Let’s get loco with some coco!
With several keto sweetener alternatives available, it’s tempting to believe that any natural sugar option would work with a low-carb diet.
As you know, these delicious tropical fruits are among the most keto-friendly low-carb fruits.
But, is coconut sugar keto?
In this article, we will discuss if coco sugar is low carb and if it’s allowed on a keto diet.
What is Coco Sugar?
More and more people are noticing the negative consequences of traditional white sugar. As a result, people are turning to natural sugar substitutes.
Coconut sugar is one of the artificial sweeteners that has gained popularity in recent years due to its health benefits.
This sugar originates comes from coconuts and is said to be more nutritional and lower on the glycemic index than sugar (*).
To be more specific, coco sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm tree and resembles brownish granulated sugar. For the most part, it tastes like brown sugar—sweet, but it has a caramel flavor rather than a coconutty one.
Unlike white cane sugar, the dark hue of coconut sugar suggests that it is raw and unprocessed. Some study shows that when it comes to sweeteners, coconut sugar may be a more nutritional choice, and some believe that the sugar may fit into specific diets.
Is Coconut Sugar Better than White Sugar?
What’s the advantage of utilizing one over the other if they’re virtually nutritionally identical?
White sugar gets stripped of all of its vitamins and minerals throughout the refining process. Because coconut sugar is not refined as thoroughly as other sugars, it includes trace quantities of minerals.
That being said, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and short-chain fatty acids are among the minerals found in coconut sugar, albeit in tiny amounts.
Keep in mind, you’d have to eat a lot of sugar to reap any meaningful advantages from those minerals.
Sugar rush anyone?
Did you know, coco sugar is equivalent to classic white table sugar and contain 15 calories, 4 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon?
Let’s take a closer look at these two sweeties…
White cane sugar:
- 15 calories
- 4 g carbohydrates
- 4 g sugar
- 0 g total fat
- 0 mg sodium
- 0 g fiber
- 0 g protein
- 15 calories
- 4 g carbohydrates
- 4 g sugar
- 0 g total fat
- 0 mg sodium
- 0 g fiber
- 0 g protein
A two teaspoon serving of coconut sugar contains 8 grams of total carbs – the same as white table sugar (*).
You can’t make coconut palm sugar keto by counting net carbs, either. With no natural fiber, coconut sugar net carbs still clock in at 8 grams.
The nutritional data don’t appear to show much of a difference between coconut sugar and ordinary cane sugar, but are there any additional health benefits to this tropical sweetener?
Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index (GI) than cane sugar or even maple syrup and foods with a lower GI absorb more slowly, decreasing the health-damaging insulin surge (*).
According to studies, coconut sugar has a GI value of 35 4, while white cane sugar (sucrose) has a GI value of 65 (*).
Researchers believe that because of its lower value, coconut sugar may be a more tempting alternative for those with diabetes or those looking for a sweetener that does not significantly influence their glucose levels (*).
Aside from the nutritional benefits, coconut sugar may be a better choice for certain people for other reasons. Coconut sugar is a healthier option than cane sugar since it isn’t genetically engineered and isn’t bleached.
Another advantage of using coconut sugar is that it is a more ecologically friendly option than palm sugar or cane sugar.
However, the question everyone is asking is, is coconut sugar keto?
Let’s find out…
Is Coconut Sugar Keto?
Plain and simple, no.
Coconut sugar, unfortunately, is not keto-friendly.
Keep in mind, even though it is natural, the carb content in coco sugar is too high and might spike your blood sugar levels.
Now, that doesn’t sound so fun, does it?
Since it’s not sugar-free and is high in carbs we strongly advise you to not use coconut sugar on a ketogenic diet.
On that note, we have prepared some other keto-friendly sweeteners and sugar substitutes you might enjoy…
If like us, you are on a low-carb diet, sadly coconut sugar isn’t for you!
Luckily we always got your back!
We tried and tested the best sweeteners and sugar substitutes that you can use on keto.
Stevia is a sweetener produced from the plant Stevia rebaudiana. This natural sweetener contains no calories, ranks zero on the glycemic index, and is 200-300 times sweeter than regular sugar (*).
Stevia, unlike normal sugar, has been demonstrated in animal and human tests to help decrease blood sugar levels (*).
The good thing is you can use it to make sweet drinks or fancy keto diet desserts. But, be careful you might need less stevia than indicated in the original recipes.
A quick tip: Substitute one tablespoon powdered stevia for each cup of sugar.
Learn more: is stevia keto-friendly?
