Coconut sugar is not new. In fact, it has been around and has been used as a traditional sweetener for generations in South East Asian countries. The coconut tree is a tropical plant and does not suit North American weather. In the tropics however, it is abundant. Coconut sugar is still in use today as a sweetener in those regions. It has been just recently introduced in the western world so not a whole of studies have been made about it here in the US (at least not yet). However, in countries where they use coconut sugar the most, they have made studies and found that it is an excellent sugar substitute.
On September 7, 2010, the Philippine News Agency, an official agency under the Presidential Communications Office, released an article about the safety of coconut sugar. Here's an excerpt from the article:
LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 7 (PNA) – Diabetics need not worry anymore about their sugar intake as the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has found out that natural sugar from coconut sap may be taken as their daily sweetener.
A study recently conducted by FNRI-DOST researchers shows that coconut sap sugar does not increase blood sugar glucose levels which is instead slowly released into the blood stream to maintain the gyycemic index (GI) level of a person, even those who are diabetics.
GI is the ranking of carbohydrate foods according to their glucose response relative to a standard glucose solution, according to Dr. Mario Capanzana, the FNRI director in an e-mailed statement received here Tuesday.
Carbohydrate foods that break down quickly during digestion have the highest GI value while foods that break down slowly, release glucose gradually into the bloodstream, have a low GI value. Foods that have GI of 70 or greater are classified as high GI; 56-69 medium GI; while 0-55 low GI, Capanzana said.
According to DOST scientist Dr. Trinidad Trinidad, coconut sugar has a GI of 35 +5. However, effect of harvest time and different process procedures may result in different GI of coconut sugar. GI value of coconut sugar is less than 55. Researchers classify coconut sugar as low GI food.
The FNRI study on GI of coconut sap sugar used 10 healthy, non-diabetic males and females whose blood samples were collected before and after eating the coco sugar, every 15 minutes for the first hour and every 30 minutes for the second hour.
Trinidad said the blood glucose of the collected samples was analyzed using a clinical chemistry analyzer and the good news came out: diabetic persons can go ahead with their sweets provided coconut sugar is used as its sweetener.....
If you would like to know where to get coconut sugar, you can buy them online or you can check your local Asian grocery store and see if they carry it.