Coconut is very well known as a “Tree of Life” for its has many functions from roots to leaves. It provides nutritious foods from its meat and juice. It is also highly nutritious in fiber, vitamins and minerals. One of its alternative product is coconut sugar.
For how many years, coconut sugar has been used as a traditional sweeter that derived from natural ingredients. Coco sugar is a naturally processed sugar called toddy that comes from coco palm or sap, which is a fluid containing mineral salt and sugar that circulates through the tissues of plants. Each coconut tree can yield 1-3 liters per day.
Coco sugar comes in a crystal or granule form, block of liquid after it is boiled under the moderate heat. Its taste and flavor is more likely to brown sugar but with a slightly taste of a caramel. However, since the coconut sugar is naturally processed or not highly processed, the color, taste, and the sweetness will depends on its species likewise where it was harvested.
The Department of Agriculture, Philippine Coconut Authority reported that Glycemic Index (GI) of coconut sugar is measured to be 35 and classified as low in glycemic index food. Glycemic Index is the classification of food based on the blood glucose response of a food relative to a starchy food or also known as glucose solution, white bread for instance.
Moreover, it is an alternative sugar for a synthetic sugar; so a promising sugar for Diabetes. It contain Inulin which slows glucose absorption though it has less moisture compared to synthetic sugar. It has a lot of benefits like:
1. Helps treat high blood pressure.
2. Relieve the pressure of diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity.
3. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
. 4. Provide amino acid and minerals.
5. All natural that has a same quantity of white sugar.
6. It contain low glycemic index.
However, sugar in a broad sense is unhealthy for it has fructose. Fructose is an extremely sweet sugar occurring mostly in honey and fruits (Websters Dictionary, 4th Edition).
Too much eating of sugar can cause metabolic syndromes, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. some research study states that they did not believe that coconut sugar is a better substitute for synthetic sugar that until now researchers still studying about it. Therefore, coco sugar is slightly less bad that regular sugar.
According to Business Diary, coconut sugar should do these steps:
a) Boil coconut sap to evaporate the water under moderate heat with occasional stirring until sap thickens at 115o
b) Remove from the flame when it begins to become very sticky.
c) Continue mixing until it becomes granular.
d) Air dry the brown sugar before packing. The pH of coconut sap should be at a level greater than or equal to 6 to ensure successful production of granulated coconut sugar.
One kg of coconut sap sugar can be derived from 2 gallons or 7-8 liters of sweet fresh coconut sap. Coconut sugar is mostly used for cooking desserts and curries and some for raw material of food industries (e.g., confectionery).