made from the nectar produced from the coconut tree (coco nucifera). Once collected, it is boiled and processed into a granule.
Coconut palm Sugar is naturally low on the Glycemic Index (GI), which has benefits for weight control and improving glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2). Coconut palm sugars are rated as a GI 35. By comparison, most commercial Agaves are GI 42, Honeys are GI 55 and Cane Sugars are GI 68.
Coconut palm Sugars produce slow release energy, which sustains the human body through your daily activities without regular sugar “highs”, and “lows”.
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. (source)
Palm sugar was originally made from the sugary sap of the Palmyra palm or the date palm. Now it is also made from the sap of the sago and coconut palms and may be sold as “coconut sugar.” The sugar is a golden brown paste, sold in tubes, blocks or tin cans. It may be light-colored or dark, soft and gooey or hard. As a lightly-processed product of cottage industry, it varies greatly from batch to batch.
In Thai cuisine, palm and “coconut sugar” (nahm dtahn bpeep/buk and nahm dtahn maprao) are used interchangeably. However, it may be an important distinction that “coconut sugar” is not derived from the coconut fruit itself. “Although the names are used interchangeably, palm sugar and coconut sugar are not the same. One comes from the palmyra or sugar palm and the other from coconut palm, but both are produced from the sweet, watery sap that drips from cut flower buds.”
Coconut palm sugar is GI-35. The Philippine Food and Nutrition Research Institute used the following procedure to determine the Glycemix Index (GI) value of palm sugar:
- Fifty grams (240 ml) standard glucose tolerance test beverage (Medic Orange 50, Product no. 089) and fifty (50) grams of coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) sugar was fed in random order to ten (10) human subjects.
- Blood samples (0.3-0.4 ml) were collected after feeding through finger prick using a 7ml Vacutainer at zero (0) hour, and thereafter at every 15 min interval for 1 hour, and every 30 min or the next hour.
- The serum was separated from the blood using a refrigerated Effendorf centrifuge, and analyzed for glucose levels on the same day using a Clinical Chemistry Analyzer after calibration with the glucose standard (Glucofix Reagent1: Menarini Diagnostics, Firenze, Italy).
- The blood sugar levels of the ten (10) healthy human subjects given coconut palm sugar and reference glucose food samples were graphed against the time of study. The incremental area under the glucose response curve (IAUC) of the coconut palm sugar was calculated geometrically ignoring the area below the fasting level (Wolever et al.,1991). The Glycemic Index (GI) of the coconut palm sugar was calculated as GI = IAUC of the test food / IAUC of standard glucose multiplied by 100. It’s index value is 35. (source)