Coco sweeteners as healthy alternative-A A +A
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
ONE thing health conscious individuals have in common is avoiding sugar intake. For some of them, foods are better off blunt in taste rather than putting in more sugar and worry about weight gain.
There's really no need to be anxious about gain weight with new healthy alternative to sugar. Of course, this isn't aspartame, or what is known as the so-called synthetic zero-calorie sweetener sold at the grocery stores, but it's a local product made purely from the coconut sap.
Through the years, much has been said about the coconut touted as the "tree of life" for the several products which can be derived from its trunk, fruits, and leaves.
The latest among the long-list of coconut products are coco sugar and coco syrup. Both products are derived from the coco sap, the fresh oyster white liquid obtained from the tender unopened flower of coconut. The same is used to produce the popular coconut wine or the "tuba."
Benjamin Lao, president of Lao Integrated Farms Inc., is one of the major farmers in Davao Region who produce coco sugar and coco syrup in the market today.
Coco syrup tastes more like a honey, having the same thick texture.
These coco sap-based products, he said, are low in glycemic index (GI) of about 35 based on a study of Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI). GI is a classification of food based on the blood glucose response of a food relative to a standard glucose solution or starchy foods.
Lao said the higher the GI, the greater the blood sugar response. Thus, coco sugar and syrup, being low in GI, are good alternative sweeteners for individuals who have diabetes.
The mineral content of coco sugar and syrup include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, chlorine, sulphur, boron, zinc, and manganese. Also, these natural products only have 35 to 54 (GI), which is classified as low compared to brown sugar with GI of 65 to 100.
Indeed, this is good news for people who either want to steer clear of sugar or slack off the sugar intake in their diet. Now, they can fully enjoy the sweetness of delectable pastries without having to worry about munching on too much sugar.
Coco sugar and syrup can also be a good sweetener for coffees in place of brown and white sugar.
The process of making coco sugar and syrup has to be quick. Coco sap has to be obtained fresh from the trees and process it right within four hours. Otherwise, it will start to ferment and will be sour in taste.
Lao is exporting coco syrup to international markets. At least 80 percent of the total coco syrup production of his farm is exported while the other 20 percent is distributed locally.
US and European countries are currently the top export market of Lao today. His farm produces about 350 kilograms of coco sugar and 600 liters of coco syrup a day.
Mawa and Aromatic, two dwarf varieties of coconut, can produce coco sap at four liters a day more than what other varieties can.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 05, 2013.