Coconut sugar is also called coconut palm sugar. It’s a natural sugar made from coconut palm sap, which is the sugary circulating fluid of the coconut plant. It is often confused with palm sugar, which is similar but made from a different type of palm tree. Coconut sugar is the dehydrated sap of the coconut palm.
Regular table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup don't contain any vital nutrients and therefore supply "empty" calories. However, coconut sugar does retain quite a bit of the nutrients found in the coconut palm.
Coconut sugar contains small amounts of minerals, antioxidants and fiber. However, its high sugar content outweighs any potential benefits.
The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels. Glucose is given a GI of 100. For comparison, foods with a GI of 50 raise blood sugar levels half as much as pure glucose. Table sugar has a GI of around 60, whereas coconut sugar has been measured with a GI of 54. However, it is important to note that GI can vary greatly between individuals and may also differ between batches of coconut sugar.
Coconut sugar is high in fructose. Evidence suggests that a high intake of fructose may promote metabolic syndrome in obese people.
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