what’s the deal with coconut sugar?

Posted on May 26th, 2011

OK. Still on the hunt for fructose-free sugar substitutes. Jo and I came across coconut sugar this week – a health food shop here in Byron had a bunch of very wholesome treats using coconut sugar. I reckon you’ll start seeing it everywhere. A few of the health food companies are starting to market it.

Picture 2 Via David Anderson/Glenn Allsop 2011

I asked the chick behind the counter about it. She said it was evaporated coconut water. Which would make it fructose-free. Hoorah!

But, alas, I got home and discovered the truth.

It’s pretty much palm sugar…the stuff they use in Asian cooking…. made by making several slits into the bud of a coconut tree (instead of a palm tree) and collecting the sap. Then, the sap is boiled until it thickens and solidifies.

There are some positives:

But. The fructose deal?

As you know, we’re interested in the fructose content – it’s the dangerous, fattening bit of sugar. Everyone gets excited about agave, which I’ve written about before. Agave is 90% fructose. You can read more about the fructose situation here.

So this is what the manufacturers of coconut sugar are saying:

The major component of coconut sugar is sucrose (70-79%) followed by glucose and fructose (3-9%) each.  Minor variations will occur, due to differences in primary processing, raw material source, tree age and variety of coconut.

Good, yes? No! This is very tricky wording. Because sucrose – or just plain table sugar to you and me – is half fructose! So in effect coconut sugar’s between 38% and 48.5% fructose (I did the maths just now). Which…is about the same as sugar and honey.

Back to square one…Thought I’d just share….

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  • http://www.easythrillsemptypockets.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    Well that’s a bit disappointing! The day I heard and got excited about agave was the very same day I then read your article about it, just saved! Thanks for being my sugar-substitute watch dog*!

    *I feel I should say that I’m not actually cutting out sugar myself (I’m not yet as brave or as resiliant to temptation as you) but sometimes I get intrigued about what ‘could be’ if I did.

    [Reply]

  • Mia

    So, essentially – that makes coconut water full of fructose too? Boo!!

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    No. Coconut water is fructose-free. Coconut sugar is from the sap from the tree.

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    Hoorah! Thanks for clarifying that.

    My brain hurts.

    [Reply]

    Olivia Reply:

    Just don’t buy coconut water that is mixed with fruit juices if you’re avoiding fructose…(obviously).
    I started drinking it after hearing its benefits such as rehydration, etc, but all the brands of coconut water I’ve tried have still usually contained over 10g sugar. Now I don’t bother with the stuff.

  • http://www.wholepromise.blogspot.com Sherilyn

    Damn – there must be something out there surely. Thanks for all your valuable info. It is great!

    [Reply]

  • Alexandra

    I’d love to hear how you’ve been going on your no sugar journey. I know you said you tried a piece of slice a while back, have you dabbled some more or remained steadfast?
    I tried to have a little dabble about two months in and it felt like a huge hungry monster reared up inside me that I just couldn’t control. I’ve only recently managed to “get back on the wagon”. Would love to hear your thoughts! Also have you tried Stevia? I’m currently having a little love affair with it. I haven’t looked up it’s breakdown yet though, in case I have to give it up too!

    [Reply]

    Tamsin Reply:

    The whole ‘sugar is bad for you’ thing is everywhere now. I was flicking through May’s edition of Marie Claire and there’s David Gillespie’s name in another sugar related article.

    It’s catching on.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I know…I’m getting journos telling me they’re doing stories on it after reading everyone’s interest on here…don’t you love how mags follow online now….three months later…

    [Reply]

    Tamsin Reply:

    Well you were once a Trend Consultant! A very influential one I’d say :)

    Im sure the chiefs of CSR are after you! LOL

  • Lucy Cotter

    3 months into my own sugar-free journey and things are feeling very good indeed. I have conquered Candida overgrowth, lost a couple of kilos along with the constant bulgy air baby, learned to love the taste of pure raw cacao and tuned my tastebuds to find the natural sweetness in things like oat milk. The only thing I’ve really missed is fruit, but I’m starting to put a bit back in my diet. Thanks to you, Sarah, I am building a wonderful toolkit of strategies, tips and recipes for healthy,whole foods like lentils, chickpeas, grains, herbs and spices I never bothered much about before. I’ve discovered the wonderful world of sheep and goat cheeses too! You are my go-to girl for food and cooking advice. You have also pointed me to some other wonderful sources, such as Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, and now Sally Fallon. So, big thanks. x

    [Reply]

  • Q

    i heard golden syrup doesn’t have fructose. Since switching to it, I have felt great.

