Love Coconut Sugar? 4 Ways It’s Healthier Than Regular Sugar

The world of alternative sugars is quite big, but some varieties are more usable and interesting than others. Coconut sugar has gained popularity as a healthier alternative to traditional sugar. But how different or beneficial is it from regular white sugar? Derived from the sap of coconut palm trees, coconut sugar boasts a natural and mild sweetness and some nutritional benefits. However, like any sweetener, its health profile is nuanced, and its use should be considered in the context of an overall balanced diet. 

Coconut sugar is made from the sap of coconut palm trees. The sap is extracted, boiled, and dehydrated to create granules. The primary components of coconut sugar include sucrose, glucose, and fructose, which are quite similar to regular white sugar. However, coconut sugar also contains nutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, and antioxidants, which contribute to its touted health benefits, although they’re present in small quantities. 

White sugar which is the most commonly used sugar in most households, undergoes an extensive refining process, during which it is stripped of its natural nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Unlike natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup, white sugar provides empty calories without any nutritional benefits. Consuming foods high in empty calories can contribute to nutritional deficiencies over time.

Compared to regular sugar, coconut sugar is a better option, despite being a high-calorie sweetener. Although it may not work for every kind of recipe. Here are some ways coconut sugar is healthier than regular sugar.

Nutritional Content

One of the key differences between coconut sugar and traditional sugar is the presence of trace nutrients. However, though they contain small amounts of minerals and antioxidants, consuming large quantities of coconut sugar solely for nutritional benefits is not a practical approach. Not to mention, the nutrient content varies among different brands and sources of coconut sugar.

But a good way to measure the benefits of coconut sugar is by referring to the glycemic index (GI), which measures how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Coconut sugar which is not a low-carbohydrate food, has a lower GI compared to regular sugar, indicating a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream. This can be quite helpful for those looking to manage blood sugar levels, especially diabetics or people with pre-diabetes. 

White sugar has a high glycemic index (GI), meaning it can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. This sudden increase is followed by a subsequent crash, which may lead to feelings of fatigue and hunger. Consuming high-GI foods is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance

Fructose Content And Calories

Experts believe white sugar is calorie-dense and lacks the accompanying nutrients found in whole foods. This is why consuming excessive amounts of sugary foods and beverages can contribute to caloric excess, and can potentially lead to weight gain and obesity. Obesity is linked to a range of health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

But coconut sugar contains fructose, a natural sugar found in fruits. Moderate fructose consumption from whole foods is generally considered healthy. Excessive intake, particularly from added sugars has been linked to metabolic issues but the fructose content in coconut sugar is not exceptionally high.

Calorie-wise, coconut sugar is similar to regular sugar. Both offer about 15 calories per teaspoon, so substituting coconut sugar for regular sugar does not significantly alter the calorie content of food.


Coconut sugar is often marketed as a more sustainable sweetener. Coconut palm trees are hardy and can thrive in diverse ecosystems, contributing to less environmental impact compared to some conventional sugar crops. Additionally, the processing of coconut sugar is generally considered more eco-friendly than the refining process of traditional sugar. 

Taste And Texture

Coconut sugar typically has a coarser texture compared to white sugar. The granules are often larger and may have a slightly grainy feel. They also retain a bit of moisture, contributing to its clumpy texture which may not be ideal for some recipes which call for free-flowing sugar. White sugar has fine, uniform granules that feel smooth to the touch. The granules are typically smaller and more consistent in size compared to coconut sugar.

White sugar dissolves more easily in liquids due to its fine texture and lower moisture content. In baking, the choice between coconut sugar and white sugar can influence the texture of the final product. The coarser texture of coconut sugar may lead to a slightly denser or crumbly texture in some baked numbers, whereas white sugar is often preferred for achieving a lighter and smoother texture. It’s best to use coconut sugar for baking and for drier breakfast items that need minimal binding.