Is Coconut Palm Sugar A Healthy Sugar Substitute?

by | Mar 12, 2012

Photo by Robyn’s Nest

Artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes can be very appealing to people looking to cut their calories or control blood sugar, and I get a lot of questions about them. Generally I don’t recommend processed or sweetened foods and encourage people to break free from regular sugar consumption, but I recently discovered coconut palm sugar and decided to look into it.

Coconut palm sugar has garnered attention as being a low-carb sugar substitute that is more nutritious than typical granulated sugar. Because of its complex flavor it is also gaining a reputation in foodie communities, with establishments like the popular Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco switching 100% of its sweeteners over to coconut palm sugar.

Pure coconut palm sugar is a natural product made from the nectar of the coconut palm tree. There are several different varieties of palm (Palmyra, date, etc.), and “coconut palm” specifically refers to the coco nucifera plant.

Most of the “palm sugar” commonly sold in Asian markets is not pure coconut palm sugar but is blended with other fillers such as white cane sugar. Pure certified organic coconut palm sugar is sold under the brand name Sweet Tree in the US, and can be found at some natural food stores.

The information in this article applies only to 100% pure coconut palm sugar. Check your labels carefully.

Pure coconut palm sugar reportedly has a naturally low glycemic index (GI)–a measure of how food impacts blood sugar–which has led some people to claim that it is a valuable sugar substitute for people with diabetes or those looking to control blood sugar (the low-carb camp). Indeed, a lower GI may be a good indication that a food is safer for diabetics, though it is not a guarantee.

When I first saw that coconut palm sugar has a low GI I figured it would be composed largely of fructose, similar to the popular sweetener agave nectar (and high-fructose corn syrup). Fructose does not impact blood sugar because it is transported directly to the liver and converted to fat. For an explanation of this mechanism, check out Dr. Lustig’s video on the dangers of fructose.

I was surprised to find, however, that coconut palm sugar is reportedly very low in fructose, and its main sugar component is sucrose (aka table sugar). What confuses me is that the GI of coconut palm sugar is supposed to be 35, while the GI of sucrose is 64. Something doesn’t add up.

I could only find a summary of how GI was measured and not the published study itself. Also, this information was only available on the website of a company that sells coconut palm sugar. This doesn’t mean the number is inaccurate, but it is a little suspicious and I’d like to see the study repeated by another credible source or two before taking it as fact.

(UPDATE: At one time I found reports of newer tests that found discrepancies with the reported GI of Sweet Tree products, but the page has since been taken down)

The number of calories in coconut palm sugar is almost identical to the number in regular table sugar and its closer relative, brown sugar. But coconut palm sugar is notably higher in various micronutrients, probably because it is less processed than industrial sugars.

But does anyone really eat sugar for health benefits?

There are a number of good reasons to consider using coconut palm sugar as a substitute for white or brown sugar in your kitchen. For me the most obvious benefit is that it tastes amazing, similar to brown sugar but with a rich complexity I’ve never tasted in industrial sugars.

Overall coconut palm sugar is a tastier and possibly healthier substitute for granulated or brown sugar. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a health food, or even low-carb just yet.

Substitute coconut palm sugar for traditional sugar at a 1:1 ratio in normal cooking and baking.

Have you tried coconut palm sugar? What do you think?

Originally published March 10, 2010.

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75 Responses to “Is Coconut Palm Sugar A Healthy Sugar Substitute?”

  1. Matthew says:

    Hi Darya,

    I have never tried Coconut Palm Sugar. Its rich taste and the possible low glycemic index are worth giving this type of natural sweetener a try. Should I look for it in a health food store?

    • Ben Ripple says:

      Hey Matthew,

      You can find the same organic coconut palm sugar that Samovar is switching over to in their chai at most Whole Food Markets…On the west coast SweetTree has made it onto the shelves of many independents too! If your local shop doesn’t carry SweetTree you should let them know to bring it in as it is distributed nationally with UNFI and should be easy for them to access!
      I look forward to hearing how you like it!!

  2. Matt Shook says:

    Sounds like a really interesting product…and a good alternative to “raw agave” which is a fructose nightmare. I’m still partial to the local raw honey and dates, but this is definitely worth a try.