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    Golden syrup is pretty much pure sucrose, aka pure sugar. About the same fructose content as table sugar, so quite high.

    [Reply]

    Q Reply:

    interesting. maybe there is another ingredient in golden syrup that’s doing it then?

    [Reply]

    utb Reply:

    I heard glace cherries are a really good way to stave off sugar cravings.

    Q Reply:

    FailTroll Fails.

    http://trololololololololololo.com/

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    nope. glace cherries are almost pure sugar

    [Reply]

  • Sheralee

    Thanks for sharing Sarah! I did a little research of my own and came to the same conclusion but its nice to have it confirmed.

    [Reply]

    Sheralee Reply:

    I’ve also been using rice malt syrup in my smoothies. It’s a great substitute for honey.

    [Reply]

    David Ford Reply:

    As far as my research goes Rice malt syrup is Maltotriose, Maltose and Glucose only all break down to glucose, can anybody else confer

    [Reply]

  • Fay

    Interesting, but so far on the sugar-free wagon I’m happy enough to use dextrose – when I can get it that is lol. Disappears rather quickly at the local supermarket, must try the brewing shop. :D And I’d like to try rice malt syrup if I can find it…

    [Reply]

    Sylvia Reply:

    Faye, I get my dextrose powder in Big W, in the home brew section. It’s Brigalow brand, and a 1 kg bag costs around $3.00. If you want something to replace honey, golden syrup or molasses, try Rice Malt Syrup. It’s on sale at Coles, in the Health Foods aisle.
    If you don’t want to use dextrose, you can use Glucose Syrup, it’s in the aisle where the cake mixes is, with the cake decorating stuff, in a jar. Quite cheap. But dextrose/glucose syrup are not very sweet, so David recommends you only use it after you have gone through withdrawals, and even then it’s supposed to be for a treat only, not an everyday thing!! Sorry!!
    The Rice Malt syrup is nice on porridge, I made some last Sunday for brekky, added 1 sachet of Natvia as well, but will omit it next time, as the syrup was enough. With cream on top it was delicious.
    Am fructose free now for 10 months, so no sugar for me any more. For the person that asked, our bodies can’t live without glucose. So glucose it is.
    good luck with it all, Faye.

    Silver Angel

    Spread the Love

    SMILE!

    [Reply]

    Belinda Mellor Reply:

    Curious as to why ‘only for treats” as we break down all our food into glucose anyway? I’m not suggesting we live purely on cake of course!
    I can confirm that the great benefit from changing from fructose to glucose is a reduced appetite – my body knows exactly what I am eating and doesn’t look for more than it needs. So I’ve found there is no longer a need to be scared of ‘treats’.

    [Reply]

    robyn Reply:

    There is mercury in high-fructose dextrose such as corn syrup. It is not a good thing.

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    Randi Reply:

    Be careful! Dextrose is a genetically-modified corn product!

    [Reply]

    Belinda Mellor Reply:

    That’s interesting. But once it is simply dextrose (which is chemically a mirror-image of glucose) can it be harmful – there is nothing left but the pure stuff of energy – the thing we convert everything we eat into. I’m not disagreeing but I am curious as to whether it matters (from an eating point of view rather than an ecological point of view that is)

    [Reply]

    Belinda Mellor Reply:

    We have ‘Bin Inn’ shops – where you buy lots of stuff loose. I found they carried masses of dextrose in stock – loose and pre-bagged. And at a good price.

    [Reply]

  • Kate

    I’m still trying to hunt down a sugar-free chocolate. Any suggestions?!
    All the ones I’ve found at health food stores have agave syrup.

    [Reply]

    Lucy Cotter Reply:

    Pacari Ecuadorian Organic Chocolate is 100% cacao. Dairy and soy free. But it’s an acquired taste as it has no sweetness whatsover. Once you become accustomed to it though, it can be quite addictive. I buy it from a local organic grocer in Blackburn. The website is http://www.pacarichocolate.com. I have also bought pure cacao nibs from the same place. They are chewy and almost meaty. Great added to breakfast cereal or porridge. I get more of a sweet hit by adding raw cacao powder to oat milk for a hot chocolate. The oat milk has sweetness without any sugar. Hope that helps someone!

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    Thanks Lucy – I will check out that website!
    I still need a sweet hit and chocolate is definitely my weakness. I can do without the fruit, but not chocolate!

