Coconut sugar has now been around for a while and many substitute it for white sugar (which should be avoided at all costs!). But I often get asked on Instagram what sweetener I prefer and if coconut sugar is better….well let’s compare how both are made.
How Is Coconut Sugar Made?
Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut tree (not from coconuts as many think.) The sap is boiled over moderate heat to evaporate most of its water content. The final product is coconut sugar.
How is natural cane sugar made?
Natural cane sugar is made from sugarcane, a tropical plant. The plant is flattened under large rollers, which squeezes out all of the natural cane sugar juice used to form the sugar. This juice must then be filtered through evaporation in order to be purified. By evaporating the juice, the syrup becomes clear of dirt, soil, and other impurities. The syrup is then boiled to form sugar crystals. The sugar crystals harden and form into large mountains. These sugar crystals are then stored and refined as needed before being shipped to their final destinations.
NOTE: To make white sugar, sulfur dioxide is added to cane juice before it gets evaporated. This gas does the bleaching of the juice so that it does not turn brown and produces white sugar. Next, phosphoric acid, calcium hydroxide or carbon dioxide is added. It’s then crystallize and refined to resemble the white dust we are used to seeing. This type of white table sugar should be avoided!
Calories and Carbs
When it comes to calories and carbohydrate content, there’s no difference between coconut sugar and raw cane sugar. I typically don’t focus on this, however I wanted to point out that they are both are pretty much identical for those thinking one is less than the other.
Good for the Gut
According to this analysis of coconut palm sap, coconut sugar contains some inulin, whereas raw cane sugar does not. Inulin is a type of prebiotic that has the ability to stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Illulin is also known to slow glucose absorption and low in the glycemic index.
Though coconut sugar contains trace amounts of minerals and does contain traits that raw cane sugar doesn’t, you would have to consume quite a lot of it to reap the benefits it contains. In addition, raw cane sugar (note, this is not the same as refined white sugar which is highly processed and bleached) is processed the same as coconut sugar mentioned above, and comes from a plant just like coconut sugar. I personally don’t put raw cane sugar on the “naughty list” since it’s pretty much the same as coconut sugar. Fact is, there are many other natural foods such as dates (for example) which contain higher amounts of sugar. Even peas contain sugar. Does that mean we shouldn’t eat them? Of course not! Everything in moderation as long as it’s natural, clean, and REAL food. In fact, our body needs sugars as they are lost every day through sweat.
This post was written to bring to light that raw cane sugar is not any less than coconut sugar, and if you see it listed as an ingredient don’t run for the hills. I’d much rather eat that than artificial sweeteners and even stevia. (see THIS POST why I don’t consume stevia) And if I had to choose just one sweetener, raw, unfiltered honey would be it! Not only does it contains loads of benefits (read HERE) but it literally is harvested from the hives and totally unprocessed (filtered to get all the bee part out of the honey – I know this from experience since we have bee hives in our backyard).