  3. I’ve never come across coconut palm sugar before, but it does sound like an interesting alternative to sugar! I agree though, any sugar shouldn’t necessarily be a ‘health food’ just a ‘healthier option’

  4. Landon says:

    Re: fructose –> fat.

    Fructose only becomes a problem when there is excessive intakes, and caloric intake is excessive. Even at moderate amounts of fructose (50-60g) show no issue. The mechanisms that Dr. Lustig present are true, but fails to explain all of them, and ultimately fails to summarize on “it depends on context and the amount”.

    • Vera says:

      From all the articles that I have read on frutose, I don’t even want it in my home…I read labels carefully. All sugars are not equal. Natural sugars are not fake….I use Xylitol and Stevia and there’s a vast difference in these sweeteners and Cane sugar. I find Xylitol with a little stevia mixed in it very tasty and satisfying. I am told you can bake with Xylitol. However, I don’t eat baked sweats of any sort. I will keep an eye on Sweet Tree. Would like more information before I try it.

    • Landon, well said! I couldn’t agree more.

    • Lena says:

      Yeah, well I think those of us reading this sort of information are aware that we shouldn’t go hog wild. Dr. Lustig was not trying to point out what we already know. And he’s not the only one who thinks that we should not be consuming sugar regularly. When I hear that it creates fat in your body, as well as inflammation, as well as the fact that it creates blood sugar spikes which can lead to diabetes ultimately (diabetes is on the rise), I feel compelled to avoid sugar as much as possible. We already get enough sugar if we eat other things that turn to sugars inside our body like fruit, any breads, pastas, or other starches.

  5. liz says:

    i’ve never tried it before but i am now planning a trip to our local natural foods store!

  6. maukgirl says:

    I am definitely intrigued by this. I am fructose malabsorbent and right now I bake with a mixture of dextrose and table sugar, so if this is really higher in glucose it would be great for me. The current explosion of agave and honey in things as substitutes is a disaster for me.

    • Vera says:

      I understand that Agave nector is a good choice, if you get the real thing. (which is expensive) What we see in the grocery stores is not really agave nector…It is produced from the roots of the Agave plant and put through a lot of processing….What they end up with is worse than Frutose Corn Syrup…According to the articles that I have read from a few doctors.

  7. Linda K says:

    I live in Bangkok & use Thai coconut palm sugar for granola & baking. Flavor reminds me of the maple sugar candies I had as a kid. Locally it can be bought wet or dried into cakes. I use the cake form & grate it.

  8. jan says:

    Hi Darya, I was at Whole Foods a few weeks ago when I decided to get an iced coffee. I’m normally a Splenda user (diabetes runs in my family so I can’t really go crazy with sweets anyway) but knew right away they wouldn’t carry it because it’s “fake” (the same way they carry sugar-packed sodas but no diet sodas).

    Anyway, I needed sugar substitute and saw that they had little packets of Xylitol. I’d had xylitol in the past in other types of sugar level conscious foods but never really knew if it was “healthy”.

    I’ve had malitol too but it is more of a bothersome irritant than it is help.

    I have tried doing research on this and from what I found, they are both “natural” and have low GI levels. I wanted to get your opinion and verification if this is correct.



    • Darya Pino says:

      In my opinion all fake sugars are pretty much the same (“natural” or not) and not much of an improvement over real sugars. If you are eating enough of these things to truly make a difference in your health, you’re in trouble whether it is real or fake. My advice is to choose the one that tastes the best and use as little as possible.

      • Julia says:

        You can find a pdf summary of the GI study of coconut sugar if you go to wiki and look up “coconut sugar”. It is the 4th reference and there is a direct link. As a “scientist”, do you think this is a legitimate and accurate study?

      • Darya Pino says:

        Thx for the link. As a “scientist” I’d like to see the numbers of the individual subjects and the variance, and I’d like to see the study repeated by a few independent labs.

      • Julia says:

        Thanks Darya, for your professional opinion on this study.
        I eat refined sugar only a few times a year, on special occasions, and only a very small serving. The claim that coconut sugar, which tastes so sweet and yummy to me, has such a low GI as 35, seems just too good to be true. But I guess in small quantities, and used in high fibre recipes, it still is better than consuming white refined sugar.

