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Three cakes of commercially produced palm sugar
Three cakes of commercially produced palm sugar

Palm sugar is a sweetener derived from any variety of palm tree. Palm sugar is sometimes qualified by the type of palm, as in coconut palm sugar. While sugars from different palms may have slightly different compositions, all are processed similarly and can be used interchangeably.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Five Best Sugar Substitutes
  • ✪ Coconut Sugar: Healthy or Unhealthy?
  • ✪ Why palm sugar best substitute for sugar!
  • ✪ Everything You Need to Know About Palm Sugar
  • ✪ How to Use Palm Sugar - The Superfood Sweetener


Hey, guys. Dr. Axe here, Doctor of Functional Medicine and Founder of Today I'm here to share with you my top five natural sweeteners and sugar substitutes, and so this is a big deal today. So many people are over consuming high fructose corn syrup, processed sugar, and just carbs in general. And what I'm going to go over here are my top five natural sweeteners that many of them, not all of them, that many of them still have sugar, but it's much easier for your body to digest and process, and is going to bring the most health benefits to your body. So whether you're looking for sugar substitutes for baking or cooking, or let's say just something to add in your morning tea or smoothie, these are going to be the best five natural sweeteners you can use. And to start with, I'm going to go for my number one natural sweetener, and that's pure, raw honey. Now when you're buying honey, you want it to say raw. You want it to ideally even be from a local source. And so for me, this is an area here in the area of Nashville, Tennessee, where I'm located. And so again, this is a form of honey that I love. And let me say this about honey. One of the reasons it's so beneficial is that honey that is not just a sugar. It's actually a food. Honey doesn't just contain sugar. It also contains amino acids. It contains specific types of electrolytes and antioxidants, and antimicrobial compounds that can really support your body and the health of your body. So pure, raw honey. Now again, you want to use it sparingly, as the proverbs say. You don't want to go overboard with using these sweeteners. But one tablespoon, one to two times daily, is a good, healthy amount that most people can do well with. So again, pure, raw honey. A few other benefit here of honey is that it helps reduce allergy symptoms. And the reason it does it is this local pollen, and this is if you buy local honey, it actually really helps with allergies because it helps your body adapt to local pollen. It's kind of natural immunizations over time, the truth of how we were supposed to adapt to our surroundings, we have in bee pollen, which is found in pure raw, honey. By the way, there was a study at Texas A&M University. They found that about 80% of honey on supermarket shelves don't contain any pollen whatsoever. That's why you've really got to buy the raw stuff if you want the real deal. Also, raw honey contains antimicrobial properties. So I don't just eat honey. I actually use honey, when I get a cut or a wound, I put it in the area. If you have acne or skin issues, you can put it right on the area. So it can actually even be used as a form of natural medicine. And some of my favorite ways to use honey is I use it in the morning with my sprouted, soaked oatmeal sometimes. I'll put it in a breakfast smoothie. I'll use it when I'm making gluten-free pancakes. I'll use it with some green tea. Just a little bit of honey in there to sweeten it up. But again, honey, probably my most used sweetener that I use here on a regular basis. The number two sweetener you should really consider using on a regular basis, and this is especially good if you have blood sugar issues, if you're overweight, or if you have something like diabetes, and that's Stevia. Stevia is a no-calorie, all-natural sweetener that comes from the leaf of, actually, a flowering plant. And Stevia, there are many types of Stevia. Ideally you get full, green-leaf Stevia. Another form of Stevia that's suitable is doing Stevia that is basically just ground and part of it is extracted. Now there are other brands out there today that I am not a fan of, like Truvia, because it's so highly processed. And they'll also add in other chemicals, and they come from GMO corn or add in GMO corn derivatives, and we all know we don't want GMOs in our diet. But SweetLeaf, this is one of my favorite brands I use, this is Stevia. In fact, they even have Stevia flavors. This is, you can get chocolate Stevia, vanilla Stevia, chocolate-raspberry Stevia, pumpkin pie spice Stevia. So there's a lot of different brands. But the great thing about Stevia is there's no sugar involved. And so if you do have diabetes or blood sugar issues, or are looking to lose weight fast, this is a great no-carbohydrate solution. And again, just like using honey sparingly, you shouldn't be dumping this in your foods and going