    [Reply]

    Sylvia Reply:

    Kate, I was once like you, but now have cocoa made on milk, with 1 sachet of Natvia. Just mix up the Natvia & 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder in a cup with a teaspoon of milk, boil the rest of the milk up & pour over the cocoa, it’s yummy. I have it with a small piece of hard cheese before bedtime, if I’m hungry. I now don’t crave chocolate any more.
    Hope this helps. I believe the organic raw cacao is the best stuff, but I bought the Bourneville one from Cadbury, sugar free. Mainly ‘cos I haven’t seen any of the organic stuff yet.
    Sarah, Love your site, congrats on it.
    Silver Angel

    Spread the Love

    SMILE!

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Not for the faint-hearted that stuff!

    [Reply]

    Brittany Reply:

    Plamil makes xylitol sweetened 72% choc (also vegan) and a rice syrup sweetened chocolate. I got mine after someone recommended it in a comment! It’s quite nice!

    From veganonline.com.au

    Lara Reply:

    Brittany, that’s an awesome find!! Sugar free, dairy free choc made with a sweetener I actually approve of – finally! YAY!!! :)

    http://www.plamilfoods.co.uk/chocolate

    Brittany Reply:

    Isnt it rad! :D

    Hope lots of people can enjoy it xox

  • April

    Great to have news from the online community about sugar free ventures! I started last year but fell off the wagon tripping across Europe, but back on again the last couple of weeks and feel fab!

    We found glucose powder at a health food shop (we asked for dextrose and the girl looked very confused, until we told her it’s also called glucose) and we made David’s (lizzie’s) brownies for my sister’s birthday on Tuesday. As he said they aren’t as sweet but still yummy (and it’s actually nice to not feel gross after dessert!) We might make some more on the weekend, maybe add some macadamias! Yum!

    [Reply]

  • Lauren Ruwoldt

    Chocolate fudge recipe for those searching for sugar free chocolate.
    This is not quite chocolate but should give you the sugar rush you are looking for. It’s from a wholefoods cookbook and is good for you which is a bonus. The recipe called for honey but I swapped it for rice malt and it’s still nice. We’re off the sugar though so it may still be a little bitter to those not accustomed to the full taste of raw cacao powder!
    Enjoy!
    1 cup of nuts of your choice (I soak and lightly toast mine)
    1/2 cup dessicated coconut
    1 cup coconut oil (not too soft not too hard)
    1 cup rice malt syrup
    1 teaspoon vanilla essence (I use natural which has a teeny amount of fructose(david says it’s ok on his site) but the imitation stuff has nothing)
    70g raw cocoa powder
    Pulse nuts in food processor once or twice, add all other ingredients and blend until well combined.
    Pour into tray lined with baking paper, cover with more paper and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours until set. Cut into squares and keep in the fridge.
    YUM just made my first batch and it is surprisingly good. Just sweet enough. You would have to like coconut oil though as this is the main flavour. Luckily I love the stuff.
    I read David’s book and it scared the hell out of me. I try to eat organically and lead a chemical free lifestyle but had no idea sugar could cause so many health problems. And as a mother of a 2 year old who is already addicted to sugar it’s a great wakeup call. I just hope it also helps with my AI disease. I have uveitis which sends the inflamm to my eyes. I’m permanently blind in one eye and have cortisone injections in the other every few months to keep it for as long as possible. Can anyone else with AI tell me whether they have had brain scans and other tests done? I’ve had my condition for about 9 years and have only just recently been told by others I really should see a neurologist. My specialist is great, the best in his field, but he seems to only be interested in treating my direct symptom and nothing else. I’ve also tried a few naturopaths, acupuncturists etc but it seems like they’re all just guessing and don’t really have any idea how to help. I do a lot of my own reading but it would be nice to have some extra help. Can anyone recommend a got natural medicine specialist in Melbourne? Thanks :-)

    [Reply]

    Lucy Cotter Reply:

    Lauren, I’m not sure if this is the sort of help you are looking for, but I have a fantastic Naturopath in Blackburn who works in tandem with a lovely GP. They are a fantastic team and combine the best of traditional medicine with holistic preventive treatment. I have AI in the form of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I know I can’t expect a cure, but I am confident about minimising its effects with the help of testing and monitoring of my medication dose by my GP, and dietary, herbal and other treatments from the naturopath who is at Vital Chi. They have a website if you would like to Google them. Angela is my practitioner, but there are other great people there as well. I now look at food as medicine and not just pleasure. Of course, I still want the pleasure, but I’m conscious of what foods are doing to my body and choose more wisely now. Most of the time! ;)

    [Reply]

    steph Reply:

    wow this recipie sounds amazing i must try. Raw cocoa powder has a tonne of flavour, I constantly crave and eat healthy gluten free sugar infused treats but am looking for a better alternative.

