Coconut Sugar vs Coconut Palm Sugar
With so many different names floating around, it can be tough when you’re out shopping to ensure you buy the right products.
So, what’s the deal with coconut sugar? Is coconut palm sugar the same thing as coconut sugar? And is palm sugar different to coconut palm sugar? What about coconut nectar and coconut crystals?
Yes, I agree…it’s really annoyingly confusing. So read on to discover exactly what is what as well as which sugar is Paleo.
What’s The Difference Between Coconut Sugar and Coconut Palm Sugar
Honestly, there’s no difference. It’s just a different name! Sometimes, it’s also called coconut crystals or coconut sap or nectar. Just a simple search for coconut sugar on Amazon.com will yield all these different names!
This naming issue was made worse when coconut palm sugar became Dr Oz’s new favorite sugar. This of course prompted many manufacturers to change their name to match coconut palm sugar!
So is Palm Sugar also the same as Coconut Palm Sugar?
Unfortunately, the answer is sometimes.
Sometimes palm sugar is made from the coconut palm tree (which is what coconut palm sugar is made from…surprise surprise). By contrast, palm sugar is often made from a different type of palm tree.
However, rest assured that no matter which name it’s called by, it pretty much always tastes the same!
How Is Coconut Sugar Made?
Ok, now that we’ve established that all these names are basically the same thing, let’s see how it’s made. In case you’re tempted to skip this section, let me explain that I’m not writing this for some academic purposes – the manufacturing process is highly important to the debate of whether coconut sugar is sustainable or not.
As explained on this website, coconut tree blossoms are tapped for their sap, which supposedly will keep flowing for the next 20 years. It’s also suggested that this tapping of the coconut tree blossoms for sap is a centuries old tradition that does not harm the tree. Healthy Traditions (who sells coconut oil) however has claimed that the tapping process prevents the coconut tree from also producing coconut fruits, and this decline could lead to higher coconut oil prices. Coconut Secret (who sells coconut sugar) claims this isn’t true.
I wish I could tell you who is right, but I simply don’t know. All I see is more coconut oil and more coconut sugar filling the supermarket shelves.
Is Coconut Sugar Healthy?
If you didn’t find the sustainability of coconut sugar debate interesting, then perhaps you’ll find this section more pertinent to why you’re looking to buy coconut sugar or coconut palm sugar.
So, is coconut sugar as healthy and great for diabetics as Dr. Oz seem to claim?
Coconut sugar’s claim to be a healthier sugar lies mostly with the fact that it has a lower GI (glycemic index) than many other sugars (like cane sugar), and a low GI is supposedly a good indicator that the sugar won’t spike your blood sugar as much. It’s suggested that the low GI is due to the presence of inulin (a fiber that may slow down the absorption of sugar) in coconut sugar.
According to this study by the Department of Science and Technology in the Philippines, coconut sugar has a GI of 35, which makes it a low glycemic index food. However, the University of Sydney classifies the GI of coconut sugar as 54. No one seems to have done more testing to see who is right.
So, the glycemic index of coconut sugar may turn out to be not quite as great as people make out, but it’s still no worse than other sugars – both honey and cane sugar has a GI of around 50.
The other point in coconut sugar’s favor as being a “healthier” sugar is the fact that coconut sugar appears to have more minerals (like iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium) than many other sugars, although raw honey also contains some minerals so it’s hard to say that coconut sugar is much better.
All in all, coconut sugar is at best a tiny bit healthier than other sugars and at worst about the same as honey.
Is Coconut Sugar Paleo
Short Answer: Yes
Coconut sugar appears to be as healthy as raw honey is (which is to say – it’s as healthy as a sugar can be), but it’s still good to avoid eating it in excess. And if you have blood sugar issues, then coconut sugar (despite its supposedly low GI) could still raise your blood sugar levels in a detrimental way.
You might also want to avoid coconut sugar if you have gut issues as Sarah Ballantyne suggests that the inulin in coconut sugar could cause digestives issues in some people.
But if you want to give coconut sugar a try (it is a good Paleo sugar to use when you need a dry sugar rather than a syrup texture like honey), then you can get it on Amazon here.