overboard, but just a little bit goes a long way. Just a few drops in your morning tea. I love this with my herbal teas in the morning. I add a little bit sometimes to something like a morning smoothie, a little bit to baking goods or if I'm making homemade pudding. I'll put this in there with some chia seeds and coconut milk and coconut oil. But again, a little bit of Stevia is great, especially if you've got blood sugar issues or weight loss issues. Try some Stevia, my second favorite natural sweetener. My number three natural sweetener are dates. Now dates, we could throw other fruits here into the category, things like raisins, apricots, other dried fruit, pineapple juices. But the great thing about dates are they're also very high in fiber and potassium, as well as other vitamins and minerals. In fact, of all the sweeteners I'm going to go over, dates have the highest nutrient value. Now in terms of phytochemicals that heal the body, honey is the highest, but in terms of actually vitamins and minerals and fiber content, dates are the highest. And that fiber actually slows down sugar absorption. So remember, if we're comparing this to white sugar or high fructose corn syrup, dates are not sugar. Dates are a food that contain sugar, and this food also has fiber and antioxidants, and minerals like potassium, that helps you slowly absorb sugar and really helps regulate sugar within your body. And so dates are very sweet. And I actually love making homemade pecan pie. And so when we do different baking at home and do some of our ingredients, like you'll find in my "Real Food Diet Cookbook", you're going to see we use dates all the time. You mix some dates with some nut butter, and you can make food bars at home. You can make protein bars. You can make pies. This is amazing to add with some pecans and cashews and make a homemade pie crust. And so in baking especially. I make a smoothie at home with some cashew butter and peaches, and you throw some dates in there. Dates are great, actually, just to throw in smoothies. And it's really great if you're into raw food and vegan foods. Dates are probably the number one naturally sweetener used. And again, potassium is great for flushing out toxins. It's great for balancing electrolytes in the body, so this is great for athletes. And again, you don't want to go overboard, but again, dates, a fantastic sweetener. My number three favorite sweetener. Number four on my list is coconut sugar. You can see here we have organic coconut palm sugar. We actually have a vanilla flavor. It's unrefined. It's vegan. It's not GMO. And especially when you're baking, if you're looking for an equal comparison, let's say you're baking a cake and you want a recipe that has the equal amounts of one cup of sugar to one cup of an alternative natural sweetener, well, here you go. Coconut sugar or coconut palm sugar here is the ideal replacement. We know coconut, juice especially, which is where a lot of this comes from, the coconut juice is full of potassium. It's full of electrolytes and nutrients. So again, if you're looking for equal comparison that's nontoxic, non-GMO, that your body's going to be able to digest better, organic coconut palm sugar is better. All of these sweeteners, by the way, they're lower on the glycemic index. Where regular table sugar scores 100, many of these sweeteners score closer to a 50, so half the glycemic index. So it's going to affect your body in a lesser amount to where it's not going to cause your energy levels to drop or increase, spike your insulin levels, increasing your risk of diabetes like a lot of the other sugars out there today. So this is a great replacement, equal replacement, to actual table sugar, especially in baking cookies and pies and things like that. And last but not necessarily least in terms of a natural sweetener is 100% pure, organic maple syrup. And when you buy it, look for Grade B or even a lower grade, even Grade C. But you want a Grade B maple syrup. This is USDA organic. And maple syrup we know is a fantastic sweetener. It's good especially over things like pancakes and waffles. It's good in certain recipes where you want more of that, sort of that earthy flavor along with it. And so again, 100% pure organic maple syrup, another good sweetener to add in. What I would do is get rid of the sugar. By the way, if you just are using regular sugar in your baking and cooking, the majority of that sugar is genetically modified. It comes from genetically modified beets and GMO corn. And so if you just see sugar on a food label that you're buying or you're using regular sugar in baking, we know that that is highly toxic to the body. And why not? It is so easy to replace those fake sugars with real sugar, these natural sugar substitutes and natural sweeteners to use instead. So remember these five natural sweeteners. Raw honey; Stevia; dates; coconut sugar; and pure, organic maple syrup. Use those five natural sugar substitutes and you're going to be a lot healthier for it while satisfying your sweet tooth.



