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Coconut palm sugar

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  • Coconut palm sugar

    Hi all--

    In my neverending quest to figure out how in the heck to sweeten my coffee in the morning, I came across info about this new natural sweetener, coconut palm sugar. Supposedly, it tastes good, it can be bought fair-trade and organic, it's nutritious and it's low-glycemic (35, even lower than agave nectar). And it's made from our beloved coconut! This sounds too good to be true. Has anyone here tried it? Or even seen it in a store, for that matter?

  • #2

    Sure, you can get it at any decent Asian food store. Hard chunks, often the size of a small bowl, just like what it was evaporated out of.

    It's not made from coconuts, that's misnomer.

    AFAIK it's sucrose. Just like table sugar. If, perchance it is higher fructose, well, that's even worse.

    No magic, no magic bullet, so sorry to inform you.

    And, of course, the fount of all knowledge:


    • #3

      I think I found a different version of's granulated, not cakes. According to this site,

      it's only 3 to 9% fructose. Apparently it's made from the coconut palm blossom. If it's low-glycemic and high in nutrients, it's gotta be better than the stuff I've been using (sucanat).


      • #4

        OTB, coconut sugar and palm sugar are different. Palm sugar is made from the Palmyra palm. It was pretty common up until my grandparents generation back in India. Ofcourse, it was soon replaced by the more "sophisticated and western" refined sugar. Here's a blog post on coconut sugar:


        • #5

          Exactly the same (from the flowers) but different (different species.) Coconut sugar does not come from the coconut nut.

          From your link: “The composition of coconut sugar (also known as gula kelapa, jaggery or gur) obtained from three locations in Indonesia was determined using HPLC. Sucrose was the major component of all samples (70-79%) followed by glucose and fructose )3-9% each). Minor variations in sugar content between samples were observed, probably due to differences in processing, raw material quality and variety of coconut (Pumomo, 1992).” Source

          So, as I said, sucrose. If it has a lower GI, it would be due to complex carbohydrates.

          Again, no magic here. Plenty of fructose, via sucrose, just like brown sugar. Hmmmm....which is probably amazingly similar.


          • #6


            Great points.

            I'm weary of all "natural" sweeteners which contain calories and are low GI.

            Low GI (in the context of a sweetener) usually means high levels of fructose.

            The reason why it doesn't spike your insulin is because fructose goes straight to your liver, and turns into fat (lots of bad fat.)

            Glucose on the other hand actually can be used by your body and therefore gets into your bloodstream and thus has a measurable insulin response.

            It's kind of "trickery" when a sweetener has a low GI.

            Personally I'd rather a higher GI with less fructose. (The lesser of the two evils in my opinion.)




            • #7

              What's interesting, Sean, is if you look at the numbers quoted, there isn't much independent fructose, which would be needed for a low GI.

              I've used palm sugar in the past, it just seemed like a neat, natural thing to do. Since I don't use much sugar and haven't for years, I added it to my homemade pico gallo salsa.

              Forgetting for a moment about using sugar, adding it to pico AND vinegar to make a sweet-sour base means that you cannot stop eating it!


              • #8


                Interesting about the low levels of independent fructose.

                I missed that.

                It's sucrose (50/50) fructose/glucose

                And then about equal parts glucose and fructose independently.

                So maybe it's what it's bound up in.

                It looks kind of "waxy" or something. Which may slow the absorption.

                But would probably still not be any better than sugar for all intents and purposes.

                It is interesting though...




                • #9

                  The stuff I've bought is hard as hard can be. Maybe "the binder", if there is such a thing, is what slows the absorption. Sort of like fruit does? And it does come from a pre-fruit, a flower. So maybe....

                  Regardless, it's sucrose. If I really, really want a sugar molecule (like for BBQ sauces for caramelization) I used either a glucose based sweetener like Alagar or brown rice syrup. The latter is mostly maltose, a very slow to digest sugar.


                  • #10

                    Brown rice syrup eh?

                    Interesting, I may have to check that out.

                    Is it very sweet though?

                    My guess is no...




                    • #11

                      No, it's not because maltose isn't. On a price per unit of sweetness, it's expensive. But if you hardly ever use it, fine with me. About half of the calories are non-sugar complex carbs. So, the whole thing has a real low GI and GL. Good for the long haul, I would guess if one was cardio-ing.


                      • #12

                        Pellegrina - I'm not sure what the answer is to sweetening your morning coffee. If you find a satisfactory one, let me know! I think I've looked at coconut sugar before and after reading the nutrition label put it back because, in it's basic form, it's sugar.

                        Lately I've been using plain ol' honey. Sugar, yes. Natural, yes. Oi, the conundrum! But I just use a little bit and hope the splurge won't derail me. If you add a little cinnimon and cream in with it...mahvelous!


                        • #13

                          I am producing 100% organic – natural palm sugar in the form of grain sugar; in Indonesia.
                          There are four types (in color) of palm sugar:
                          · Brown
                          · Light Brown
                          · Blonde
                          · Nearly White (cane sugar/refined sugar like color)

                          Nearly white type exception: the taste and aroma is different than the other three, taste almost like a refined sugar would taste.

                          If you are interested with our product, please do contact me.



                          • #14
                            I bought some blonde granulated coconut palm sugar, sweet tree brand. It has a pleasant mild brown sugar flavor. I've only used it to make custard (duck eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla), and it seemed very sweet. I will use less next time. So I'm counting it as a better version of sugar, for those occasional times when I want to use a little sugar.
                            age 56, type 2 diabetes, swimmer
                            low carb since 2006 thanks to Jenny, primal since Jan. 2012


                            • #15
                              Sugar is sugar. Stop trying to rationalize it.

                              Use Stevia.