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    The Top 9 Benefits of Coconuts

    The Top 9 Benefits of Coconuts

    What started as tropical-centric ingredient—think piña coladas, coconut cream pie, you name it—has since become a versatile part of our diets. Beyond the juicy flesh, coconuts can morph into oil, milk (hello, massaman curry!), and even a potassium-rich water that’s perfect post-workout. That kind of flexibility plus a natural, slightly sweet taste is why it’s the centerpiece of so many of our products, from our Dang Bar to our Lightly Salted Coconut Chips.

    The Keto and paleo friendly food is packed with benefits, so let’s get down to the core of coconuts:


    It’s a whole food

    Potato and tortilla chips may offer crunch but these more processed foods lack many nutrients. Coconut chips are a minimalist alternative that offers a similar satisfying “crrrrrunch” and can be a part of your diet whether you’re Keto, vegan, or low carb.


    It’s full of good fats

    Coconut oil is a vegan source of fat and more than half is made of medium chain fatty acids, including medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), a favorite among Keto fans. And unlike long chain fatty acids, which ultimately get processed into fat, MCFAs are burned as energy.


    It’s a natural sweet treat

    If you’ve ever topped your açai bowl or smoothies with unsweetened coconut, you know it imparts a delicate sweetness—no sugar rush here. That’s why we created our Lightly Salted Coconut Chips. The Keto certified, Whole30-approved snack is made of just two ingredients: coconut and sea salt. In fact, our Coconut Chips have up to 90% less sugar than comparable apple chips. We even add coconut milk to nearly every flavor of our Sticky-Rice Chips for a healthy dose of fat, fiber, and that slight sweetness.Dang Unsweetened Lightly Salted Coconut Chips

    It offers a good cholesterol boost

    Coconut oil is particularly good at boosting levels of HDL, known as “good” cholesterol, but be careful on portion size, as it also has LDL cholesterol.


    It’s chock full of potassium

    Much like bananas, potatoes, and cooked spinach, coconut water—the liquid in a young coconut before it matures into the white “meat” we think of—touts a relatively high amount of potassium, which has made it popular as a post-workout drink, especially after strenuous activity. Look for sodium-enriched versions to optimize recovery.


    It promotes dental health

    Have you heard of oil pulling? This centuries-old method with roots in India involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for up to 20 minutes. The rinse is said to remove toxins from your mouth, break down plaque, and produce antioxidants. Added bonus? Whiter teeth and fresher breath.


    It can prevent infection

    Studies have shown that coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties, coming mainly from its powerhouse component lauric acid, can prevent an infection from spreading and diets rich in coconut oil curbed gastrointestinal infections. Try stir-frying veggies in coconut oil or sprinkling coconut chips on breakfast bowls.


    It doubles as skincare

    Pricey creams and serums aren’t the only means to glowing skin—coconut oil works as a powerful moisturizer and as well as a smoothing hair mask (be careful to use it on ends only, or it may take a couple shampoo sessions to get the oil fully out). And lauric acid, which coconut oil has in spades, has been proven to be a better acne treatment compared to traditional zit-fix benzoyl peroxide.

     

    It’s a dairy alternative

    Whether you’re vegan, dairy-intolerant, or just want to consume less animal-based products, coconut milk creamers make for a smooth and rich option that’s 100% plant based. A handheld frother helps achieve that lush texture you might be used to. We’ll drink to that!

    What is a Sticky-Rice Chip?

    What is a Sticky-Rice Chip?

    Sticky-Rice Chips, also known as Thai Rice Chips — Khao Taen — are a snacking staple in Thailand. Typically made with sticky rice (AKA a soft and sticky short grain variety of rice grown in Southeast Asia), you can find these chips in far-ranging and exotic flavors — Crab Curry, anyone? These rice chips are widely available in Northern Thailand, whether it’s street food stands, supermarkets, or your Ya’s (grandma’s) house traditional khao taen in thailand

    Inspired by Northern Thai street snacks, we decided to create our own Thai Rice Chip in 2017.  We named it “Sticky-Rice Chips” for the special type of Thai rice we use. Some people assume the name implies a sticky-to-the-touch chip, but it’s actually crispy with no goo!