    [Reply]

    Paleo girl Reply:

    Hi Lauren, check out some of the paleo books like the one by Robb Wolf or online Chris Kresser has some excellent information… All carbohydrate eventually gets broken down into sugar…

    [Reply]

  • Lauren

    Sorry didn’t mean to write sugar rush above, just meant if you need something sweet and chocolatey it should do the trick. It’s a hit with the kiddo too!

    [Reply]

  • http://www.twitter.com/velvet_hologram Natalie

    I stand by stevia completely. When first using it, it’s a bit of trial & error with how much to use, but that’s part of the fun of discovery as well. With Candida it’s the only safe sugar substitute I’ve discovered.

    I’ve been reading about erythirol, which is a sugar alcohol, which is not metabolised by the body, it goes straight to the liver & is excreted through urine. Apparently it’s safe for people with Candida as it causes no gastrointestinal distress & doesn’t add to the caloric amount in food because of how its digested. So, I’m curious…

    [Reply]

    Lauren Reply:

    Yes I use stevia too and have looked into erythirol. You can get a product from the supermarket called Natvia which is made from the above two products. I am still not sure about erythirol. Although it appears to be the “safest” form of artificial sweeteners it is still a chemically altered and refined product so doesn’t fit into the wholefoods way of eating. Given the whole fructose debacle though I am letting my husband have the Natvia in his coffee instead of sugar until he weans himself off sugar. In this world full of natural and chemically created “poisons” it’s hard to know what is best. What I mainly try to do is stay away from all sweet foods and then I don’t want them anyway! (Except for mmmm, coconut cream by the spoonful) :-)

    [Reply]

    Lucy Cotter Reply:

    You make some really good points, Lauren. I’m even a bit dubious about dextrose, as it is also still refined and processed. I’d like to see more evidence and research on it. Meanwhile I agree with you that the best solution if you can manage it is to stay away from sweet foods altogether and lose the dependency. And if that fails, try to choose the most unprocessed close to source version that doesn’t have too much fructose. Tough challenge! To borrow from another of Sarah’s posts, I guess we have to listen to our guts. Literally in some cases!

    [Reply]

    Lauren Reply:

    Hi Lucy, yes I agree with you on the dextrose also. Anything that isn’t originally designed to go into our bodies I am very wary of. It seems that many people are missing the point when cutting out sugar. They are desperately searching for an alternative sweetener and chocolate when really we weren’t designed to eat a lot of sweet stuff in the first place. It’s really not that hard to cut it out. Having said that I’ve never been a real chocoholic. I did used to enjoy the occasional treat but can happily live without it. I was a big juice fan though so that’s been a bit trickier but if I want a bit of sweetness I find a couple of pieces of organic apple or a few organic grapes do the trick. Also thanks heaps for the info on the naturopath, I will look into it. Would you mind if I ask which doctor you go to? I’m always looking for one who understands. Not sure if you’re allowed to put it on here but my email is lozzie59@hotmail.com if you want to contact me that way. Thanks :-)

    Natalie Reply:

    I agree Lauren, it’s much better decision to stick with the naturally occurring stuff, which is why I use ground leaf stevia when I want something sweet. I’ve been sugar-free for 18 months now, so my sweet tooth isn’t as bad as it used to be. But there are times when I do feel like a little indulgence, & stevia (& coconut flour) allow me those times. I can’t have fruit, nor coconut sugar, so you gotta find little (healthy) pleasures somewhere sometimes!

    I, too, love a spoonful of coconut cream :)

    [Reply]

    Lara Reply:

    I have read that xylitol is ok for candida. It’s anti-yeast, hence why it’s no good for bread making…

    [Reply]

  • Lara

    Hi Sarah, I’ve done my research and I’m also fructose free (aside from berries). You can use xylitol and brown rice syrup quite happily. I make hot chocs with 2tsp raw cacao, slightly less xylitol and a cup of rice milk on the stove. Super yummy (if using traditional cocoa you’ll need more of it, plus more xylitol to get the same taste – about 1Tbs). I also use xylitol when making cakes, ice creams, custards, sweet sauces (like sweet chilli) and more. Slightly less xylitol than sugar is generally called for as xylitol is slightly sweeter. I use brown rice syrup instead of honey and maple syrup – in muesli bars, drizzled on pancakes and satay skewers and more. It’s also lovely in my hot chocs if I ever run out of xylitol. I’ve also made a couple of orange cakes using whole boiled naval oranges and a little xylitol as sweeteners. The best one I’ve made though is one I call my Coco-almond cake and has almond meal, dedicated coconut, eggs, cocoa, butter and or coconut oil (I use 1/2 each) and a sugar-free vanilla extract (I found in DJ’s). Yum :)

    [Reply]

    Lara Reply:

    Oops, there’s xylitol in that Coco-Almond cake (left out of ingredients). Also baking powder if you want it rise a little. Oh, and as dedicated as I am to coconut I meant ‘dessiccated coconut’ not ‘dedicated coconut.’