  9. Marian says:

    I use palm sugar for all my baking/cooking due to a diagnosis of “pre-diabetic.” We eat very little sweets, but I do bake with almond flour and coconut flour for the family. The recipes I use generally call for agave, but I have substituted palm sugar by measuring the amt of agave called for and then adding enough water to make it the same amount of liquid as the agave would have been. In other words, if the recipe calls for 1/4 cup of agave, I measure 1/4 cup palm sugar and then add just enough water to make it 1/4 cup liquid. I have had no problem substituting the palm sugar this way in recipes. If the recipe calls for a dry sugar I let the palm sugar dissolve in whatever liquid (such as eggs and vanilla) for a few minutes. As I said, we eat very few sweets, but I like the fact that palm sugar is not a processed “sugar” and if it’s indeed lower GI all the better :). I have bought the Navitas brand and have also purchased it from One of our favorite desserts is a 16 oz container of whole milk yogurt and 1/2 cup of palm sugar and some vanilla. Mix this together, letting the palm sugar dissolve. Then freeze it in a Cuisinaire ice cream maker and top with fruit when finished. Nice, tart frozen yogurt!! 🙂

    • Cathi says:

      I Agree with Marian:

      I too have cooked and baked with Coconut Palm Sugar. It responds really well in baked goods. I prefer, Navitas brand only because it seems to be lower in carbs than other brands I have tried to use. According to Navitas Naturals’ Nutrition Facts a Serving size is 5g (2tsp) Servings Per Container: 90, While other brands Nutrition Facts say 5g (1tsp). I’ve written to each company, but they couldn’t really give a reason why Navitas Natural’s was less carbs then theirs. Something about where they got their product and how it was processes I guess. So, for right now I am sticking with Navitas Naturals, because I do eat low carb for health reasons. Another Sugar that I have stumbled upon that I mix with Coconut Palm Sugar is Lakanto Sweetener, which is a combination of both Erythritol and Luo Hun Guo. This sugar has NO Fillers or natural flavors added to it like Truvia. It’s just Fermented Non-GMO Corn that the Erythritol is produced from and it’s one of the reasons it doesn’t have the reactions in the body that other alcohol sugars have. Also the fermentation gets rid of the harmful parts of the corn that cause an allergic reaction in some people. I am one of those people, and this sugar does not bother me, which I am happy for. The nice thing about Lakanto is that like Coconut Palm sugar it too has a light brown sugar taste, so they both work well together. I made several of my Thanksgiving dishes this year with these two sugars, and no one knew the difference

  10. Debra RD,LD says:

    Hi Darya,
    Thanks for your blog post. I too am rather confused with the information supplied by the producers of coconut palm sugar out of Thailand or the Philippines. For instance they say (Philippines Food and nutrition research inst) it’s low glycemic -35, but yet is made mostly of sucrose??? Their GI research is based on 10 individules… C’mon, lets not spread this flimsy research as gospel. My problem is how can they say it’s low in fructose when sucrose is a disaccharide made of of 50% (1 molecule unit) glucose and 50% (1 molecule unit) fructose. This does not compute. Therefore whatever they’re claiming loses immediate credibility. Let’s not be so accepting and look for independent 3rd party analysis. I am not recommending this to anyone with a fructose or sugar sensitivity. However on the positive side I like the idea of a less processed natural sweetener.

    • Heather Feldman says:

      There is so much confusion out there about what is fructose and what is sucrose….Some people are now saying that if a sweetener is Sucrose then it is also high in fructose (based on the fact that sucrose is composed of molecules of fructose and glucose bound in balance)…But this has nothing to do with the issues of fructose. BE VERY CLEAR.
      Fructose in unbound form is shunted straight to the human liver where it is metabolized. This direct metabolism in the liver is the issue with fructose. Glucose sugar alternatively is sent directly to the brain for metabolism…SUCROSE however is a bound form of these two sugars and it is instead first broken down into the blood stream…It is this molecule binding that causes sucrose to be absorbed differently than fructose….
      For coconut palm sugar it seems that the difference between this sucrose and the sucrose say in table sugar is the fact that it is unrefined and still has significant values of enzymes and aminos present. These compounds SEEM to buffer the adsorption process into the blood and therefore the Glycemic Index is less than table sugar (which is refined sucrose and listed as a 64 GI).
      I hope this helps people understand the coconut sugar issue better! I found this out from speaking with the Philippine Coconut Authority…And you can get a study copy through them!


