what’s the deal with coconut sugar?

OK. Still on the hunt for fructose-free sugar substitutes. Jo and I came across coconut sugar this week – a health food shop here in Byron had a bunch of very wholesome treats using coconut sugar. I reckon you’ll start seeing it everywhere. A few of the health food companies are starting to market it.

Picture 2Via David Anderson/Glenn Allsop 2011

I asked the chick behind the counter about it. She said it was evaporated coconut water. Which would make it fructose-free. Hoorah!

But, alas, I got home and discovered the truth.

It’s pretty much palm sugar…the stuff they use in Asian cooking…. made by making several slits into the bud of a coconut tree (instead of a palm tree) and collecting the sap. Then, the sap is boiled until it thickens and solidifies.

There are some positives:

But. The fructose deal?

As you know, we’re interested in the fructose content – it’s the dangerous, fattening bit of sugar. Everyone gets excited about agave, which I’ve written about before. Agave is 90% fructose. You can read more about the fructose situation here.

So this is what the manufacturers of coconut sugar are saying:

The major component of coconut sugar is sucrose (70-79%) followed by glucose and fructose (3-9%) each.  Minor variations will occur, due to differences in primary processing, raw material source, tree age and variety of coconut.

Good, yes? No! This is very tricky wording. Because sucrose – or just plain table sugar to you and me – is half fructose! So in effect coconut sugar’s between 38% and 48.5% fructose (I did the maths just now). Which…is about the same as sugar and honey.

Back to square one…Thought I’d just share….

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