Coconut Sugar: Good or Bad?

Coconut sugar. Is it good or bad? There’s been a lot of talk about coconut sugar lately. Some see it as a sustainable alternative to cane sugar, while others say it isn’t sustainable at all. What are we supposed to believe?

Is coconut sugar good or bad? This all natural sweetener may intact be healthier than white sugar but is it a sustainable product?

I love coconut sugar and use it often in my kitchen but it’s no miracle food and it is still… sugar. It’s just not as processed as refined sugar and has some minerals in it.

One thing that comes up a lot when we discuss this natural sweetener is whether it’s a sustainable product or not. There’s one article on the web that claims it isn’t sustainable and others that say it is. I’d like to explain both sides and leave you with the information to make up your own mind on the matter.

What Exactly Is Coconut Sugar?

At its heart, coconut sugar is a sugar made from the sap from a coconut tree. Remember when you were a kid and you learned how maple syrup comes from draining it out of a maple tree? It’s pretty much the same process!

Okay, so there’s one more step than in maple syrup. But still. This is a sweetener with a very natural process.

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Why Using Coconut Sugar May Work For You

Let’s start with some reasons why someone may consider using coconut sugar in a recipe. The good part of this natural coconut product is that it retains some great nutrients from its coconut plant origins. It has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar, so it may be a good alternative for diabetics.

A lot of people also like the fact that the process behind making coconut sugar is very simple. Not a lot of processing! However, in the pursuit of health (and coconut love) people forget that it has just as many calories as regular sugar.

Coconut sugar also has just as much fructose as regular sugar, which is just a fancy way of saying it’s still sugar in the end. It just happens to have a little extra coconutty goodness thrown in.

If you’re interested in trying coconut sugar you can find it at most health food stores or online here.

 Is coconut sugar good or bad? This all natural sweetener may intact be healthier than white sugar but is it a sustainable product?

Is Coconut Sugar Sustainable?

The real controversy around coconut sugar is whether it’s actually sustainable or not.

What does that mean?

Well, it comes down to efficiency. Coconuts that are used to make coconut sugar can sometimes no longer produce coconuts afterward. Not good!

While some may claim that there are some “studies” out there claiming that coconut palms can produce both coconut sugar and coconuts, this has traditionally NOT been the case, and we are unaware of any farms in the Philippines practicing this.

– http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/

But then again, coconut trees produce more sugar per acre of plants than regular cane sugar. It’s all about your definition of efficiency and sustainability.

When coconut trees are used to collect sap, they then become a “sap tree” and no longer are allowed to produce coconuts. The amount of trees in the Philippines used for the collection of sap is very small -less than 1% of the total coconut trees in that country. Harvesting the sap allows small farmers to make value added products that help them earn better wages. Normally, the trees that are used for sap production are already quite old (generally over 50 years old) and their production of coconuts has gone down. This is why most tapped trees for sap are very tall, which means they have to climb very high to collect the sap, but these trees are still strong and hardy.

– http://www.wildernessfamilynaturals.com/

What’s The Final Verdict?

Coconut sugar is good for meeting some needs and isn’t good at fulfilling others. It’s great for if you’re watching your overall sugar intake. But you should never forget that it’s still a type of sugar. It’s just a different kind than the white stuff in the big bag selling for 99 cents!

As for whether or not coconut sugar is sustainable, it’s up for you to decide if it fits your personal standards of sustainability. But whatever you decide, I’d love to hear your thoughts and concerns on this coconut product!

 

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About the author: Tiffany is a real food mama who lives in Oregon. She is a stay at home mom of three coconut babies. She is passionate about traditional and healing foods. As a true believer in the health benefits of coconut, she uses coconut products in almost all her cooking. Subscribe to The Coconut Mama’s Newsletter for more articles like this one.
6 comments… add one
  • BakeMyDay September 26, 2016, 11:09 pm

    For the most part, I bake with organic sugar. If I’m going to make baked goods, sugar is sugar, and it seems a quality, sustainable, affordable product is best; however, I do use coconut sugar as a fancy topping sugar on occasion (for a holiday crumble for example). I use raw, local honey on porridge and other non-baked goods, and maple syrup on the kiddos pancakes. My thinkin is, if you’re going to eat the sweet stuff, pick the best product for your application, use it sparingly, in moderation, and always purchase brands that practice responsibly.

    Reply
  • Trish July 23, 2016, 2:19 pm

    I mix it 50/50 with stevia. Then I don’t use as much and I like the flavor better than straight stevia.

    Reply
  • carmen July 23, 2016, 9:00 am

    I like coconut sugar because I do not find it addicting like table sugar. I do not use white table sugar anymore. Akso, I Do Not Have the side effects associated with white sugar. I still use it in moderation.

    Reply
  • Alexander pope July 7, 2016, 12:36 am

    Organic Coconut Sugar is a delicious, pure, unrefined alternative to processed sugar and artificial sweeteners. In addition to tasting delicious, organic coconut sugar has naturally occurring nutrients including magnesium, potassium vitamins etc.Thanks for the blog.

    Reply
  • Jamie March 4, 2016, 4:43 am

    I think I prefer my coconut trees making coconuts.

    Reply
  • Karen February 25, 2016, 8:37 am

    I was wondering which is the best coconut oil to use that does not have any coconut flavour? I live coconut but if I want to make homemade oven fries, I don’t want them to taste like coconut. The same can be said of my morning eggs etc.

    Reply

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