      • Joan Mercantini says:

        Hi Heather;
        I appreciate the awesome info.For coconut palm sugar it seems that the difference between this sucrose and the sucrose say in table sugar is the fact that it is unrefined and still has significant values of enzymes and aminos present. These compounds SEEM to buffer the adsorption process into the blood and therefore the Glycemic Index is less than table sugar (which is refined sucrose and listed as a 64 GI).
        Could I ask where you got it. Many thanks

      • Lily says:

        Dear Heather

        I have contacted the Philippine Coconut Authority several times and asked for a study copy. However, I have never heard from them. Do you know how I can get a hold of their research on coconut sugar GI?

        Best Regards,

  11. Cindy Gallo says:

    I recently ran across palm sugar at our local Bulk Barn and decided to try it. I love the taste and it isnt as sweet as regular white/brown sugar. I am still trying to find out if it is a healthier alternative??/

    • Darya Pino says:

      There really is no such thing as a healthy sweetener, so just use what you think tastes bests and use it sparingly.

      • Linda K says:

        Besides taste, one can also pick the more nutritious sweetener. I’ve heard this argument with regards to honey vs. sugar. May also be the case for coconut vs. cane or beet sugars.

  12. Lori L says:

    I have been using palm sugar for about a year. I hypoglycemic and was looking for an alternative to white sugar. I love it, all I use is palm sugar and some agave now. I know how my body reacts to sugar, I do not get the same horrible effects when I use palm sugar. It is a great alternative and I recommend it all the time Besides that, the flavor alone is a great reason to switch.

  13. EarthGirl says:

    Darya, From what you have discovered it appears to be on par with refined sugar cane products. Even its exchange ratio 1:1. Refined table sugar is about half fructose. THIS product like most mass produced sweeteners can not be considered *healthy*.

    Yes, there is a need to go beyond manufacturers info. The current epidemic of metabolic syndrome disorders show the results of excess consumption of sweetened foods in general and fructose in particular. Health requires balance and “sweet” is way over emphasised. I believe it has approached addiction.

    My guess is that one should stick to only the kinds and quantities used by your distant ancestors. That is, sweet calories, contributed much less to total energy intake.

    We cannot force a system that has been adapted to the regulation of glucose to utilise mass ingested alternative sugars of ANY kind, not the least of those which are used in the SAME way as proved destructive as with the use of HFCS and table sugar.

  14. blogger says:

    Thanks for the information. I knew I should be suspicious when I saw the description on the package in the store. I checked wikipedia before coming here, but that just said it had low GI without giving an actual number and without explaining what component produced the sweetness. If it’s mostly sucrose, I’m staying away.

  15. Anna says:

    When you mentioned there is no such a thing as a healthy sweetener, do you also include products from the stevia plant such as Truvia? I’ve noticed that a lot of drinks have switched from Splenda to Truvia and PureVia sweetener, like SoBe and Vitamin Water.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Yeah, just because something doesn’t have calories doesn’t make it healthy. Slightly less bad? Maybe. But I’m not sure we have all the data yet so I think it is risky. Also, I just don’t see the point in looking for a sugar substitute. Sugar is bad, but in reasonable quantities it won’t kill you. There are so many wonderful sweets and desserts on this earth that ARE worth splurging on every now and then, and these can never be recreated well with stevia. Trying to cheat nature isn’t the way to win the health game. Just accept that treats are treats, have them occasionally and eat healthy most of the time. Life is too short to get hung up on this sort of thing.

      • james cameron says:

        Hey Darya…..we are beings created with choice. So your choice to eat anything doesn’t mean it applies to me. Stop being such a know all. One day you might get diabetes and then you will know what choice you have to make.

      • Sarah says:

        BTW Truvia is mostly sugar alcohols not stevia.

      • Sarah says:

        what is your problem with stevia?

      • Pure stevia leaves from the plant are a great natural sweetener. This stevia is green, just dried, crushed stevia leaves. Most of the stevia powders are white. Most stevia powders and extracts sold are processed and refined.

