Coconut sugar is a very popular choice as a sugar substitute for diabetics and health conscious consumers due to it's low glycemic index (GI).
Glycemic index is a numerical system of how much a rise in circulating blood sugar a carbohydrate triggers. In other words, it tells us how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar. The higher the glycemic index number, the greater the blood sugar response. In essence, the glycemic index is about the quality of the carbohydrate in food, not the quantity.
The glycemic index of coconut sugar based on test results from the Philippines, USA, Japan and Australia is in the range of 35 to 54 GI per serving. Other sugars such as refined white sugar, muscovado sugar, and molasses have a range of 65 to 100 GI per serving! Other natural sweeteners such as date sugar has a 100 GI per serving, Maple Syrup has 69+ GI per serving and Honey has a 70+ GI per serving.
Here's a copy of the glycemic index of coco sugar from the Philippine Food and Nutrition Research Institute.
However, the Glycemic index value alone does not give accurate picture of the the food as it only takes into account the quality of the carbohydrate and not the quantity. The Glycemic Load (GL) takes into account both quality and quantity of the carbohydrate in food. Take for example a watermelon. A Watermelon has a glycemic index of 72. Judging from glycemic index alone, a watermelon will not be safe to eat. However, a serving of 120 grams of watermelon yields a glycemic load of roughly 4 and therefore is safe to eat.
As mentioned before, Glycemic Load considers the quality and quantity of carbohydrate content in food. The following table gives values for low, medium and high glycemic load for food.
|Value||Glycemic Index (GI)||Glycemic Load (GL)|
|High||70 or more||20 or higher|
|Medium||56 to 69 inclusive||11 to 19 inclusive|
|Low||55 or less||10 or less|
Source : American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Foods that have a low glycemic index have a low glycemic load while foods with an intermedaite or high glycemic index range from very low to very high glycemic load. To optimize insulin levels, your diet must consist of carbohydrates with low glycemic index and low glycemic load values and avoid foods with high GI and GL.