Is Palm Sugar Good for Diabetes? (with Glycemic Index values)

Palm sugar is obtained as a sugary liquid, used as a sweetener in many dishes. It is taken from the sugar palm sap (also called date palm) through a natural process known as one among the natural sugars.

Is Coconut Palm Sugar Good for Diabetes?

Palm sugar has a moderate glycemic index of 54, which is almost the same as table sugar. So, palm sugar cannot be considered safe as the high content of carbohydrates can increase the patients’ blood sugar levels. Inulin present in palm sugar can slow down glucose absorption into the blood. The demerit of this food sweetener is its enormous caloric value that is not good for individuals with diabetes.

Palm sugar is a natural sweetener that comes with glycemic values near to the table sugar. The mineral value offered by this product can be replaced by any other food item, as this has to be used in larger quantities to get mineral benefits.

There are different manufacturers in the industry to produce these sweeteners for added taste. But some of them even mix the traces of other high-calorie sugar to get more similarity to the taste profile of table sugar.

This added sugar has a high chance of spiking up blood glucose levels without giving any natural benefits. Palm sugar also has a fructose presence, which is unsuitable for health when consumed in more significant amounts.

In the diet of a diabetes patient, it is always better to include more nutritious elements by reducing the carbohydrate contents. Palm sugar has more similarity to table sugar that should be added to the food items in smaller quantities.

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Physicians mostly advise people with diabetes to avoid sugary substances for regulating their blood glucose levels. But some patients urge to include sweeteners in the diet to get the taste; the selection of sweeteners must be made with careful observations. 

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What are the Glycemic index values of Coconut Palm Sugar?

Palm sugar has a glycemic index of 54, which is almost near the values of table sugar.

The table sugar has a glycemic index in the middle range, but the scores can vary based on the way of preparation of food. Palm sugar contains fructose content similar to table sugar to have the same effect on health.

If you prefer palm sugar in your food, it is natural sugar; then all added sugars must be of minimum quantity. This sugar also gives a brown appearance to the food, which may not be appealing to some of the dishes.

What are the sugar elements present in palm sugar?

Dieticians don’t recommend palm sugar to be included in the diabetes diet, as this has featured the same as the table sugar. Some of the foods that are included in the daily food habits have natural sugar content.

Palm sugar has glucose, fructose, and sucrose as the components contributing to them as a higher carb. Similar elements are there in table sugar also, but they with varying composition ratios.

Sucrose is commonly seen in most sweeteners added to desserts, processed foods, and beverages. This breaks down as fructose and glucose, while digestion takes place in the human body.

Fruits have a high fructose content but are included in the diabetes diet as they have several beneficial elements. Even though diabetes patients can eat fruits, the quantity is limited as they are rich in carbohydrates.

Some of the manufactured products have fructose as an added element to provide more taste to the dish. But the high dosage of this sugary element can be harmful to the users by even leading to more complicated medical conditions.

Glucose contents are lesser compared to the other elements in palm sugar. This is a form of sugar easily absorbed by the body, more chances for spiking blood glucose in diabetes patients.

How do you choose the best sweetener for people with diabetes?

Sugar substitutes are included in the diabetes diet to enjoy sweetness without affecting blood glucose levels. You will find a wide range of sweeteners in the stores, but not all suit your disease.

Some alternatives have similar carbohydrate quantities as in the table sugar; choosing sweeteners must be carefully done. Sweeteners with nutritional value and low calories are suitable for diabetes patients.

Several manufacturers are introducing low-calorie sweeteners in the market under the brand names. Some of them are already used to prepare food items; this can replace the requirement of sweet taste well.

Natural and artificial sweeteners are used as substitutes for table sugar; people prefer sweeteners with a better taste profile. Stevia, saccharin, sucralose, and a few more are considered safer to be consumed by diabetes patients.

No sweetener that increases the glycemic index values of a food item when added should not be used in the diet. It is good to stop using more sugary items to avoid spiking glucose levels in the blood.

Some people are addicted to sugary food items, for those healthy sweeteners control their diabetes levels and obesity-related problems. The sweeteners’ selection requires a proper guide as it decides the effect of that product on your body.

Some manufacturers add some high-calorie sweeteners to the preparation of other sweet items to taste the perfect taste. Users must carefully go through the ingredients list to avoid risking factors in their food.

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Some sweeteners won’t taste like table sugar, which makes the user, not like the food. Colour also varies in sweeteners, which may not make your dish look good.

The sweetener’s availability must be ensured as some of them won’t be there in nearby stores. All health effects of the particular product must be studied, or sweeteners can be chosen with expert advice.

Before deciding on the sweetener, you have to compare its features with your requirements. If the sugar substitute satisfies your needs, you can purchase it from the stores or online.

Conclusion

Palm sugar is a natural form of sugar that has similar features to table sugar. Including them in the diabetes diet will not be a good idea as they have high carbohydrate content.

Several other natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruits in the market can be used as a sugar substitute with low calories. Choosing them will be better to control your diabetes at reasonable rates, also to avoid further risks.

References

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Benukar-Biswas/publication/329525807_Coconut_Sap_Neera-Untapped_Opportunity_of_Spinoff_Gains_in_West_Bengal_India/links/5c0de3014585157ac1b6bde2/Coconut-Sap-Neera-Untapped-Opportunity-of-Spinoff-Gains-in-West-Bengal-India.pdf
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128166895000122
  3. https://www.ijisrt.com/assets/upload/files/IJISRT19FB2741.pdf
  4. https://www.scirp.org/html/8-2150606_86989.htm
  5. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.619.8575&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  6. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1755-1315/653/1/012147/meta
  7. http://www.jbarbiomed.com/index.php/home/article/view/9
  8. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/fsn3.1191
  9. http://hhsnj.adam.com/content.aspx?productid=117&pid=1&gid=007429
  10. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/249334388.pdf
Dr Sharon Baisil MD
100 Best Foods for Diabetes

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