        You can buy green stevia powder, usually in bulk for WAY cheaper than the refined white stuff.

  16. EarthGirl says:

    Totally agree Darya, it is so hard for most of us to question the necessity of sweetness! But everybody I can tell you from experience that it is because you are ADDICTED to it that you start frantically worrying and looking for alternatives.

    Having read up on why fructose is the enemy sweetener and in the process of removing the processed sources of it from my diet, I can honestly say it took less than a week to be free of the pull towards, sugar snacks. Richard Johnson “The sugar Fix…” advises 2 weeks of very low fructose diet- including restricting fruits, to re set the body’s sensitivity level of key factors which enhance the fructose effect within the body.

    Until that occurs it may be very difficult have only ‘occasional’ treats, as the next occasion simply reinforces the last one and sets the sensitivity meter up to high again. It seems that after abstaining for a couple of weeks however, those key factors fall back to normal levels and dont overact to the small doses as found in 1-2 fruit equivalents /day as well as tiny amounts from veggies and others . (Personally I’d leave it longer as once I accommodate the super sweetness (ughh) again – it seems to hook me back very quickly!)

    The abstinance period needs careful checking for unseen sugars apart from sweet snacks , but juices, sauces, flavourings, breads, dairy products etc too.

  17. rebecca says:

    I have been using palm sugar for about 1 year. It doesn’t make my heart beat rapidly like regular sugar does. I’ve been getting my palm sugar at the local oriental store. It comes in little patties, which I grate. It’s a whole lot cheaper than the palm sugar I’ve seen online.

  18. Grace says:

    Oh wow. I never knew that palm sugar had benefits. Where I come from, palm sugar is both really cheap and it’s sold/used in abundance. I’ll definitely be switching from regular sugar to palm sugar now 🙂
    Btw, can it be used in baking?

  19. Jill says:

    Hi there,

    I’m hypoglycemic and can’t tolerate sugar of any kind. I’m curious about trying this coconut sugar because on occasion I like to indulge in baked goods. I agree with you that people are addicted to sweetness and that’s the bigger problem. I have resorted to using Splenda in my coffee even though I detest using a sweetener.

    I’ve tried Stevia and Truvia all that stuff but to me it tastes like black licorice. I have baked with Xylitol and LOVED the flavor and the way it worked like sugar in recipes…. HOWEVER BE CAREFUL. I thought I had found my holy grail of sugar replacements until I found out how deadly it can be to animals. I try and write about Xylitol everywhere I go because it may be somewhat safe for humans but will KILL your animals. I had no idea until my dog went into our garbage and consumed some leftover baked goods that contained Xylitol. His blood sugar dropped dangerously low and was rushed to the hospital where he almost died. Every day there are animals dying from the consumption of Xylitol. Thankfully my guy made it through but unfortunately many don’t make it. I’ve often wondered if it’s so toxic for animals how safe can it really be for humans? Anyhow I’m waiting for more research but this coconut sugar sounds interesting….

    Also I personally find fructose to be terrible. My blood sugar goes crazy when I eat that stuff.

    Agave also has been proven in many cases to wreak havoc with blood sugar. I’ve heard of many hypo’s having problems with it. I’ve eaten a few baked goods containing Agave and have had some spikes so I stay away from it as well.

  20. Susan F says:

    I just received Sweet Tree coconut palm sugar today from $29.91 for six 1 lb. bags. Free shipping. I usually make and sell English toffee during the holiday seasons every year but since I no longer use normal sugar, I didn’t think I could make it any more. I decided to try using the coconut palm sugar in the recipe with organic butter. It was a rousing success! The toffee is delicious. I still do not know if I can find some kind of organic coating chocolate to dip it in. If not, I can sell it as “coconut palm crunch” or something. This is the first thing I have tried using palm sugar. I will definitely try more things.

    • Dianna says:

      Susan, I too bought the 6 one-pound bags through Amazo as well. Do you use the exact amount of palm sugar for the regular sugar in your toffee recipe? Did you do anything else to make your toffee a rousing success? I love the taste of the palm sugar and it does not seem to raise my blood sugar as fast as table sugar. Thanks so much for your post. I’m looking for ways to bake with the palm sugar! I did make a chocolate fudge/protein bar recipe using half stevia and half palm sugar, plus nuts, seeds, coconut milk, etc. and it’s very good. Just a very small square in the mid-afternoon does the trick for me!

