The Demand for this Natural Sweetener Could be at the Expense of this Healthy Fat
With all the dangers associated with refined regular sugar – the sweet poison – could it be that there is is another type of sugar that can be used (in moderation of course) that can actually be beneficial?
Coconut sugar is similar in texture and taste to brown sugar but that is where the similarity ends.
Coconut sugar has a surprising number of health benefits
- A low glycemic index or GI - low glycemic index foods can help balance and control health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.
- Is rich in amino acids. This sugar is especially high in the amino acids glutamic acid, which makes glutamine, threonine, aspartic acid and serine. Glutamine is very important for metabolic function.
- Is high in the vitamin Inositol.
- Has a massive 12 of the B vitamins.
- Gives protection against hypoglycemia.
- Promotes muscle and bone growth.
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Is rich in essential nutrients and minerals. Because the body cannot produce minerals, it is imperative that you find them through food sources. Minerals are also necessary for vitamins to work efficiently in the body.
- Works as an immune system booster.
- Helps to regulate enzymes.
- Promotes cell production.
- Promotes mental development.
- Reduces the risk of gallbladder disease and breast cancer.
- Helps balance and control diabetes as well as high cholesterol and obesity
How is coconut sugar produced?
Coconut sugar is made from the sugar blossoms of fresh coconuts found in the tropics. It is harvested by slicing the bud of the coconut tree flower to release the sap or coconut nectar. This nectar is then boiled into a thick caramel and dried into crystals. Nothing is removed during this process.
Conflict in the tropics
This is all great news as a safer, more natural alternative to sugar and to chemical artificial sweeteners but there is one big problem.
At the moment, coconut palm sugar is not a sustainable industry. There is a high consumer demand for coconut palm sugar as well as for coconut oil and other coconut products.
But producers have to choose between...
(a) the sugar as their product from the flowers or
(b) those products from the coconuts themselves.
They cannot have both. Once the flowers have been harvested, there will be no coconuts. So you can see the difficult situation here.
The Philippine Coconut Authority in the Philippines has recommended planting the dwarf breeds of coconut trees (that are shorter and can grow faster) specifically for coconut sugar production but this will of course take some years and in the meantime, with present demands, coconuts could soon be so scarce and the price of coconut oil so high that very few will be able to afford it.
A decision to be made
At the end of the day, coconut oil is more important to us and to our health than coconut sugar and we should actually be discouraging "the trend" to coconut sugar in spite of the reason why the coconut palm sugar is so nutritious. Unfortunately, it feeds the coconut flower that grows into a wonderful coconut.
Also be aware that most of the “palm sugar” commonly sold in Asian markets is not pure coconut palm sugar but is blended with other fillers such as white cane sugar.
Pure certified organic coconut palm sugar is sold under the brand name Sweet Tree in the USA, and can be found at some natural food stores.
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