The predominant sources of palm sugar are the Palmyra, date, nipa, sugar and coconut palms.[1]

The Palmyra palm (Borassus spp.) is grown in Africa, Asia, and New Guinea. The tree has many uses, such as thatching, hatmaking, timber, use as a writing material, and in food products. Palm sugar is produced from sap ('toddy') from the flowers.

The date palm has two species, Phoenix dactylifera and P. sylvestris, and both are sources of palm sugar. P. dactylifera is common in the Mediterranean and Middle East. P. sylvestris is native to Asia, mainly Pakistan and India. Date palms are cultivated mainly for dates. Palm sugar is made from the tree's sap.

The nipa palm (Nypa fruticans) is native to the coastlines and tropical regions of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the only palm tree that grows in a watery mangrove biome. Only its leaves and flowers grow above water. Palm sugar is made from the sugar-rich sap.

The sugar palm (Arenga pinnata) is native to the coastal and tropical regions of Asia, mainly China and Indonesia. The sap used to produce palm sugar is known in India as gur and in Indonesia as gula aren.

The coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) yields coconut palm sugar from the sap of its flowers. It grows in coastal areas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Major suppliers are Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.


Palm sugar is produced by boiling collected sap until it thickens.[2][3][4] The boiled sap can be sold as palm syrup. It is sold in bottles or tins and tends to thicken and crystallize over time. The boiled sap can also be solidified and sold in the form of bricks or cakes. It can range in color from golden brown to dark brown or almost black, like Indonesian gula aren.[5]


Palm sugar is an ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes used throughout Asia,[6] the Middle East and North Africa.[7]

Local variants

Klepon or onde-onde kue filled with palm sugar (gula jawa or gula melaka)
Klepon or onde-onde kue filled with palm sugar (gula jawa or gula melaka)

Palm sugar is known in many names and many variants, depends on its ingredient, production method, or the region. It is known as gula jawa (Javanese sugar) in Indonesia,[8] and gula melaka in Malaysia. There is specific difference on palm sugar naming in Indonesia; if it is made from coconut, it is called as gula jawa or gula merah (red sugar),[9] on the other hand gula aren (aren sugar) refer to palm sugar that specifically made from the sap of aren palm flowerbuds. Gula jawa has an earthy aroma and deep sweetness with a darker color closely resembling molasses,[8] while gula aren has paler color.[9]

Gula melaka is a type of palm sugar made from the sap of flower buds from the coconut palm or, less commonly, other palms.[10] It can be dense and sticky. It is known in English as "malacca sugar",[10] probably because it originated in the state of Malacca, Malaysia,[11] which is called "Melaka" in Malay. Traditionally, gula melaka is made by first extracting the sap from the flower bud of a coconut tree.[11] Several slits are cut into the bud and a pot is tied underneath to collect the sap. The sap is then boiled until it thickens. Next, the sap is poured into bamboo tubes 3–5 inches (7.6–13 cm) long and left to solidify to form cylindrical cake blocks.[12][11] Due to the labor involved in production it is often more expensive than the ubiquitous caster sugar. It is used in some savoury dishes but mainly in the local desserts and cakes of the Southeast Asian region.

A bowl of gula melaka sago
A bowl of gula melaka sago

Gula melaka sago pudding is a dessert made with gula melaka[13] and a common hot or cold dish of Peranakan (Chinese–Malay) origin. Other examples include chendol and ondeh ondeh, a ball-shaped dessert made from glutinous rice flour, filled with gula melaka, and covered in shredded coconut.

See also


  1. ^ "Palm Sugar in Germany" (PDF). Import Promotion Desk (IPD). CBI, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  2. ^ Vaughan, John; Geissler, Catherine (2009). The New Oxford Book of Food Plants. OUP Oxford. p. 107. ISBN 9780191609497.
  3. ^ Borin, Khieu (1998). "Sugar palm (Borassus flabellifer): potential feed resource for livestock in small-scale farming systems". FAO World Animal Review. 91.
  4. ^ Dalibard, Christophe (1999). "Overall view on the tradition of tapping palm trees and prospects for animal production". FAO Livestock Research for Rural Development. 11 (1).
  5. ^ Eckhardt, Robyn (2017-01-10). "Confessions of a palm sugar addict". Saveur. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  6. ^ Kitchen, Leanne (2015-07-14). "10 ways with palm sugar". Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). Australia. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  7. ^ Heine, Peter (2004). Food Culture in the Near East, Middle East, and North Africa. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 58. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Gula Jawa- Indonesian Palm Sugar or Red Sugar". Asian Fusion. 2010-10-15. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  9. ^ a b "Coconut Sugar (Gula Jawa, Gula Merah) | Indonesia Eats | Authentic Online Indonesian Food Recipes". Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  10. ^ a b Eckhardt, Robyn (January 10, 2017). "Confessions of a Palm Sugar Addict". Saveur. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Loh, A. (2015). Malacca Reminiscences. Partridge Publishing Singapore. p. 254. ISBN 978-1-4828-5489-3. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  12. ^ Wee, S. (2012). Growing Up In A Nyonya Kitchen: Singapore Recipes from my Mother. Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Private Limited. p. 38. ISBN 978-981-4435-00-0. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  13. ^ Sri Owen's Indonesian Food. Pavilion Books. 2014. p. 309. ISBN 978-1-909815-47-6. Retrieved April 22, 2017.

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