Coconut Sugar on the Keto Diet: A Sweetener to Avoid

If you’re a keto enthusiast, you understand the importance of carefully selecting low-carb sweeteners. Today, we delve into the world of coconut sugar. Is coconut sugar keto-friendly? How many carbs does it contain? And what are some suitable substitutes? Let’s find out.

Is Coconut Sugar Keto?

Coconut sugar has gained popularity as a supposedly healthier alternative to regular table sugar. However, its true nature is not yet fully understood, and excessive consumption may lead to various health concerns.

Unraveling Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is derived from the sap or nectar that flows through coconut trees, similar to the way maple syrup is collected. Producers transform this nectar into granulated coconut sugar by allowing it to dry and crystallize. The resulting pieces are then broken down to obtain recognizable granules.

While coconut sugar closely resembles brown sugar in texture, some people mistakenly associate it with palm sugar. Although the production process is similar, palm sugar comes from a different type of tree.

Compatibility with Keto

Contrary to expectations, coconut sugar is not considered keto-friendly due to its high carbohydrate content. Just one tablespoon of coconut sugar contains approximately 12 grams of carbs, which can elevate blood sugar levels and disrupt the metabolic state of ketosis.

The Flavorful Twist

Interestingly, coconut sugar doesn’t actually taste like the coconut fruit. Instead, it offers a mild caramel flavor. Visually, it has a light brown hue and a texture reminiscent of brown sugar.

Is Coconut Sugar Keto

Nutritional Snapshot

A teaspoon of coconut sugar (4g) provides the following:

  • Calories: 15
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0g
  • Carbohydrate: 4g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Protein: 0g
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Better Alternatives

Although coconut sugar doesn’t align with a keto diet, there are several low-carb alternatives that are perfect for your keto journey. Consider the following substitutes:

  1. Erythritol: This sugar alcohol mimics the taste of sugar and triggers sweet receptors on your tongue.
  2. Monk Fruit: A natural sweetener derived from a southern Chinese shrub, monk fruit contains natural compounds responsible for its sweetness and antioxidant properties.
  3. Stevia: Unlike regular sugar, stevia has been shown to help lower blood sugar levels in various studies.
  4. Allulose: A rare natural sugar that resembles white sugar but has minimal impact on blood sugar levels and only 10% of the calories.
  5. Xylitol: Another sugar alcohol commonly used in keto desserts, xylitol has fewer calories than sugar and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. However, it may cause digestive issues in some individuals when consumed in large quantities.

There is one exception where you can still make use of coconut sugar in keto recipes – yeast-proofing. When you use coconut sugar to facilitate fermentation, the sugar is consumed entirely by the yeast, leaving behind no added sugar. This exception is particularly relevant for Keto Hot Cross Buns or Keto Pretzels, where the keto-friendliness remains intact.

The Verdict

While coconut sugar may not be the best choice for those following a keto diet, there are plenty of low-carb sweeteners available to satisfy your cravings without compromising your goals.


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