First it was coconut water and now it is coconut sugar. I was recently making meatballs with my friend Jacqueline and she told me that we should try using coconut sugar rather than brown sugar like the recipe called for. Her reasoning? Her friend Sam Talbot got her hooked on it. Well, as if the world wasn't already small enough! Of course I would have a friend that knows the chef who was a large reason for me starting this blog.
After cooking that evening, I went home to try to do some of my own research. I had seen this type of sugar on a few occasions but had not yet used it. I found it interesting that there was not much information at my disposal on the Internet. Looks like time will be the true judge on this debate, but here are some of the arguments in favor of coconut sugar:
While one should never consider coconut sugar to be a valuable resource for nutrients, it has been found that it does contain vitamin C, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and copper. The B vitamin inositol (chemical compound), often used as a mood booster, can also be found in coconut sugar.
Low Glycemic Impact
Here is the kicker for the whole reasoning behind this type of sweetener. Coconut sugar has a low glycemic index, meaning that it takes longer for it to raise your blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that coconut sugar has a glycemic index of about 35, making it a low-glycemic sweetener. Just to put this in perspective, the glycemic index of regular table sugar falls between 60 and 75.
The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization named coconut palm sugar the most sustainable sweetener in the world in 2014. The trees use minimal amounts of water and fuel, especially compared to sugar cane production, and produce for about 20 years. It has no artificial ingredients and is not chemically altered in any way.
The only time I've used coconut sugar was while making the simple syrup for last week's Bourbon Ginger Sour. However, after some research, I am excited to incorporate it in more of my recipes. While there is not definitive proof that coconut sugar is better than other sweeteners, there are promising signs. Only time will tell.