One of my resolution for this year is to eat less sugar, especially refined white sugar. There are few sugar substitute out there, Stevia being one of the popular choices. As it has no calories and is derived from a plant. But it’s that strange bitter after taste from Stevia that makes me not like it so much.
Artificial sugar is something I try to avoid for many reason. But now there is another sugar alternative, and it has gained some attention in the U.S. market. It is coconut sugar - a type of sugar commonly used in SE Asian cooking.
I like that Madhava’s coconut sugar is sustainably grown and harvested. Here’s what they mentioned from their website, “The coconut palm tree produces 50% to 75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar - and it only uses 20% of the resources.”
How exactly is coconut sugar harvested? Coconut sugar is harvested from the sweet sap from the flowering stem at the top of the coconut tree. Once collected, the sap is set to simmer slighted until it becomes sugar crystals. Once the crystals start to form, it’s removed form the heat and continues to crystallize. Sounds like a simpler process compared to refined sugar.
Wilderness Family Naturals, located in Minnesota, also sells coconut sugar online. They get their coconut sugar from the Philippines. WFN mentioned that their coconut sap is harvested from older trees found near homes and villages. The villagers also benefit from the extra income provided by the sap.
WFN also adds that the idea of tapping sweet sap from these village coconut trees helps prevent coconut from falling off the trees. Having a falling coconut hit a person on the head can be harmful and deadly.
I really like coconut sugar and will continue to eat it. I’ve since added coconut sugar to coffee and it’s makes for a great cup!
Dr. Oz also mentions, “Switching from regular sugar to coconut palm sugar could prevent the blood sugar crashes that make you hungry and then cause you to gain weight.” Dr. Oz’s sugar is coconut & palm blend sugar, which I’ve seen sold at many Asian grocery stores.
And the best part is that coconut sugar has naturally occurring nutrients including magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and amino acids. Of course it’s not an excuse to overload yourself on this sweet stuff.
Botanical coconut sketch from Wikipedia.