    Offering flavors from Seaweed to Sriracha, we steam sticky rice, soak it in fresh watermelon juice and coconut milk, and crisp it up for a crunchy and oh-so-satisfying finish. In fact, we dare you to try eating just one :)

    Other than delicious, what exactly is a Sticky-Rice Chip? Get the scoop from Dang’s founder, Vincent Kitirattragarn.

    coconut-sticky-rice-chips

    Q: Sticky Rice has been a staple food in Asia for thousands of years. As a Thai American, what is the significance of Sticky Rice for you and your family?

    A: My favorite dishes incorporate sticky rice: Khao Neaw Gai Yang (Roasted Chicken with Sticky Rice) is an all-time favorite, and Khao Neaw Mamuang (Mango with Sticky Rice). We often eat it at large family gatherings with plenty of naam jim, or dipping sauce.

    mango-sticky-rice

    Q: What're popular Sticky-Rice Chip flavors in Asia? What's the most unique flavor you've tried?

    A:  Tom Yum - a hot and sour Thai soup! I've tried so many different unique flavors, but always go back to the original.

    Q: How did these traditional Asian flavors influence Dang’s version of Thai Rice Chips?

    A: We wanted our Sticky-Rice Chips to honor our heritage through flavors like Sriracha (named for the city of Sriracha, Thailand; famous for its sauce and close to where we make our coconut chips). Coconut is an obvious one that ties us back to what we started with: coconut chips. Seaweed is another nod, being a fantastic healthy snack that's super popular in Thailand and all of Asia.

    Q: You recently took the entire Dang team to Thailand. Hot dang! How did the Thai locals react after trying your modern take on the traditional Thai Rice Chip?

    A: They immediately recognize it as Khao Taen, and typically find it fascinating that we packaged it and sell such a popular Thai street snack all the way in the US.

    thai-night-market

    Q: What's the star ingredient in your Sticky-Rice Chips?

    A: Fresh Watermelon juice! It's traditionally used as a binder to keep the rice grains together and gives it a touch of sweetness. True to our mission of sharing our culture for a healthier and more flavorful world, we wanted to avoid using corn syrup or bran rice syrup and allow the toasty rice flavor to shine through.

    Adding watermelon juice to Dang Sticky-Rice Chips

    Q: If you were stranded on an island and could only bring one flavor of Sticky-Rice Chips (Original, Coconut, Aged Cheddar, Savory Seaweed, or Sriracha) with you, which flavor would you choose?

    A: Seaweed. Chrissy Teigen happens to love that flavor and I’m with her.

    seaweed-sticky-rice-chips



    Stevia, Monk Fruit & More: Get to Know 8 Alternative Sweeteners

    different sweetener alternatives

    There it is again, that nagging sweet tooth. No matter how focused your wellness routine may be, for some that craving is hard to ignore. It’s a battle between what we want and what we know—and we know that eating too much sugar can lead us down a path of weight gain, inflammation, and more serious issues.

    Thankfully, you don’t have to give it up cold turkey. There’s a wide array of alternatives to traditional refined sugar, many of which have abundant sources of natural sweetness and have been used for centuries. (Hello, stevia and monk fruit!) But how do you determine which is right for you?

    Here, we’ve rounded up 8 of the most common options—Keto and paleo friendly ones too!—to help you better navigate the grocery shelves and better serve your body:

    stevia sweetener alternative

    STEVIA

    Derived from the stevia rebaudiana plant common to Central and South America, this zero-calorie sweetener (pictured above) is made of sweetening compounds called steviol glycosides, including Rebaudioside-A (Reb-A), which can be 250 to 300 times sweeter than sucrose (the main component of cane sugar). It comes with various stamps of approval—from the FDA calling glycosides like Reb-A “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) to the fact that stevia doesn’t spike insulin levels and has been approved by food advocacy groups. And gone are the days of stevia’s unappetizing flavor; its improved profile is much more neutral. That’s why we use this particular sweetener for Dang Bars. Since it packs a sweeter punch, we use just the smallest amount to achieve the best flavor.  

