Coconut sugar is a sugar produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm.
Coconut sugar has been used as a traditional sweetener for thousands of years in the South and South-East Asian regions where the coconut palm is in abundant supply. The world's largest producers of coconuts are the Philippines and Indonesia.
In some areas, predominantly in Thailand, the terms "coconut sugar" and "palm sugar" are often used interchangeably. However, coconut sugar is different both in taste, texture and manufacture methods from palm sugar, which is made from the sap in the stems of the Palmyra palm, the date palm, the sugar date palm, the sago palm or the sugar palm.
The Glycemic Index of coconut sugar was reported by the Philippine Coconut Authority to be 35 and by that measure it is classified as a low glycemic index food. However, in that study the glucose standard was fed as an aqueous solution, while the sugar was fed as sugar. Making the test food slower and more difficult to absorb and digest relative to the test solution will lower its GI value. It is considered to be healthier than refined white sugar(60) and brown sugar(64). It can be used as a 1:1 sugar substitute for coffee, tea, baking, and cooking.
Coconut sugar has a high mineral content, being a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. In addition to this it contains Vitamin B1, B2, B3, and B6. When compared to brown sugar, coconut sugar has 18 times the potassium, 30 times the phosphorus and over 10 times the amount of zinc. The large amounts of K and P can explained by the way coconut sugar is tapped from the inflorescences of the tree.
The coconut sap, from which coconut sugar is derived, contains 16 amino acids. The amino acid which has the highest content in coconut sap is Glutamine.