    [Reply]

  • Lauren

    Lara I looked into xylitol too and was excited to find that it was fructose free but it’s a no-no from a wholefoods point of view and David doesn’t approve of it on his website either. Pure glucose powder or syrup or rice malt syrup are what works for us and seem to be the most accepted as the healthiest forms of sweetener if you need to have something. Each to their own I say, just wanted to mention that :-)

    [Reply]

    Lara Reply:

    Hi Lauren, it’s true that xyitol is not a wholefood….but neither is glucose powder. I choose xylitol because it has no negative health consequences, it has several positive health consequences and it does not wreak havoc with my blood sugar. Many health professionals have advocated a sugar-free diet over the last 2 decades and as a Naturopath and Nutritionist I don’t agree with everything that David Gillespie advocates. I think his book is fantastic in many ways (I’ve read it), but I believe it should be seen as a wonderful starting point rather than an end point. I have not read whatever is written on David’s website, but in his book he approves of xylitol and lists the only negative as being the high cost of xylitol compared to sugar and dextrose. For me that is not a problem as I buy it in bulk and I don’t eat a lot of it so it goes a long way. I also love that I can directly substitute it into recipes that call for sugar so I can use all my old favourite recipes (although I personally use less xylitol as I don’t like things very sweet). Sweet foods are occasional foods in my home, with the exception of one daily hot chocolate, which I make with raw cacao (packed full of nutrition) and sweeten with a small amount of xylitol or brown rice syrup. I believe that if sweet foods are consumed too regularly they lose their special celebratory properties. However, I have a young child so I have to balance her desire to be like all the other kids, with my desire for her to eat healthy, wholesome foods. Xylitol helps me do that, although I also use brown rice syrup quite a bit (eg. in muesli bars for her lunch box, and in brown or red rice puddings).
    I’ve made 2 recipes from David’s book using dextrose powder, and they both had the same effect on me (even in small quantities): I quickly experienced a surge of giddy, giggly, wonderful energy, caused by a sudden elevation of blood sugar (glucose has a GI of 100). For me that giddy, happy (fleeting) quality of sugar foods was always the most addictive part, so given that glucose/dextrose gives me the same feeling (leaving me craving more), it isn’t a viable alternative for me. Xylitol has a negligible effect on blood sugar (GI 7), so it is better for me in that regard. My advice for xylitol, would be to source a non-gmo brand, such as this one http://www.naturallysweet.com.au/our-products/xylitol/ and buy it in bulk for best value :)

    [Reply]

    Mel Reply:

    Wow that was so informative, thanku Lara. Brilliantly clarafying why I don’t want sugar. For me it’s highly addictive like u mentioned the rush when u have dextrose, so I will steer clear.

    [Reply]

    Lauren Reply:

    Hi Lara,
    Thanks so much for all that info. It’s great to get different points of view and I completely agree about the dextrose. I appreciate your reply in backing up your views without being attacking or demeaning. Do you have any advice on coconut products in general for us all? I use coconut oil for cooking, coconut cream instead of icecream etc but was wondering if this is bad from a naturopathic point of view? Also your cake recipe sounds great will have to give it a try. Thanks :-)

  • http://www.morethancarrots.com Hilla

    Thanks for the research, Sarah.

    Though I’m wondering…what’s your preferred sugar molecule? Would it be glucose? Doesn’t seem great to eat much of that either. Maybe it’s just a “choose your poison” kind of situation. I’m just curious what your preferred sweetener’s profile would be?

    [Reply]

  • http://www.summerhills.com Francesca @ SummerHills Retreat, Bangalow Accommodation

    I agree with Mia, *my brain hurts*. I discoverd coconut and agave products a few months ago, especially coconut yoghut (in Byron it’s “CoYo” but I’m sure there will be other similar products in other cities). I’m glad you’ve done the Maths on the sucrose content of coconut suga Sarah, but maybe I wish you hadn’t. ha ha. Okay, back to *square one* as you say….. Boo hoo.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.summerhills.com Francesca @ SummerHills Retreat, Bangalow Accommodation

    Although, I must add that I am still losing weight the last few months, on coconut products, as if I was off sugar entirely, so I must still be in *ketosis* fat burning state even though I am having coconut sugar (not much, but still, it’s sugar). I wonder if the coconut sugar then is different somehow on some other (molecular) level? Maybe it’s a purer sugar, more “whole-grain” so to speak. What’s everyone thoughts on coconut as an easier product for our bodies to digest? Maybe it’s because coconut has so much vegetable fat that it cancels out the sugar somehow (I’m making this up now) . Would love your thoughts on this if anyone has done the research?

