Is Coconut Sugar Good For Diabetics?
In case you were wondering is coconut sugar good for diabetics we have an answer for you. Although it has a low glycemic index, the American Diabetes Association recommends treating it the same way you would conventional sugar because it has the same number of calories and carbohydrates. But let's analyze it deeper and understand when can you actually use it as a person with diabetes.
What is coconut sugar?
This sugar is obtained by squeezing the juice from the stalk of the coconut flower bud, from which the sugar is extracted. It is also known as coconut sugar, coconut juice sugar, and even coconut blossom sugar. There are other types of palm sugar, but they are obtained from the palm itself, such as the Kitul palm, the Palmyra palm, the date palm, the sago palm, etc.
In many countries, coconut sugar is used as a sweetener because it is assumed that it has no significant nutritional or health value, which is the case with all types of sweeteners. But, considering that additional sugars can even have a harmful effect, many have decided as a person with diabetes to turn to natural sugar substitutes. That is why coconut sugar has recently become very popular among sweeteners. Coconut sugar may be more nutritious and also contains a lower glycemic index than others.
To get coconut sugar you need to go through two stages:
- The first phase is to make an incision on the coconut palm flower from which the liquid juice will be collected. Such juice flows into special containers.
- The second phase is to leave such juice on the heat until most of the water evaporates.
The product we get at the end of this process is brown in color and in the form of granules. Its color is similar to that of raw sugar, but the particles are much smaller. Extra sugars are considered quite harmful and unhealthy because they greatly affect the rise in blood sugar. The amount of nutrients it has is reduced, so it is considered that such sugar does not provide vitamins and minerals needed for the body.
In addition, the high content of fructose is another reason why sweeteners are harmful to people with diabetes. We even have a divided opinion because many scientists believe that fructose levels can be a serious problem for people in good health, but that it can help people who are struggling with obesity because it promotes metabolic syndrome.
The data says that the usual sugar we consume (sucrose) is rich in 50% fructose and 50% glucose, and high-fructose corn syrup contains about 55% fructose and 45% glucose. That is why the claims that coconut sugar without fructose is unfounded because it contains 70-80% sucrose, which is half fructose.
How does it compare to other sugars, like white and brown?
It is very important to distinguish between coconut sugar and brown sugar as both are in great use when it comes to making food and they are very similar. It is almost impossible to find a difference between them when we look at them visually.
However, there is a difference, and it is reflected in the composition itself. Coconut sugar is made from the juices of palm flowers, while brown sugar is obtained from sugar cane or sugar beet, in the same way, that we get the usual white sugar. In addition, these two sugars, although seemingly similar, have other differences. They are primarily made from different plants, they are similar in taste and nutritional profile, but you should know that coconut sugar is sometimes slightly processed, which is not the case with white sugar, which is why its rate as unhealthy foods is high especially for people with diabetes.
It is believed that almost all "brown" products are healthier than "white" products, so it is important to know that many brown sugars are actually just colored white sugar. Brown sugar is obtained and processed in the same way as white, so the process is the same. That is why coconut sugar has risen above other brown products because its origin is different. It is less refined, which means that coconut sugar contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other healthy and nutritious plant materials.
Brown sugar does not have that, so it is "healthy" as much as white sugar. Yet both brown sugar and coconut sugar have exactly the same basic nutrition value and effect on people with diabetes. Both sugars contain large amounts of minerals, which of course is not desirable for consumption with any type of sugar.
It has become popular recently due to the glycemic index (GI) and that is the biggest difference in diet. Coconut palm sugar has a GI of 35 while brown sugar has a GI of 64, so we conclude that consuming the same amounts of sugar will significantly reduce the reaction of our metabolic system when it comes to coconut palm sugar, and it will better maintain glucose levels for people with diabetes.
Can coconut sugar cause diabetes or increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?
In the situation with people with diabetes, their body either does not produce enough insulin or does not use it properly. It is important because it helps the body use sugar or glucose to create the necessary energy. If insulin does not work properly, sugar does not enter the cells for further use but remains in the blood or bloodstream.
