Don’t Sugar-Coat It: What Is Coconut Nectar?
It often seems like a new sweetener is making the rounds every other week.
As such, you are bound to have heard of coconut nectar at some point or another.
However, can you truly answer the question, what is coconut nectar?
In case you can’t, then this is the post for you.
Here is everything that you need to know about this sweet treat:
How is Coconut Nectar Made?
To really understand coconut nectar, you must first appreciate how it is “made”?
The truth is that coconut nectar isn’t made at all. Instead, it is extracted.
In fact, the more appropriate term for this ingredient would be coconut blossom nectar.
This is because the nectar is extracted from the coconut blossoms or flowers.
It is then gently heated until it thickens and is suitable for consumption.
Coconut Nectar vs. Coconut Sugar – What’s the Difference?
You will have probably heard of coconut sugar as well.
So, what is the difference between these two ingredients – are they the same?
Well, coconut sugar is actually derived from coconut nectar. It is what you get when the nectar is dehydrated or heated.
Essentially, coconut sugar is the granulated version of coconut nectar.
What Does Coconut Palm Nectar Taste Like?
If you haven’t ever tried it before, you may be curious about what the nectar tastes like.
Well, interestingly enough, it doesn’t have even a hint of coconut in it.
Rather this sweetener has a deep rich flavor to it with a hint of caramel.
You would find that it tastes similar to brown sugar or molasses. Some even compare it to maple syrup.
Is Coconut Nectar Healthy?
Here’s the million dollar question, though, does coconut nectar have health benefits?
Well, you will often find manufacturers assuring you that coconut nectar is chock full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Well, it is true that coconut sugar does have some of these nutrients.
Unfortunately, these nutrients are only available in minute quantities.
As such, it is unlikely that you would be able to consume enough coconut nectar to actually gain any benefits.
You will be far better off eating foods that are actually high in these nutrients.
Coconut Nectar Glycemic Nectar
Now, there are different ways to measure how healthy a particular ingredient is.
Due to this, it is a good idea to investigate the impact of coconut nectar on your blood sugar levels.
Coconut nectar has a glycemic index of around 35.
Foods with a GI that is lower than 55, fall under the category of low glycemic index.
So, coconut nectar can technically be considered a low GI food.
In that sense, it is probably better for you than regular table sugar.
Coconut Nectar and Diets
Now, one of the reasons that people consider eating coconut nectar is because they are on one kind of diet or the other.
Some individuals may count calories for weight management or be adhering to a more naturalistic diet like paleo.
How does coconut hold up in such circumstances?
Coconut Nectar Calorie Content
On average, a single tablespoon (13g) of coconut nectar amounts to around 50 calories.
The exact calorie count can vary, but it is unlikely to be all that much higher.
To get a better understanding of this, you should know that a tablespoon of white sugar amounts to around 49 calories.
Therefore, while coconut nectar won’t undo your diet, it certainly isn’t going to help it much either.
Is Coconut Nectar Paleo?
There is some confusion about whether or not coconut nectar is paleo.
On the one hand, it is derived from a natural source. On the other, it is still considered an added sugar and isn’t entirely healthy.
If you are on a paleo diet, your best course of action would be to enjoy coconut nectar in moderation.
Coconut Nectar vs. Other Sweeteners
It is time to take a look at how well coconut nectar holds up against other natural sweeteners.
Coconut Nectar vs. Honey
nectar healthier than honey? Well, this does depend on how you look at things.
Honey is known for its antibacterial properties and is able to help with digestive issues and sore throats.
However, it is largely made up of glucose and thus has a high glycemic index.
Thus, if a lower GI is important to you, then coconut nectar may be the better fit for your diet.
Coconut Nectar vs. Agave
On the surface, agave syrup may seem to have a one-up on coconut nectar.
After all, it has a lower GI – 15 – than coconut nectar.
If you take a closer look, though, you will notice that agave syrup is incredibly high in fructose.
This can be a problem because fructose is metabolized by the liver.
Thus, if you consume an excess of fructose, you may be placing an immense amount of pressure on your liver.
This is especially true if you need to use a great deal of sweetener in a recipe.
How Can You Use Coconut Nectar?
If you are planning on using it in your food, how can you use coconut nectar?
Well, due to its natural caramel-like flavor, you will find that it is best used to make caramels and candies.
It also works well in homemade syrups or if you want to directly drizzle it over breakfast foods.
You should be careful about using coconut nectar when recipes call for a large amount of sweetener.
In these instances, some of the more complex flavors present in coconut nectar could end up overpowering the rest of the ingredients.
So, this is all that you need to know about coconut nectar. If you were considering using it in your food, you now have the total picture.
Riya Borah is a nutritionist educator and her job involves guiding people towards a healthier lifestyle. Growing up in India, Riya was aware of just how much coconut was used on a daily basis. This encouraged her to research the properties of this versatile drupe. It opened her eyes to both the limitation and possibilities of coconut. Her aim is to now educate as many people as possible about the best ways to utilize coconut in their own lives.
An Important Disclaimer
The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a doctor if you wish to consume any kind of tea regularly for the purpose of treating any condition or illness.