Is Coconut Sugar really good for you? Well the latest trends would tell you yes and I have certainly given it a whirl and if you have used my recipes you will find that I have used coconut sugar in some of them. However a little more exploration is needed not just about whether coconut sugar is good for you, but whether the production of the sugar is sustainable.
For those of us who find the whole sugar thing slightly confusing here’s a list of the commonly used sugars and a list of the ones that have become trendy in the last few years.
A list of the commonly used sugars –
Table sugar, cane sugar, – sucrose made up of 50% sucrose and 50% fructose
Muscovado, Turbinado, Demerara, brown sugar, raw sugar – the same as above only with a slightly higher mineral content
Honey – mainly fructose (38.5 percent) and glucose (31 percent). The remaining 12.9 percent of carbohydrates is made up of maltose, sucrose and other sugars.
Maple Syrup – glucose, fructose
A list of the latest trendy sugars –
Agave – 90% fructose, the rest is glucose
Stevia – steviol glocoside no fructose, no sucrose, no glucose
Xylitol – xylose that’s extracted from the core of corn cobs or birch trees, no fructose, no sucrose
Coconut Sugar – approximately 38-48 % fructose, sucrose
Sucrose leaves you empty and craving more –
Table sugar (a.k.a. sucrose) gives you none of the good stuff and heaps of the bad stuff. It will leave you feeling empty, like you haven’t eaten, but guaranteed to leave you craving for more within as little as 30 minutes. Macdonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Hungry Jacks and most other fast food outlets all base their menus around this principle. From the burgers, to the fries to the pizza’s, all of them will contain hidden sugar somewhere in order for people to become addicted to some level, which keeps people coming back day after day, meal after meal. Sugar does all sorts of things to your body but not as much as fructose according numerous research reports.
Fructose has a lot to answer for –
If you are looking into eliminating sugar all together or trying a reduced sugar diet than you need to know that fructose is the sugar that’s causing the most damage. The short blip on fructose is that it’s metabolised mainly in the liver, then converted to fatty acids, then to body fat. Here’s a great article from Sarah Wilson on the low down on fructose, and my article on Why I Quit Sugar.
So then – Is Coconut Sugar really good for you? The simple answer – No, especially if you need or want to avoid the fructose thing.
What coconut sugar is being touted for is it’s mineral and nutritional content. Unlike table sugar, coconut sugar is not an empty box of calories. It’s packed with good stuff.
Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, Nitrogen, Zinc and the list goes on. Here’s a nutritional list
But there is another question looming here and that’s one about sustainability. Recently I read this article about whether coconut palms can produce both the sugar and the coconuts and it turns out that they can’t.
When the sap used to make coconut palm sugar is collected from the coconut palm tree, from the flower bud that will eventually form a coconut, that tree can no longer produce coconuts! Think about that for a minute. No coconuts = no coconut oil, no dried coconut, no coconut flour. Is coconut sugar worth giving up these other valued products that come from the coconut?? The Truth About Coconut Palm Sugar
There are other reports, like this one, of the actual tree sustainability but there is no mention of the effect on the fruit/nut of the tree.
The bottom line on this one seems to be pretty clear. While manufacturers may be jumping with joy about the sales of coconut sugar and consumers rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of a “sugar” that might be good for eating, the prospect of it’s continuous supply looks to be limited and it’s packed with fructose. Hopefully the word will get out before the trees are drained of their nuts so we won’t run out of the valuable goods like coconut oil, dried coconut and coconut flour.
The following video is a lengthy one but gives confronting evidence of the whole sugar story.
How about you? What are your thoughts on coconut sugar? Leave a comment.