     

    ALLULOSE
    If you follow a Keto friendly diet, chances are you’ve heard of this low calorie sweetener. Found naturally in foods like figs, jackfruit, and raisins, allulose has the taste, texture, and chemical composition of sugar with a fraction of the calories. There’s evidence linking allulose to lowering insulin and glucose levels, but there are some conflicting reports about how it can affect your gut microbiome. 

     

    AGAVE

    Agave plants don’t just provide the base ingredient to tequila. These plants, found mostly in the U.S. Southwest, Mexico, and South America, can also make agave syrup, a sweetener frequently used in beverages and baked goods. It ranks pretty low on the glycemic index (a numerical measure of how foods affect blood-insulin levels; the higher the number, the more it'll cause a spike) but it’s also higher in fructose—more fructose than high-fructose corn syrup in fact. And since fructose is processed by the liver (and not absorbed into the bloodstream), there have been links between excessive fructose consumption and liver damage as well as other health issues.

     

    HONEY

    There’s a lot to love about honey. It has naturally occurring vitamins and antioxidants. It seems like the perfect complement to those summer acai bowls. But honey also clocks in higher on the glycemic index and has more calories per teaspoon than table sugar. Some don’t love the distinct taste, which makes for a difficult 1:1 match.

     

    MAPLE SYRUP

    Think of honey and maple syrup—sourced from the boiled sap of maple trees—as sweet, oozy cousins, rather than siblings. Like honey, it has a similar number of calories per serving, comes with nutrients (zinc, riboflavin, manganese), and is made mostly of fructose. But it reads lower on the glycemic index than honey. 

     

    paleo coconut sugar

     

    MONK FRUIT

    With a history that dates back to 13th century Buddhist monks, this fruit (above) grows in China and Thailand and is available in the U.S. in dried and powdered forms. Studies have shown that the sweetener extracted from the fruit doesn’t affect insulin or glucose levels—it touts zero calories and is 10-250 times sweeter than table sugar—but watch out for some formulas mixed with honey or molasses. Like allulose, it’s newer on the scene, so there are fewer studied side effects. It can also be a pricier option, thanks to the labor-intense growing and drying process, as well as the cost of importing the fruit. 

     

    COCONUT SUGAR

    Though it’s similar in calories to cane sugar, this less processed sugar is pulled from the sap of coconut palm trees and its claims to fame are minerals like iron, magnesium and potassium to keep energy levels balanced, plus mood-boosting vitamin B. Coconut sugar is a paleo friendly choice loved for its brown sugar-like flavor, which is why we picked it for our Caramel Sea Salt Coconut Chips and Coconut Crunch Sticky-Rice Chips—just the smallest amount to give it a a slightly sweet taste. 

     

    SUGAR ALCOHOLS

    You may have seen ingredients like sorbitol and maltitol on packaging. These sugar alcohols are found naturally in certain fruits and veggies (like pineapples, sweet potatoes and seaweed), have fewer calories per gram that table sugar, and don’t interact with plaque bacteria, which means it doesn’t lead to cavities. The big caveat is that sugar alcohols have been linked to digestive issues—think bloating, gas, and diarrhea if eaten in excess—and can disrupt glucose levels.

     

    why we make dang bar with stevia

     

    WHY WE MAKE OUR DANG BARS WITH STEVIA

    When it came to formulating a recipe for Dang Bars we knew it had to be Keto friendly, plant based and sweetened naturally with ingredients that wouldn't spike insulin levels—like honey, maple syrup, agave or regular sugar do—or cause the digestive issues associated with sugar alcohols. But we were picky about the flavor, too. That's why we went with the mild, FDA-approved stevia, which has been studied far more extensively than many other natural options on the scene. Since it's sweeter than refined sugar, the little we use in each bar goes a long way, letting the whole food ingredients like almonds and coconuts shine. It's a simple swap if you're looking to consume less sugar.

    We call that the ultimate sweet spot.

    I’m on a Ketogenic Diet. Will Dang Bar Spike My Blood Glucose?

