What's the skinny on products derived from coconut sap? I've only really seen them produced from a single company, Coconut Secret:
My roommate just picked up some of the Coconut Nectar for use as a sweetener, and we've bought the Aminos before as a soy sauce substitute (which I see now is just the sap and some sea salt.)
Has anyone else tried the products? Any thoughts on how the sweeteners stack up against Agave, sugar, honey, etc.?
Sugar made from the sap of palm trees is a traditional type of sugar in palm growing parts of the world. It is I think traditionally made from date palm with sago palm and coconut palm sugar now also produced. As it is usually unrefined it has its own flavour as molassas or honey does. It also contain micronutrients but unless you are eating or drinking it by the cupful these are probably only a small amount. The website you linked too shows the mineral content of the sugar crystals in 1 litre, not many people would eat a litre of sugar at a time. The flavour is partly due to the sap being boiled to reduce the water content, this caramelizes some of the sugar.
I am really confused as to why the Coconut Secret website claims the sugar is 82% inulin as I don't see any source for this. Other sources give the sugar as 70-79% sucrose with 3-9% each of glucose and fructose. The only research I could find agrees with this, no inulin in the sugar. If it contained 82% inulin it would not be very sweet at all as inulin is much less sweet than sucrose, it would also have similar digestive effects to eating Jerusalem artichoke.
As far as I can tell the sugar is mostly sucrose with a small amount of free glucose and fructose. Why it is reported to have a lower glycemic index than table sugar is unclear.
So healthwise apart from the flavour it is probably not very different from using normal sugar or honey with a little extra nutrients but there doesn't seem anything worse about it. This is a good article on the subject: Is Coconut Palm Sugar A Healthy Sugar Substitute?
The Coconut Aminos: If you like the taste I don't see anything wrong with it, sauces like that are only used in small amounts anyway.
The Coconut Vinegar: Vinegar is vinegar, use it if you like the taste more than any other types of vinegar. The health claims are a bit strange, no one should drink vinegar for the vitamin content.
The sweetner is going to be mostly sugar and fructose. So metabolically, I don't think it would be super healthy at all.
The aminos apparently have 1 gram carb per teaspoon. Still a little carby, looks like moreso than a better quality soysauce, but probably fine in moderation and good for those who like soy sauce but have problems with soy. Looks like processing is minimal. Add sea salt and let age. Is this fermented? Kinda sounds like it. They say they do not add fermentation starter, but that does not mean it does not naturally ferment. Otherwise, what good is aging it? Not technically paleo but probably a lot better than most other condiments. PLus it compares well nutritionally to soy sauce. HOpefully, the manufacturers are not being too deceptive in their advertising..
I was curious about this too after I noticed that my new bottle of Coconut Secret nectar didn't have the claim about 82% inulin content, so I emailed them, and here's the response that I got:
Thank you so much for your interest in our products. The sugar breakdown of the fresh coconut sap directly out of the tree is 0.5% glucose, 1.5% fructose, and 16% sucrose. However, when the excess liquid is evaporated from the fresh sap to make our Coconut Nectar or Crystals, the naturally occurring sugars become more concentrated (more so in the Crystals than the Nectar), which causes the percentage of glucose to increase to approximately 8-10%, the fructose 10-12%, and the sucrose increases to nearly 74%. The good news is that the presence of inulin and FOS are the key factors that maintain the glycemic index at an average of 35 GI. In addition, the Nectar and Crystals are totally unrefined and very minimally processed, remaining as close to the original state and high nutrient content of the fresh sap as they can possibly be. We have also had human study GI tests done on our products to verify their glycemic index.
So, the GI is better than most sweeteners, but the fructose content (what I'm trying to avoid) is actually no better than table sugar.
I'm so glad to see this question posed here. I ran across the coconut nectar on Selina Naturally website and I have been curious.
Did you end up using the product? I have to be honest here I plan to do some gluten free baking during the holidays. I refuse to use agave and honey does not always work optimally in recipes where I replace other sweeteners.
I'm going to go ahead and order some but if you have a review that would be helpful! :-)
i came across the same product - coconut sap, and was also very puzzled about the 82% inulin content. a word of caution - having spent two days wiped out with severe GI pain and loss of energy, inulin is not a great source if you want a natural sweetener. i could not work out what started my illness, but finally determined it to inulin. it had been put in my chia tea, by a really helpful serving person in Wise Cacada. read sweet poison as a eye opener to this new addition to the list of so called "health products"
sorry to sound angry, but i was really ill! good for losing weight though, as long as you don't mind spending time in a small dark room, with plumbing that goes through the floor and would also like to spend time off work.
another word of warning just because you are in a health food shop don't let the serving people just add things to whatever you are going to immediately ingest without doing your own homework on the product first - just remember they are sales people just like any other shop. after forty years of buying health foods and trusting the people behind the counter, i have finally woken up.
I too was curious about the inulin content of these products. I have diabetes so the low glycemic value was a plus but I also have IBS-D and inulin is a horrible trigger. Sadly the news has not gotten to some of the people subscribing cures or even relief for IBS-D. Fiber is not a good thing and my gut proves it every time. People also afflicted in blogs tend to agree. I hope this info gets to the medical and holistic community soon so that people taking this well-intentioned but very harmful advice are able to find some wellness.