Sweet on Coconut Sugar: Meet our Ethically-Sourced, Sustainable Sweetener
Sweet on Coconut Sugar: Meet our Ethically-Sourced, Sustainable Sweetener

Coconut sugar is one of Purely Elizabeth's most beloved and essential ingredients, and for good reason! Aside from the taste it adds to our products, we choose coconut sugar for its unique health benefits and sustainable attributes.

As a Certified B Corp, we source ingredients not only based on their superior quality, but also by their social and environmental impact– that's why our Director of Operations made the journey to Indonesia to thoroughly explore our options. Eventually, we discovered Aliet Green, a woman-owned enterprise in Indonesia's Kulon Progo regency that works to both support the the local community and preserve the environment (see the Thrive Market Blog for more!). Let's dive deeper!

On Health Benefits

Our Organic Coconut Palm Sugar is an unrefined sweetener that we sustainably harvest from Indonesia. Measuring low on the glycemic index (35), it also contains essential nutrients- high in many vitamins and minerals such a potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins. Coconut sugar is the boiled and dehydrated sap of the coconut palm. Compared to white table sugar, it contains way more Vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and copper. It also contains the B Vitamin, Inositol, which is a mood booster!

What about the Glycemic Index stuff?

The glycemic index measures the effects of carbohydrates on your blood sugar. The lower the score, the better! Coconut sugar ranks just 35 on this index (compared to white table sugar which ranks between 60 and 75). Therefore, coconut sugar won’t cause your blood sugar to spike as much — no sugar rush + subsequent sugar crash. Part of the reason why coconut sugar ranks so low is because it contains a low amount of fructose, which is a kind of sugar that converts QUICKLY to fat. Only your liver can break down fructose. And according to Harvard Health Publications, one should “not consume large amounts of fructose outside of that which you get in fresh fruit.” Coconut sugar is just 45% fructose while agave nectar is 90% and high-fructose corn syrup is 55%.

On Sustainability

Why is coconut sugar more sustainable?

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, coconut palm sugar is the most sustainable sweetener in the world (it literally won the award in 2014). They noted how the trees use minimal amounts of water and fuel, especially compared to cane sugar production, and these trees produce for about 20 years. Organic coconut sugar has no artificial ingredients and is not chemically altered in any way, which benefits the earth in many ways.

On Social Impact

Aliet Green

Over the last decade, Lastiana Yuliandari leveraged a unique opportunity– to produce coconut sugar within her Kolap district of Indonesia's Yogyakarta Special Region, while supporting the local residents in their agricultural livelihoods. Women make up a disproportionately large segment of the region's population; Lastiana's vision included them, along with other marginalized groups, as trade partners and valued employees, resulting in a world-class processing facility that supports the region economically and socially. Today, Aliet Green has grown into an award-winning woman-owned business renowned for its superior products and ethical labor practices, and continues to generate a positive impact all along the supply chain.

So to sum all that up:

Coconut palm sugar is a great sweetener option because it checks out for 4 main sugar differentiators: 1) the added nutrients, 2) the glycemic index and the effect it has on your blood sugar, 3) the percent of fructose, + 4) the effects on the environment and society.

(Sources: 1. 2.3.)

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