    [Reply]

  • Alice

    Hi Sarah,
    I’m assuming you’ve already discovered and tried Natvia and Stevia? Natural alternatives to sugar…

    I know you did an “artificial sweetener” post a while back so I’ll trawl through and see if I can find whether you’ve tried these. In my experience, they’re both great and a HUGELY improved step forward from the carcenogenic artificial sweeteners like Equal.

    [Reply]

  • Lukas

    It’s good that we seek better options, i love this! :D Daily conscious decisions.
    Ultimately though, we are looking for substitutes for a bad addiction…
    Appreciate real flavours again by eliminating sugars from your diet. We were not born ‘needing’ chocolate after dinner! :)

    [Reply]

  • http://www.loveyourreflection.net Tasha

    The comment that coconut water has no fructose has me puzzled. Can you please help explain to me why it has no fructose? I have been Googling for hours and everything I have found says it does. I am really hoping it doesn’t so I can use it as a post workout drink to restore my electrolytes in a healthy way.

    Thanks a bunch!

    [Reply]

    Lucy Cotter Reply:

    I’m curious about this too. My naturopath told me to go easy on all coconut products due to the presence of fructose, but I distinctly remember David Gillespie giving it the thumbs up in his books. My brief online research unfortunately backed up my naturopath’s view. Any one else got info?

    [Reply]

  • Jody

    Hey Sarah, I notice you mention often of eating at cafes in Byron. I am heading there next week, can you recommend some of your favourites
    Thanks

    [Reply]

  • simon

    Forget about Stevia, Organic Unsulphured Coconut Sugar and all the other crappy sweeteners. Just use Blackstrap Molasses and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Natural ingredient use for hundreds of years and unsulphured during the processing.

    Black Treacle anyone? Very similar.There are 3 stages of producing white refined sugar, Blackstrap Treacle is the byproduct of the last stage, where all the minerals and nutrients are filtered out to produce clear sugar (no nutrients) and molasses (nutrients).

    Enjoy!!!

    [Reply]

    Lucy Cotter Reply:

    Still full of fructose, though!

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  • kym

    I just thought I’d drop this in – in case it’s useful to anyone.
    I bought liquorice root from a herb farm. The tea I made from it is almost unbearably sweet to me. Do you think the tea could be used to sweeten recipes?
    I know nothing of it’s chemical make up but I know it’s good for you.
    My next move was to try it in a baked cheesecake….I’ll let you know when I do!

    [Reply]

  • http://www.glutenfreezones.com Petra

    Thanks for this post – I did wonder about coconut sugar when I first saw it since coconut is ok to eat!

    [Reply]

  • June

    Ayam brand Coconut Water with pulp, has only 4.1g per 100 g. This is in the allowable range for anyone on *no sugar*, I believe.

    [Reply]

  • Belinda Mellor

    Thanks for the ‘heads up’ I was tempted to buy some – and it’s not cheap!
    I’m just looking around this site for the first time – looks great.
    I’ve recently swapped all my sucrose for dextrose/glucose and thought that nice crunchy coconut sugar would have been a good topping for my home-made buns, etc. in place of brown sugar. Never mind…

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  • Belinda Mellor

    Not sure about why there’s no fructose, but do know that coconut water is the one thing that can be safely injected directly into the human body in place of a blood transfusion (in an emergency, that is) so that suggests it’s pretty okay as a food stuff…

    [Reply]

  • kotryna

    in a way it’s better than simple sugar and in a way it’s not. i don’t understand! i mean if we replace simple sugar with all these natural sugars and syrups we are getting the same damage + some vitamins and minerals + taste so overall it’s better. and i’m all for replacing it. even with agave. of course without forgetting that it’s still sugars.

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  • Shayela

    OH NO! I just ordered a kg of the coconut sugar…after you recommended the loving earth chocolate I thought coconut sugar must be ok!! ARGH! Oh well I’ll use it… and then go back to stevia or xylitol. I’m finding Stevia seems to give me a headache, anyone else get side effects? Also two of my friends children got a rash on their mouths after having it in apple pie sweetened with Stevia. ?? Not sure what I think of it!!
    Regardless I am enjoying cutting out cane sugar, I am not cutting out fruit at all and am having a bit of honey still but find my cravings for sugary fatty foods are almost completely gone!! I am breasfeeding so feel I still need to eat a complete range of foods… and feel that if we’re recommended to eat 5 veg, 2 fruit I should eat my 2 fruit :)
    Thanks for the great site and book though, totally inspired me to start this journey and although its slow going for me I already feel a lot better and plan to one day (after experimenting with recipes, finding good products etc) eat a far more natural food diet!

