If you have diabetes, you are probably used to limiting your intake of added sugar. Many people with diabetes may have the impression that all-natural sweeteners are healthier than highly processed sugar substitutes. Coconut sugar is one of the most popular natural sugars used.
Coconut sugar, sometimes called coconut palm sugar, is made using the sap of the flower of the coconut tree.
Many coconut sugar manufacturers proudly state the ranking of coconut sugar on the Glycemic Index (GI). The average GI rating of coconut sugar varies from source to source. Regular table sugar has an average rating of 58, while coconut sugar has a GI as low as 35 and as high as 54.
A food’s GI rating is a measure of how much that food can raise your body’s glucose or blood sugar. On most scales, coconut sugar has a slightly lower GI rating. Anything below 55 is considered low on average.
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Coconut sugar retains many of the nutrients found in the coconut palm – mostly iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium. These nutrients can support the body in many ways, but coconut sugar does not contain enough of them to provide measurable benefits. Coconut sugar also contains the soluble fiber inulin, which is associated with a reduced risk of blood sugar spikes.
One teaspoon of coconut sugar contains:
- 18 calories
- 0 grams fat
- 0 grams protein
- 0 grams fiber
- 5 grams carbohydrates
- 5 grams sugar
What is the Glycemic Index?
The glycemic index (GI) is a value used to measure how much a particular food raises blood sugar levels.
Foods are categorized as low, medium, or high glycemic foods and are ranked on a scale of 0-100. The lower the GI of a specific food, the less it can affect your blood sugar levels.
Here are three GI ratings:
Low: 55 or less
High: 70 or above
While foods high in refined carbs and sugar are digested more quickly and often have a higher GI, foods high in protein, fat or fiber usually have a low GI. Foods that do not contain carbs are not assigned a GI and include meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and oils.
Other factors that affect a food’s GI include ripeness, method of cooking, the type of sugar it contains, and the amount of processing it takes.
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Why is a low GI good/important?
The glycemic index (GI) ranks foods according to how quickly they raise blood sugar levelson a scale of 0 to 100.High GI foods cause blood sugar spikes.Foods with a low GI take longer for the body to digest, which leads to a more balanced blood sugar level. A low-glycemic diet can help you control your weight by reducing spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels. This is especially important if you have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of developing it. A low-glycemic diet has also been linked to a lower risk for cancer, heart disease, and other conditions.