A Complete Guide to Artificial Sweeteners

by Jackie Wicks

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is primarily sucrose. Sucrose is the sugar most commonly referred to as “table sugar”, and is formed of a glucose unit bonded to a fructose unit. Thus, like table sugar, coconut sugar is roughly 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Unlike table sugar, however, coconut sugar is far less refined and retains some additional benefits.

Coconut sugar is considered low-glycemic, despite its sugar content. There isn’t a lot of research to suggest why coconut sugar affects our blood sugar differently than honey or cane sugar, but it consistently rates on a scale of 35-55. This is compared to table sugar which has a GI of 60.

Coconut sugar also retains some vitamins and minerals, although it’s unlikely to contribute significant amounts. There are much better foods out there to get your daily nutrients from!

It should also be noted that coconut sugar is less sweet than regular table sugar. If you add extra sugar to make up for the sweetness, you will find that much of the benefit erodes away under the higher glycemic LOAD of the amount you are consuming.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that coconut sugar is still added sugar, and should be used sparingly. If you rarely consume added sugar, perhaps only stirring a teaspoon-full into your tea every now and again, then coconut sugar may be a better choice. If you’re eating multiple teaspoons daily, however, it will still take its toll on your health, low-glycemic index or not.

Final Overview of All Sugar

It’s easy to get caught up in whether this sugar is good or bad due to the content of each saccharide, whether it be glucose, fructose, maltose, sucrose, or maltotriose. In the end, it really doesn’t matter much to your body–sugar is sugar, and unless you have an energetic use for those calories you are consuming, they will be stored, regardless of what form you take them in as.

If you are in a particular situation, such as an athletic event, one form of sugar may end up giving you an advantage over another one, but in the majority of situations, added sugar offers no benefit, no matter what form it comes in, only unnecessary calories. Sugar also diminishes our sensitivity to other, more complex flavors, the same as salt, which can lead to decreased appreciation for food which does actually offer health benefits. In small amounts, every now and then, refined sugar can be an okay treat, but it really should not have a daily place in your diet.

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