    [Reply]

    Nichole Reply:

    I only tried stevia for the first time yesterday and was pleasantly surprised at the taste. Almost vanilla like. However, almost immediately I developed a headache. Today I used some while baking and spent all afternoon feeling nauseated and ‘full’ to the point of discomfort. I also have a headache tonight too. I will try it again in a few days for confirmation but I’m pretty certain that I can’t have the stuff at all.

    [Reply]

  • Rose

    Hi, does anyone know where to buy coconut oil in perth wa? Also, I love this websites. You guys are awesome with your tips and advice and you make me feel not so lonely in my sugar free journey. Some other things I was wondering. Tomato base for pizza, says no sugar but is it full of fructose as its tomato? And also I have a 5 year old who is in love with sugar, I’m going to get her off it over the summer holidays (as they have cupcakes basically every week at school) does it take around the same time of withdrawals to get her off it as it took me (2 months) or is it quicker for kids to get off it? I bloody hope so, she will be a nightmare. Thank god I read sweet poison before my little bubba started solid food, he will never have a sugar addiction hopefully. Doesn’t stop other mums looking at me like I have 2 heads when I tell them he is not allowed chocolate!

    [Reply]

    Julie Reply:

    Hi Rose

    You should be able to buy coconut oil at any health food store. I have had no trouble finding it at any of several health food stores I have been to.

    [Reply]

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  • Helen

    I have used coconut oil for 5 years now in place of butter as I am allergic to all dairy products. I had an angiogram a year ago to check the state of my arteries prior to an operation. The cardiologist was impressed with the result stating that the arteries were patent and had no plaque in any of the ones he examined. As a 72 year old lady I also was impressed and will continue to use this oil in my diet.
    I am also allergic to cane sugar and use Xylitol for my tea and coffee and baking.
    I use coconut palm sugar in place of brown (cane) sugar and for me it works well. I am not interested in cutting out sugar entirely, but I am interested in using products that are organic and healthy ie mineral, vitamin and amino acid content. I use Sweetlife brand of Xylitol and its website has a wealth of information about the product.

    [Reply]

  • http://ckhauffa@gmail.com Christina

    Sarah,
    thank you for doing the research and math on this one…your walking through it helps me follow this same path on so many of the other sucrose…glucose….fructose trails. training my mind to understand the language is so much of the battle in researching my own foods. I really appreciate your passion and willingness to share…such GREAT qualities in a mentor! :)
    Happy 2013!
    christina

    [Reply]

  • Sylvie

    I heard coconut nectar is low fructose and it taste sooo good.

    [Reply]

  • emma

    Oh my goodness! I have been LOVING coconut sugar because I totally fell for their tricky wording. I am so grateful for this post. Another alternative for me :-)

    [Reply]

  • Daphne

    I’m a big baker and am trying to transform my old faves into better beasts – perhaps it’s a losing battle but has anyone found a ‘good’ sugar substitute that doesn’t taste, well, plain weird in baked goods? Erythritol to me is a tad nasty (that cooling effect) and I thought coconut sugar would be better but if it’s ‘off the list’ I’m back to square one. Any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Rose Reply:

    I use dextrose in baking, I find that a really good substitute in cakes. I also use rice malt syrup where I can and I kind of feel its a bit more natural that dextrose! I can’t stand stevia, I have really tried, as there are so many recipes with that in there but I can’t, the after taste is too bad!!

    [Reply]

  • Simmone

    My brain is full of so much information at this point all I want is a clear understanding on all the right sugars so I can start my jouney…. I follow my cut on things because I am highly sensitive to many different things weather it be western medicine or herbal based medicines.
    So if I may can I ask for a clearer list of the good sugars.
    My body reacted to stevia a while back and now when I think I should try it again I can feel my internal hand break come on big time.
    I use coconut palm sugar and was upset to see that it is not on the list of good sugars through reading many different posts on here but would love to have clarity IS IT OK OR NOT OK????
    Thank you for all the information I have read in your book and on your web site it has given me so much confirmation to what my body already was directing me to have….