      • Susan F says:

        Hi Dianna. I did not add anything else to the recipe. I am pasting it here for you and anyone else to try. It is amazingly delicious. Maybe even better that making it with brown sugar. I used to dip the English toffee in milk chocolate flavored coating. Now that I have discovered that chocolate is acidic to one’s system, I try to leave it alone as much as possible as I am trying to keep my system alkaline.

        Please do not be discouraged if your first attempt at making this candy does not come out perfect. It may take a time or two for you to get the feel of how the candy should be when it is done.

        Please read entire recipe before beginning!

        YOU WILL NEED:
        Medium sized saucepan
        Wooden spoon
        Non-stick cookie pan, 13” x 9”, with sides (or you may butter a pan that is NOT non-stick)
        A level place in your freezer to put cookie sheet of hot candy

        1 ½ cups granulated coconut palm sugar
        2 sticks (1/2 pound) organic REAL BUTTER

        Place the cookie sheet close to your cooking surface

        Preset timer for 4 minutes

        Place butter and coconut palm sugar into saucepan.
        (My favorite burner on my gas stove has LOW-2-3-4-5-6-HI. I cook this on 3 ½.)

        Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil, then start timer

        Cook for APPROXIMATELY 4 to 4 ½ minutes. You will know when your candy is done because it will be thick and, as you stir, it will almost follow your spoon around the pan. If you try to move your spoon quickly down the middle you can almost part the mixture. It will smell caramelized but not burnt and it will be a medium-dark, caramel color.

        When candy is done, pour mixture into cookie sheet and smooth it out as quickly and as close to the edges as possible. This thickens very fast. Place cookie sheet in freezer and leave there until the entire batch turns a lighter tan color. Then remove it from the freezer. Twist the pan to begin cracking it. Break it
        into desired size pieces and allow to come to room temperature.


        OVERCOOKING this candy will make it taste like BURNT SUGAR. Cooking this candy is not an exact science.
        Humidity, room temperature, actual burner temperature and type of stove all play a part in how your candy cooks. If your candy comes out like Sugar Daddies at room temperature, it was UNDERCOOKED.


      • Susan F says:

        Hello again. Here is another recipe using coconut palm sugar that you might like. It is also gluten-free and DELICIOUS!!!


        1. Whisk together in large mixing bowl:

        ½ cup buckwheat flour
        ½ cup coconut flour
        ¼ cup tapioca flour
        ¼ cup corn starch
        1 teaspoon baking soda
        1 Tablespoon baking powder
        ½ teaspoon guar gum
        ½ teaspoon sea salt
        2 Tablespoons coconut palm sugar or raw organic sugar
        (May use 2 Tbsp agave, maple syrup, honey, or other
        liquid sweetener and add with wet ingredients)
        ¼ cup fine shredded coconut (optional)
        ½ cup chopped raw almonds (optional)

        2. Whisk together in small mixing bowl:

        2 eggs
        6 Tablespoons oil
        2 cups milk, or more, as desired (I use almond or coconut milk)

        3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk together.

        4. Pre-heat skillet or griddle on medium heat.
        (These need to cook a little slower than traditional pancakes. Stoves and burners vary so you may need to adjust the burner temperature. If your temperature is too hot, these will brown too fast and the middles will not be done.)

        5. Pour about 1/3 cup batter on to preheated skillet.
        (I use a ½ cup measure but not all of the batter pours out.)

        6. Turn when edges start to dry and bubbles are popping.

        Makes 10-12 5”-6” pancakes

        Recipe can be cut in half for a smaller batch.


  21. Susan F says:

    I forgot to mention that I am also hypoglycemic but maybe not to the point that Jill is. I have eaten some of the toffee that I made but don’t seem to have any ill effects from it. But that is just my own experience.

  22. Cathi says:


    I just found this and thought I should post it. Why can’t Companies just tell the truth or at least do the work so we the consumer can make a proper decision.

    Coconut Crystals vs. other Coconut Palm Sugars What is the real Glycemic value?

