My Dad had Type 2 diabetes. This means my children and I may have a higher risk of developing diabetes if we are not careful with our diet and lifestyle.
The scary thing is that for many who are at risk of diabetes, or already there, the alternative has always been artificial sweeteners. Years ago, it was Nutrasweet and Equal. But aspartame, which is what both are made of, has had problems as recent studies are showing it to be more toxic to the body than helpful.
Now, the popular artificial sweetener is Splenda. But because there are still very few clinical studies using Splenda, it will be years down the road before we know if Splenda is indeed very safe to use or it will go the same way as Nutrasweet and Equal.
Recently, I was invited to attend the launch of an all-natural sweetener, Suchero. The invitation to the launch mentioned that Suchero was coconut sugar so that excited me. Here in the Philippines, we are very rich in coconut resources. Coconut is often called the miracle fruit because its insides and outside parts are all useful. Coconut has been transformed into shampoo, body lotion, soap, virgin coconut oil (VCO) and the husks are used in tropical countries as a floor cleaner for wood. Its juice, alkaline in nature, is drank by those with kidney problems and the flesh is delicious to eat.
Present at the launch were the 3 partners who are behind Suchero: Joey Villa, Antonio Magcase and Vida Pamatian.
Joey Villa gave us the lowdown on how Suchero came about and what is exactly in this sweetener that they believe is a much better alternative to the artificial sweeteners in the market now.
What is so great about Suchero?
The best selling point for Suchero is found in its glycemic index or GI. GI measures the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Anything you eat (like carbohydrates) that release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream has a high GI; conversely, the better foods are those that release glucose more gradually into the bloodstream and have a lower GI. Food with a high GI tax the pancrease unnecessarily because when it senses all that glucose, it signals the brain to release more insulin. Consuming regular food with high GI levels can lead to diabetes.
Cane sugar has a glycemic index of 65; Suchero’s GI is only 35. Doctors who have tried and tested Suchero, Villa said, have been recommending Suchero as a substitute for white sugar for their diabetic patients or patients who need to manage high sugar levels. They are aiming to position Suchero as an affordable, low GI, all-natural sweetener that can help in the proper management of diabetes, weight control, and prevention of heart disease and obesity.
How is Suchero processed and made into sugar?
Suchero is 100% natural and comes from carefully extracted organic coconut sap (or “tuba” in the native Filipino language). It has no additives, artificial coloring or flavoring. Neither does it have preservatives or chemicals. When cooked over low heat in modern facilities, the cocosap’s liquids (see Fig. 2) evaporate until Suchero granules are formed. Unlike artificial sweeteners that leave a bitter aftertaste, Suchero does not have any bitter aftertaste at all. Cocosap is the lone ingredient in Suchero. Suchero is processed in a modern facility purposely built to preserve its purity and low-glycemic claim.
How is Suchero packaged?
Suchero comes in 7 different variants to suit the lifestyles and budgets of different types of consumers.
Is Suchero expensive?
I thought it was. But when Joey Villa ran through the prices, it surprised me that they were around the same price as the Splenda that I last bought for my Mom. A pack of 15 sachets is only around P50, a pack of 55 sachets is P178 and a pack of 250 sachets is only P675. Premium Suchero sells currently at P162 per pouch.
How is Suchero taken? And is there really no bitter aftertaste?
Take my personal word for it. Suchero has absolutely no aftertaste. We were served lunch, including dessert, and all the dishes that needed sugar were substituted with Suchero. We got a plate each of 3 kinds of dessert: Pistachio Sans Rival, an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, and French Apple Torte with Creme Anglais. I went immediately for the sweetest one, the sans rival. I figured that if there was any aftertaste at all, the sweetness of the sansrival would show it. I consumed the entire sans rival without detecting any aftertaste. And may I say, that sans rival was an extremely yummy one at that (thanks to Lindy Santiago of LowCal Cafe Co.)!
I found out that it’s easy to use for baking and cooking because it is a 1:1 substitute for cane sugar. If you need 1 tsp. of sugar, substitute it with 1 tsp. of Suchero.
Where can Suchero be bought?
Supermarkets: Landmark, South Supermarket, Makati Supermarket, Unimart and selected Robinsons Supermarkets
Specialty stores: Echostore, Healthy Picks, weekend markets of Legaspi, Salcedo, Mercato Centrale and Centris
Others: some Generika Drug Stores, doctors’ clinics in Metro Manila
Do restaurants use Suchero already?
YES! And that is good news because now you have more dining options if you or any of your family members are diabetic or watching your sugar intake.
So far the list includes Chateau 1771 in Greenbelt 5; Sentro in Greenbelt 3 and Serendra; Sweet Tomato Grill in St. Luke’s Medical Center; Ativo Restaurant in Makati; Via Mare in St. Luke’s Global City; Sophia’s Mediterranean Deli in Westgate; and Mona Lisa in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.