Coconut Sugar Helps Maintain Blood Sugar

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   (2012-07-05 00:00:00)

KOCHI:Coconut sugar is good for health, especially for diabetic patients, claims a press statement issued in connection with the ongoing Cocotech meeting in the city.

A natural sweetener, coconut sugar has a low glycemic index of 35 which leads to favourable blood glucose readings. Consumption of coconut sap sugar helps reduce and maintain weight, control and manage diabetes. It may also help lower serum cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease.

Stating this Ms. Yvonee T. V. Agustine, Executive Director, United Coconut Associations of the Philippines, said her country, the third largest coconut producing country in the world behind India, produces coconut sugar on a large scale besides other coconut based products and by-products for global exports. She is one of the delegates from Philippines attending the 45 COCOTECH-2012 in session here since July 2.

Ms. Yvonee said coconut sugar export from Philippines grew from 11,200 kgs in 2009 to 36,310 kgs in 2010. It increased exponentially to 70,000 kgs in 2011 as countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe started importing the product. In 2009 it was imported only by Japan and the US. Virgin coconut oil is the other product exported from Philippines, she said.

The top 10 non-traditional export items from Philippines in 2011, based on foreign exchange generation, were: Glycerin, Virgin coconut oil, Toilet/Bath soap, Coconut water, Coconut milk powder, Nata de coco, Liquid coconut milk, Fresh coconuts, Shampoo, and Coir products.

The product basket netted US$ 112.794 million in exports during the year 2011, a sharp leap from US$65.447 million earned from these products in the previous year. The increase in export earnings of Philippines was driven by massive rise in export of virgin coconut oil, coconut water, coconut milk powder, liquid coconut milk, and fresh coconuts, Ms. Yvonee added.

Unlike in the Philippines, coconut oil is not consumed as edible oil in the importing countries. Coconut oil is able to compete directly with palm kernel oil in industrial sectors as both the oils can be used interchangeably in almost all industrial uses due to their identical fatty acid composition. Both oils are called lauric oil because of their high lauric fatty acid content.

In world trade, coconut oil competes with 16 other fats and oils. The market leaders are palm oil, soybean oil, rapeseed oil, and sunflower oil. Coconut oil accounts for only 3.2 per cent of total oils and fats traded globally. However, the Philippines take the lead, accounting for 48.5% of the world coconut oil trade.

Forty coconut products and by products from Philippines were shipped to 103 destinations a decade ago, earning a revenue of US$ 618.4 million.