Coconut Palm Sugar

Coconut palm sugar is a sugar substitute that seems to be gaining popularity in the market. It is made from sap that is extracted from the coconut tree. The taste of pure coconut palm sugar is similar to brown sugar. For cooking purposes, it has a very low melt temperature and an extremely high burn temperature so it can be used baked products in place of sugar.

Manufacturers of coconut palm sugar boast its low glycemic index, claiming it is a better choice for people with diabetes than regular sugar. Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how a food raises blood glucose (or blood sugar) compared to a reference food (usually glucose or white bread). In the United States, we do not do official GI testing. So, GI numbers for the same food can differ depending on your source.

GI can also vary from person to person. It will change depending on how a food is cooked, and what the food is eaten with. In the case of coconut palm sugar, it is likely to be mixed or prepared with other ingredients that contain carbohydrates.

It is okay for people with diabetes to use coconut palm sugar as a sweetener, but they should not treat it any differently than regular sugar. It provides just as many calories and carbohydrates as regular sugar: about 15 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrate per teaspoon. So, you still need to account for it when planning meals.

Also, note that some coconut palm sugar on the market may be mixed with cane sugar and other ingredients. It is important to check nutrition labels and read the ingredient list on these products.

Articles from Diabetes Forecast® magazine:

Diabetes Forecast