    [Reply]

  • http://im-happymom.blogspot.com Maya

    Hi there,
    coconut water is different with coconut sap. Coconut water is the water inside coconut shell and coconut sap is the sweet nectar coming from coconut flower. Coconut sugar is made by evaporating coconut sap, not coconut water.
    It’s high in sucrose, yes agree, but it has a low glycemic index (according to The Philippine Food and Nutrition Research Institute) which means will not responsible to the rise of blood glucose levels.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing ^-^

    [Reply]

  • Rose

    How is it that coconut water is so delicious and sweet and fruictose free? Or have I read it wrong somewhere, does it contain fruictose?

    [Reply]

  • http://www.affinitywellness.com.au Kristen

    This is exactly what I wanted to know given I’m reactive to fructose in both monosaccharide and di-saccharide form … so it’s a big no to coconut sugar … next.

    [Reply]

  • Di Shalevski

    Is coconut sugar the same as evaporated coconut nectar? I recently found dark chocolate that uses the nectar as a sweetener. I was a little suspicious but it’s so hard to know the fructose content for sure. I have fructose intolerance so it’s important I get the right info. Can you please help? Love your website by the way, I call it my sugar-free bible! Thanks :)

    [Reply]

  • Daphne

    i recently came across Tagalose at my local market – never heard of the stuff and wonder what it is and if it is a via substitute especially in baking. I find the stevia/erithrol? etc kind of nasty although I have had some success baking with rice malt syrup. Anyone heard of tagalose and what it’s properties are?

    [Reply]

  • Rob

    “Palm sugar should not be confused with coconut sugar, which is made from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm, instead of from the sap of the tree itself.”

    [Reply]

  • susanto

    if you want to buy coconut sugar from indonesia..
    send me email and we make a deal..
    karimabdul581@yahoo.com

    it is healthy for your body

    [Reply]

  • susanto

    if you want to buy coconut sugar from indonesia..
    send me email..
    and we make a deal..
    karimabdul581@yahoo.com

    [Reply]

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  • ben

    hi
    I have been sugar free for about a 6-9 months now. Dropped 12kg, 10cm round my tummy and lowered cholestrol and body fat… Was hard to start but Sarah has helped with her great advice and recipes, awesome book…
    I use stevia in granulated form. It is called Betta Sweet and they mix it with corn erythritol, so loses that bitter after taste. check it out. http://www.hebebotanicals.co.nz

    Good luck

    Ben

    [Reply]

  • http://www.kidsveggiefood.com VeggieKds

    The coconut sugar I have bought doesn’t come from the palm of the tree but from the blossom of the coconut tree. Are there 2 ways you can get sugar from a coconut tree? Or perhaps is the lady it he health food shop you visited not giving you accurate information.

    From the research I’ve seen, coconut sugar in relatively low on the fructose scale.

    [Reply]

  • Shelley

    Hi there interesting thread. Dr mercola – google him if u haven’t heard of him – recommends no more than 15g per day fructose, I’ve been using coconut sugar in my coffee for a treat 1-2 per day and I don’t eat fruit daily… Anyway I’ve had a sugar addiction all my life and I’ve quit sugar and I’m gluten free, and follow the paleo-type diet e.g. Protein veggies good fats minimal fruit. I’ve lost weight and more importantly feel more energy and good moods than I have for years. I think I figured out that the nutrients in coconut sugar including every enzyme the human body needs means I don’t get the sugar spike and monster cravings… Because my body has been ‘fed’ even though it is sugar and slight fructose. Just my opinion and personal journey :) all the best with everybody’s great efforts.

    [Reply]

  • Rose

    I don’t use stevia or any of those others you mentioned, wasn’t aware of them being dangerous in pregnancy (doesn’t surprise me though) I just don’t like the crappy artificial taste. I use rice malt syrup. I have found that substitutes in most recipes. I still find Sarah’s books great. They are a good place to start from and develop your own recipies and find what works for you. Best of luck with your pregnancy :)

    [Reply]

  • Leah

    Hi Sarah,
    I have just found out I have fructose malabsorption. As Di asked, what are the fructose levels in Coconut nectar?

    Also, is there a special way to work out the fructose to glucose ratio?

    Thanks

    [Reply]

  • Amy

    Seems Leah has beat me to it! I also am wondering what the level of fructose is in Coconut nectar?

    Thanks

    [Reply]

  • Leah

    Um, you said you liked coconut water because it’s all sucrose, then you said you don’t like coconut sugar because it’s 70% sucrose which is half fructose. Get it straight. You either like sucrose or you don’t.

    [Reply]

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  • Meagain

    This is an old post I am adding to . . . but wanted to ask about the coconut palm sugar I bought which says it’s made from the flowers of the plant. Not the sap as you have described. Is this a different version? And is it a good thing to use?

    [Reply]

  • james

    I ate a small amount of coconut sugar today and felt very ill for several hours. Not good.

    [Reply]

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