  23. Steven says:

    I live in Vietnam with my wife since 2009. In the USA before I had serious problems with my blooodsugar level. Since I quit to us ewhite (refiend) sugar and even brown sugar and switched to Coconut Palm sugar, my bloodsugar level returned to normal and even I can sometimes kick out the jam and have some chocolate ice-cream in the city which, of course made by regular white sugar of.
    I think, the major problem in the American food system is HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), which is making the human body resist to insulin and therefore open the door for Diabetes.
    White (refined) sugar, HSCS, MSG (monosodium glucamate) and refiend salt (replace it with raw sea-salt) make Americans sick. Since I switched to Coconut Palm sugar (widely available in Vietnamese supermarkets as SaigonCoop, Maximark and BigC) I stopped all problems associated with diabetic syndromes.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Thanks for writing. But just fyi, fructose doesn’t raise blood sugar, though it is bad for different reasons. For more info you can watch this video:

      • j says:

        While Fructose does not cause an obvious rise in blood sugar, what Steven posted is true
        “I think, the major problem in the American food system is HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), which is making the human body resist to insulin and therefore open the door for Diabetes.”

      • Ali says:

        Hi Darya….while fructose does not have a strong direct effect on blood sugar immediately after eating it, it IS strongly linked to the development of insulin resistance and diabetes due to the effect it has on the liver (it blocks the insulin receptors) and in turn the pancreas which increases insulin production…leading to insulin resistance. At the same time it increases the other elements of metabolic disorder….leading to type 2 diabetes.

      • Darya Pino says:

        Thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t clear with my wording but it is explained in the video I posted. 🙂

  24. Cheryl says:

    Hi, Darya. This was really helpful information. When you find out more about this, I will be really interested in learning more. Nice web site.

    Sharing a little FYI with others, Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends limiting fructose consumption to 25 grams or less per day. Best to get this from consumption of low glycemic fruits such as berries. He has more information on his web site with a chart listing the fructose levels in foods.

  25. Edie Hippern says:

    If you check with Patrick Holford or read any of his books on the Optimum Health Diet (GL Diet Bible also) you will find his recommendation for palm sugar when necessary. I live in Canada and the local Bulk Barn is now carrying this sugar product. It is all about balance and everyone likes a little taste of sugar now and then. This is a healthier alternative.

  26. This is new to me. Is this tree the same with other coconut tree or other variety of coconut tree?

  27. Megan says:

    Thank you for the info! I’m currently living in Indonesia, and many of the foods I love here have palm sugar as one of the main ingredients in the sauces. I immediately associated it with coconut/palm oil, so I’m relieved to know it’s not quite as bad, as I try to avoid processed white sugar, etc. 🙂

  28. Meredith says:

    People, this is a fad. It is still sucrose. It is not as healthy as coconut oil and fruit, with short chain fatty acids. And our american fad is ruining the coconut industry. Glycemic index doesnt matter, glyemic load does. This is pure sugar. Stevia is the only natural substitute that does not contain sugar of any kind.

    • Edie says:

      Meredith I suggest that you check this our with Dr. Patrick Holford of the Glycemic Load Diet (he is the originator of GL) because he is the one who strongly recommends this sugar. It is NOT sucrose but a complex carbohydrate that has a GL nearly a third of sugar. It does not break down immediately in the blood stream and therefore does not raise your blood sugar level. It is environmentally friendly and recommended by the UN. I am doing the optimal health diet which is GL based and the only sugar that is favoured is this one. He also recommends xylitol but it leaves an after taste just like stevia does. Both are expensive.

      • Meredith says:

        This is crazy talk. The website for sweet tree, the company that makes pure coconut palm sugar says what it is:

        “The major component of Sweet Tree organic coconut sugar is sucrose (70-79%) followed by glucose and fructose (3-9%) each.”

        Sucrose is half fuctose in the body. It doesnt break down in the blood, but in the liver, that is the problem, why it makes us fat.

        We need to eat less sugar, not expensive sugars from overseas. I dont buy this argument.

      • Susan Jackson says:

        Patrick Holford is neither a medical doctor nor a PhD. He has a BSc in Psychology: he does not have any formal qualifications in nutrition.

        He did not originate the concept of either glycemic index or glycemic load.