Another kind of sugar alcohol that is often found in treats such as sugar-free gum, sweets, and mints is xylitol. It has the same sweetness as honey but just 3 calories per gram and 4 grams of carbohydrates per teaspoon- bonus!
However, the carbohydrates in xylitol, like those in other sugar alcohols, do not count as net carbs since they do not elevate blood sugar or insulin levels to the amount that sugar does (*).
For a low-carb sweet kick, xylitol could be readily added to tea, coffee, shakes, or smoothies.
Replace your honey with erythritol, especially if you are on a low carb, keto diet!
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, which is a naturally occurring class of chemicals that trigger the sweet taste receptors on your tongue to imitate the taste of sugar. It is up to 80% as sweet as normal sugar, but has just 5% of the calories, with only 0.2 calories per gram.
Furthermore, even though erythritol contains 4 grams of carbohydrates per teaspoon research suggests that it may assist decrease blood sugar levels in your body (*).
Erythritol is used in baking and cooking and can be used in place of honey in a number of recipes. Remember, that it has a cooling sensation and does not dissolve as well as sugar, leaving meals with a slightly sandy texture. To get the greatest results, use roughly 1 1/3 cups (267 grams) of erythritol for each cup (200 grams) of sugar.
4. Monk Fruit:
Want to be healthy on a keto diet? Then try monk fruit…
Monk fruit sweetener is often chosen over stevia since it does not have a harsh aftertaste. Monk fruit also has a glycemic index of zero and is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Because it’s low carb, it’s ideal for anyone on a keto diet!
Monk fruit is a natural sweetener produced from a plant native to southern China. It includes natural sweets as well as antioxidant chemicals known as mogrosides, which account for most of the fruit’s sweetness (*).
Natural Sugar Substitutes That Aren’t Keto
Although they are considered to be an alternative to coconut sugar and are also most definitely a better alternative to regular sugar, these supposed “healthy” alternatives are not permitted on the keto diet due to their high number of carbohydrates.
1. Maple Syrup
An unprocessed natural sweetener made from boiling sap from maple trees, this syrup is loaded with antioxidants! A tip would be to choose a darker syrup, as the darker the syrup is the higher the antioxidant content in it.
Unfortunately, it is also 99% filled with carbohydrates and cant be called an ideal substitute. A tablespoon can contain up to 50 calories and 13.5 grams of carbs.
2. Raw Honey
Another option that is filled with micronutrients includes, vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
However, a tablespoon of this golden nutrition-filled goodness contains 17g of carbs which rules it out of keto due to its high carb content. Though it does not contain any fat and a tenth of a gram of protein and has absolutely no dietary fiber.
3. Agave Nectar
Coming from the same plant that we all use to produce tequila, we can also use agave to produce an alternative to sugar. Though it is marketed as a healthier alternative, try to avoid it at all costs, as it is a product that has been incredibly processed.
Another factor that should be considered is the release of fructose during the processing. This happens when the compound not as fructans found inside the agave is broken down.
While fructose is ranked reasonably low on the glycemic index, it has been known to cause weight gain and build insulin resistance in the longer term.
4. Brown Sugar
How about brown sugar, you might ask? There has been a misconception that brown sugar is and has been healthier than white sugar. This is not true.
Brown sugar truth be told, is in reality just plain old regular sugar with molasses having been included in it. Brown sugar is not completely refined and is made with 5-10% of molasses in it.
Without it being said, brown sugar should be on the list of things to be avoided.
No Coconut Sugar Is Not Keto, But You Have Other Options
When looking out for a keto option, opt for a zero or low calorie, low or zero carb alternative that doesn’t have any adverse health effects.
Choose one that has a low glycemic index, preferably natural and minimally processed. Plant-derived alternatives like Stevia and Monk Fruit are rising in popularity are also known not to cause any adverse effects.
There is ONE notable exception to using coconut sugar for keto recipes as-is: proofing yeast.
Sugar gives yeast a food source that allows it to bubble up, leaving no added sugar in the completed recipes.
Keto soft pretzels are a good example!
Another tricky but doable rule breaker…add any keto sweetener with molasses!
Molasses can be keto friendly in small amounts, and mixing with another low carb sweetener can create a similar brown sugar flavor to coconut sugar.
Approach with caution, since carbs can add up quickly with these sugar substitutes.
But, like any other health-related issue, always consult medical advice if you are unsure.
Frequently Asked Questions
A Final Word
At the end of the day, coco sugar is not our hero!
Coconut sugar is lower on the glycemic index and has trace amounts of certain minerals that white cane sugar loses in the refining process.
Unfortunately, for us keto dieters coconut sugar carbs are too high to enjoy as a low carb sweetener option.