have affected a majority of the population since the beginning of the 20th century. With the growing consciousness about eating healthy and eating right, people have switched to natural alternatives of various food items. Coconut sugar is amongst one of those popular sweeteners that are hyped to possess various health benefits. It is less refined than white sugar and thus believed to contain more vital nutrients and minerals which go missing in the regular sugar.
Before understanding the pros and cons of consuming coconut sugar, it is important to learn about its origin. This sugar is derived from the sap of coconut palm tree. The sap circulates like fluid within the tree and coconut sugar is essentially a dehydrated form of the sap. The sap is derived by cutting into the flower buds of the coconut palm tree. The extracted sap is then boiled with water and the final product ends up as coconut sugar. It looks like raw and unprocessed white sugar, with a tinge of brown in the granules.
Let us take a closer look at some of the amazing health benefits of coconut sugar, which makes it a healthier alternative of sweetener.
- Low glycaemic index: This implies that consuming coconut sugar does not spike our blood glucose level immediately. Increased levels of glucose in the blood become the cause of diseases like diabetes, hence patients are asked to avoid or limit the ingestion of such food items. However, coconut sugar contains the fibre known as insulin, which keeps the blood sugar levels in check.
- Source of minerals and nutrients: Coconut sugar retains a lot of essential nutrients for the body since it is naturally derived from the coconut palm. This includes minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium. It also consists of some short-chain fatty acids like polyphenols and antioxidants which enrich the body with other health benefits. Although the calorie intake and carbohydrate content of white sugar and coconut sugar are almost the same just that white sugar is devoid of vital minerals.
- Natural extract: The manner in which coconut sugar is derived, proves the natural process of extraction. Unlike white sugar, it does not undergo extensive refining. Thus coconut sugar is considered a natural and healthier sweetener.
- Lower levels of fructose: Fructose is a variant of sugar which does not easily break down and eventually gets stored in the form of fat within the body. White sugar is composed of high levels of both sucrose and fructose. However, in coconut sugar, the quantity of fructose is quite low (20-25%), thus it proves to be a healthier option.
Having said all that coconut sugar can also be harmful to individuals if the amount of consumption is unchecked. So no matter which sweetener you decide to go for, it is important to always keep an eye on the calorie intake.