Coconut palm trees are an ecologically beneficial tree crop that grows in diverse, wildlife supportive agro-‐ecosystems that restore damaged soils and require very little water.
Coconut palms produce an average of 50-‐75% more sugar per acre than sugar cane and use less than 1/5th the soil nutrients and water for that production. Once a coconut tree is tapped, the sap will flow continuously for several decades.
Compare that with sugar cane harvesting, which involve pre‐harvest sugarcane field burning to remove sugarcane straw (the plant’s tops and leaves), drive away snakes and other potentially poisonous animals, and make it easier for workers to cut the cane by hand. Not to mention the burning of the sugarcane fiber left over after juice extraction.
The 2 key characteristics that help coconut sugar stand out as the best alternative sweetener in the market is its low glycemic index (GI) of 35 and the fact that much of the minerals, vitamins, and amino acids found naturally in the sap are kept intact because of the minimal processing involved.
Recent scientific evidence have shown that individuals who followed a low GI diet over many years were at a significantly lower risk for developing both type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease than others.
Some of the key minerals, vitamins, and amino acids found in coconut sugar include:
Glutamic Acid -‐ important in the metabolism of sugars and fats, and aids in the transportation of potassium into the spinal fluid and across blood-‐brain barrier.
Inositol -‐ a B-‐vitamin that has been linked as a possible contributor in the prevention of prostate cancer.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) -‐ needed to process carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Assists in blood formation, carbohydrate metabolism, and the production of hydrochloric acid, which is important for proper digestion.
PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid) -‐ An anti‐oxidant which helps in the formation of red blood cells and aids in the maintenance of healthy intestinal flora.
Potassium – necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work normally.
Ironically, some studies have shown that consumers taking artificial sweeteners to lose or manage their weight actually wind up gaining weight. The rationale behind this is that when you eat something that’s sweet, you actually trick your body into believing that there are calories coming. However, when they don’t come, you still feel hungry despite the fact that you’ve already taken in calories and as a result, may lead to overeating and, ultimately, gain weight.
Stevia is a low-calorie sweetener being marketed as a safer, natural alternative to artificial sweeteners because the sweetness is extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant. However, there have been reported side effects by some users of dizziness, muscle pains, numbness, nausea, gas and bloating after ingesting stevia and some users have also commented about detecting a bitter aftertaste using it. The fact of the matter is that there is still unresolved controversy surrounding the use of stevia, such as being potentially cancer-causing and having contraceptive effects, and not enough studies on its long-term effect on human health.
No, muscovado is made from sugar cane, whereas coconut sugar is produced from coconut sap. While muscovado is not as refined as white sugar, it still has a similar glycemic index and does not offer any nutritional value, unlike coconut sugar which is rich in potassium, B vitamins, and contains 16 of 20 primary amino acids.