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Coconut Palm Sugar Glycemic Index Explained

Coconut palm sugar is GI-35.  The Philippine Food and Nutrition Research Institute used the following procedure to determine the Glycemix Index (GI) value of coconut palm sugar:

  • Fifty grams (240 ml) standard glucose tolerance test beverage (Medic Orange 50, Product no. 089) and fifty (50) grams of coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) sugar  was fed in random order to ten (10) human subjects.
  • Blood samples (0.3-0.4 ml) were collected after feeding through finger prick using a 7ml Vacutainer  at zero (0) hour, and thereafter at every 15 min interval for 1 hour, and every 30 min or the next hour.
  • The serum was separated from the blood using a refrigerated Effendorf centrifuge, and analyzed for glucose levels on the same day using a Clinical Chemistry Analyzer after calibration with the glucose standard (Glucofix Reagent1: Menarini Diagnostics, Firenze, Italy).
  • The blood sugar levels of the ten (10) healthy human subjects given coconut palm sugar and reference glucose food samples were graphed against the time of study.  The incremental area under the glucose response curve (IAUC) of the coconut palm sugar was calculated geometrically ignoring the area below the fasting level (Wolever et al.,1991).  The Glycemic Index (GI) of the coconut palm sugar was calculated as GI = IAUC of the test food / IAUC of standard glucose multiplied by 100.  It’s index value is 35.

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load:

Glycemic Index takes into account the quality of the carbohydrate in a food and ignores its quantity.  A glycemic index value therefore tells us only how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar.  It doesn’t tell how much of that carbohydrate is in a serving of a particular food.  Both the things are important to understand a food’s effect on blood sugar.

Glycemic load considers the quality and the quantity of carbohydrate content of the foods.

The following table gives a values for low, medium and high glycemic load for foods.

  • Low GI = 55 or less
  • Medium GI = 56 - 69
  • High GI = 70 or more

*Values are with reference to Glucose.
Foods that have a low glycemic index invariably have a low glycemic load, while foods with an intermediate or high glycemic index range from very low to very high glycemic load.  Therefore, you can reduce the glycemic load of your diet by limiting foods that have both a high glycemic index and a high carbohydrate content.

According to Dr. Trinidad, a scientist from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute - Department of Science and Technology the Glycemic Index (GI) is the glucose response of an individual from food relative to a standard glucose solution.  Low G I food is good for proper control and management of diabetes mellitus (type II diabetes) and has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol.  It is also good for weight maintenance therefore prevents overweight and obesity.

Their findings indicate the glycemic index of 35 for pure coconut palm sugar.  Please note that some coconut palm sugar on the market, in particular palm sugar from Thailand, is also mixed with cane sugar and other malt based ingredients.
The glycemic index value alone does not give accurate picture of the food. The glycemic load (GL) takes both the things into account. The glycemic load is the glycemic index divided by 100 multiplied by its available carbohydrate content.

The glycemic load of coconut palm sugar is 1.4, or 1 when rounded off.

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