  29. Gary Jensen says:

    The best sugar substitute is Lakanto, made by the Saraya Company Limited in Japan. Has no aftertaste, tastes and acts like sugar when baking with no calories, and zero on the glycemic index, with zero additives. I have used it over three years. I am a diabetic 2 condition. This is an expensive substitute for sugar. The biggest factor in diabetes and obesity is wheat, All forms of modern wheat. I found that when I stopped consuming all wheat products, my glucose readings are manageable. with a reduction of inject-able insulin. I gave up all wheat products eight weeks ago and have lost 44 pounds. Modern wheat has been genetically worked over and has 42 chromosomes, and the wheat from the Bible Einkorn has the simplest genetic code of 14 chromosomes. I make bread and deserts out of other flour. Modern wheat has an effect on the immune system. I have rheumatoid arthritis for 32 years, I no longer have the severe pain and swelling since giving up wheat.

    • Bruce says:

      I’m glad i read you whole comment.I like what you said about weat.I stopped because it was giving me a gut and that wasn’t like me at all.It didn’t clear up my arthritis though.I did something else for that.And what i did took my arthritis away for the last 11 months.No pain or swelling.You can do it to.I used cannabis tea that i made and mixed it with hemp seed oil.2 teaspoons a day for 5 days.The arthritis disappeared in 3 days.I don’t do pot,but someone showed me what they did in a state that has medical marijuan or city should i say.It worked for them and it sure worked for me.I am not a diabetic.Oh by the way,that stuff i took got bad tasting after the 5 day.The VA diagnosed me with fibromyalgia.This stuff was all over my back and arms.It came back a little bit but just in a small place as big as a quarter on the back of my neck.It’s to bad so many people got scared off from what cannabis can do for our health.There are a lot of people suffering for nothing more the gov can’t use pot for health care.Run From the Cure by Rick Simpson.Blind i was and still being lied to by my own federal goverment.

      • Gary Jensen says:


        Thank you for your response and comments. I stopped listening to the internists at the VA, decided that their methodology of throwing prescription drugs at a problem only made my condition worse. I am glad you found something for your arithitis, I have the joint damage caused by the disease, however no more swelling.


  30. Coconut sugar is mostly sucrose, like white sugar (85% to 90%). Thus, it is not allowed on the SCD/GAPS diet. It would be better for the farmers to leave the coconut flower alone and let it bear the nut which is so healthy.

    Sugar composition of coconut sugar is reported on:

  31. Sugarberrybaby says:

    What about black strap molasses or raw honey?

  32. Natasha Sankovitch says:

    Everyone is concerned about the health benefits, but I read a very negative article (“The Truth About Coconut Palm Sugar” on Tropical traditoins website) about the environmental consequences. According to the article when the sap to make coconut plam sugar is harvested from the tree, the tree can no longer produce coconuts. So all the things we really like about coconuts, coconut milk, coconut meat are lost to us. Does anyone have any knowledge about this aspect of cocnut palm sugar.

    • Edie says:

      The palm sugar is not made from the sap from the tree. It is made from the nectar from the flowers and as such is recommended by the United Nations as the most environmentally friendly supply of natural sugar on the planet.
      I have noticed some rather strident comments on here and would like to make a comment. We cannot totally eliminate sugar from our diet nor would we want to. We need sugar to make a nice multi-grain bread. When people are trying to make a positive change to their diet it is better to encourage than discourage them. This is a natural sugar that because of its complex make-up does not cause a spike in blood sugar.(the main reason a person tries to avoid processed sugar) Substituting harsh tasting alternatives leads to failure so this is a better alternative for taste and using questionable chemicals begs the question What else is it doing to my body. I am using the palm sugar in my bread and my husband who was pre-diabetic now has a normal to low normal fasting blood sugar. enough said

  33. Bruce says:

    All i know is i’m using pure palm sugar in my tea and i like the taste

  34. VIcki says:

    Thanks for all the great info! I just started on Mark Hyman’s ‘Ultra Simple Diet’ and am off sugar for the next month (at least). Found a great looking smoothie product (shake&go smoothie by Vega) but it’s got ‘organic coconut palm nectar’. I am assuming that means ‘sugar’…..?