When this happens, the glucose level can become too high and as such becomes harmful to the body. The consequences of this condition are excessive thirst, more frequent urination, fatigue, which can lead to a severe condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). If this continues, then your system can be damaged. To control glucose levels, many people who have problems with type 1 and even type 2 diabetes use extra insulin.
In this case, a person who uses extra insulin must know the exact medical dose personally prescribed by the doctor. If they do not adhere to it and eat more sugar, it can very easily lead to an increase in blood glucose and a condition such as DKA. That is why people with type 2 diabetes lead a proper diet and use the right routine that can help them manage diabetes more precisely. It is common for them to use extra insulin and even certain sugar-lowering drugs prescribed by a medical professional.
People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes must always control their sugar in order to avoid fatal consequences and maintain optimal health. That is why coconut sugar should be treated like other sugars, it should always be used properly in the diet, choose foods with good nutrition labels, because it is common for coconut sugar to be processed and contain traces of cane sugar. We have said before that the taste of coconut sugar is similar to brown sugar, but it is also similar to the taste of caramel. People with diabetes should use it minimally because it contains natural chromium, which is very important in maintaining glucose balance. Due to its low GI, energy is easily used and there are no energy drops, so it is very gladly used by athletes but also by all those who take care of nutrition and health.
If people have high blood sugar levels it is not a sign that one could get diabetes but if it is not addressed the consequences can lead to it. It is desirable that the "prediabetes" condition is recognized and detected in time in order to take adequate measures to prevent diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a term for an increase in blood sugar that is not normal and is not common.
Is coconut sugar safe for people with diabetes?
Coconut sugar as a good substitute
An important item of coconut sugar is its low glycemic index level. People with diabetes should pay special attention to GI when eating. This is value is presenting the degree of concentration of sugar in the blood. When food is taken, blood glucose gradually increases. As food is digested, sugar is released directly into the bloodstream and it is this GI that shows that concentration. That is why diabetics should monitor the GI often.
Coconut sugar has been shown to have a naturally low GI, unlike other commercial sugars. If we detect an increase in sugar level in time, we prevent permanent consequences and diseases. We prevent various diseases of the heart and blood vessels. In addition, we take care of weight and level of cholesterol.
However, when using any type of sweetener, diabetics must know that they can consume it if they have already reached an agreement with their doctor, and this also applies to consuming coconut sugar, no matter how good a recommendation it may be. Always seek the advice of a medical professional.
Does it have any health benefits?
Although coconut sugar may provide certain health benefits, it should always be borne in mind that it still belongs to the category of sugars. As such, it is not rich in nutrients, it is high in calories so if you use it the level of your blood glucose should be checked regularly. In order to get the energy that the body needs, the body uses sugar for that. Consuming any sugar helps raise the level of glucose and thus prevents the occurrence of low blood sugar or the occurrence of hypoglycemia.
If this happens, then there is increased hunger, shivering, sweating, dizziness, and even nausea. This is a sign that you need sugar and that is why it is best to choose natural sugar, plant-based sugar, which makes coconut sugar ideal. Coconut sugar contains a small amount of insulin, a type of soluble fiber that can cause a small jump in blood sugar when consumed. That's why foods that contain insulin are good for people with diabetes.
What are some healthier recipes that include coconut sugar as an ingredient?
If coconut sugar is used to prepare cakes or other dishes, it is important to know that 100 grams of this sugar replace 100 grams of white or brown sugar. There are a variety of sweet and savory dishes that can be prepared using coconut sugar, such as grilled chicken, grilled ribs, various types of sweet bread (banana bread), types of salads, and a really wide range of sweets.
Coconut sugar can be used as a substitute for plain white sugar. The fact that it tastes similar to white or brown sugar does not significantly change the taste of dishes prepared with it. Coconut sugar is even added in various juices, cold and hot drinks, cereals. If one wants to soften a spicy dish then coconut sugar is the right choice.
At the very end, we would like to mention that moderation is key in the use of any type of sweetener, including coconut sugar itself.