One of the most addicting food items is without a doubt sugar. From baked goods to barbecue sauce, there seems to be sugar in everything nowadays. The best way to control your sugar consumption is to make as many elements of your diet from scratch as you can. But how do you replace sugar? One natural alternative that has been generating some buzz is coconut sugar.
How Is Coconut Sugar Made?
First of all, it's important to note coconut sugar isn't produced from coconuts, but from the coconut palm tree coconuts grow on. The sap of the tree is extracted and then it is boiled and finally dehydrated to create small granules. Coconut sugar has a light brown, caramel-like color once its done processing.
Coconut Sugar vs. White Sugar
The first difference between these two sugars is the taste. Coconut sugar is more similar in taste to brown sugar, with a richer, more molasses-like taste. Second, coconut sugar has a different makeup than white sugar -- coconut sugar is nearly three quarters sucrose, with low amounts of glucose and fructose. Sucrose is a simple carbohydrate that naturally occurs within foods and is preferable to fructose. The third, and perhaps most exciting difference between processed, white sugar and coconut sugar is the nutrient makeup. Coconut sugar provides minerals like zinc, iron and magnesium that support circulation, bone health and the immune system (although we wouldn't recommend adding more coconut sugar to your diet to get these benefits). Lastly, coconut sugar contains a type of fiber known as inulin, which helps keep the probiotics (good bacteria) in your gut thriving, because it cannot be broken down by the digestive system.
Using Coconut Sugar
Interested in making the switch? Coconut sugar is a convenient substitute because it can be used on a 1:1 ratio with white, or cane, sugar. That means you don't have to adjust any of your recipes that currently call for white sugar. When shopping for coconut sugar, look for an organic, non-GMO product that doesn't have any cane sugar added in. Purity is the key to make sure you're getting all coconut sugar of the the best quality.
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