    I’m on a Ketogenic Diet. Will Dang Bar Spike My Blood Glucose?

    With its ability to transform your waistline, reduce inflammation, and increase your energy levels, the Ketogenic diet is definitely having a moment. This trendy diet doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast. Cue in all the new low carb, low sugar bars, cookies, chips, crackers, protein powders, chocolate, and even cereals. You name it, it’s been “Keto-fied”.  

    There are a lot of viable Keto friendly options out there but sifting through all the nutrition labels and ingredient lists can be overwhelming. Will this sweetener taste bitter? Will that  soluble fiber hurt my stomach? What sugar alcohols will or won’t my body actually process as carbs?

    And perhaps most importantly, what could potentially kick me out of Ketosis? Two ways to really figure this out are 1) blood Ketone measuring or 2) blood glucose tracking.

    The Limitations of Blood Ketone Measuring

    In “The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living”, pioneering Ketone scientists Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney defined nutritional Ketosis as blood Ketone levels ranging from 0.5 - 3.0 mmol/L.

    Ketone levels are typically determined by either using urine or blood strips. It can take over a day for your body’s Ketone levels to increase or decrease and it’s usually what you ate the day before that is affecting your Ketone reading.

    Say you had what you believed to be a perfect Keto day. You properly calculated net carbs for the different snacks you ate, subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols from total carbs, trusting that maltitol in the “Keto” cookie won’t affect your Ketosis. You rocked it and stayed within your allocated 20-50g of carbs.

    But something went wrong. You check your Ketone levels the next day and they’re low. What do you do? If you ate several things the day before it will be difficult to pinpoint what specifically had the adverse effect.

    So how do you tighten the feedback loop between what you ate and understanding the effect it will have on your Ketone levels? Answer: track your blood glucose levels.

    Blood Glucose Levels: Why Track Them?

    Blood glucose or blood sugar is the sugar the bloodstream carries to cells in the body to supply energy. Your blood glucose level is the amount of sugar the blood is transporting during a single instance.

    Blood glucose levels immediately change after eating something and this instantaneous feedback can be a proxy to confirm whether something is or isn’t Keto friendly.

    Your baseline blood glucose level is your normal blood glucose reading before eating. Foods that trigger significant spikes will likely affect your Ketone levels the next day.

    On a Ketogenic diet you don’t want your blood glucose level to spike 30mg or more from your baseline. Within two hours, your blood sugar should be back closer to your baseline.1

    How Does Dang Bar Affect Blood Glucose Levels?

    At Dang Foods we used blood glucose testing as a proxy to confirm Dang Bar is “Keto friendly”. While our bars are formulated with the optimal ratio of macronutrients for a Keto diet, 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbs, we wanted to make sure our ingredients were not spiking blood sugar.  

    As Dang’s most disciplined Ketogenic staff member, I volunteered to be the blood glucose “guinea pig”. Every day for 10 consecutive days, I ate a Dang Bar while in Ketosis, and observed my blood Ketone levels remained between 1.0 and 2.1 mmol/L.

    Results varied from test to test but overall, my average glucose spike after eating a bar was 10mg with the majority of spikes falling between the 0-5mg range.

    All tests within the two week period showed Dang Bar did not spike my blood glucose to 30mg or more, therefore it is not likely to affect blood Ketone levels.

    Dang Bar and KetosisDang Bar has helped thousands of people, including me, stay on track with Keto, but everyone's bodies are different and react to foods differently. If you are unsure about what foods will spike your blood sugar, we strongly advise you to test your own blood glucose after eating Dang Bar or any other food to see how it affects your own ketone levels.

    1Furdek, Sue. “What Do I Need to Know about Optimal Glucose Levels and Glucose-Test Results?” Help Docs & FAQs, Keto-Mojo, 10 Apr. 2019, help.Keto-mojo.com/l/en/article/O7Z4xxuVu4-glucose-range

    Plant Power: The Serious Benefits of Plant Based Proteins

    Dang Bar Plant Based Food
    Hear the word protein and most people would think of a cow or a chicken or maybe an egg—that old-school mantra that protein has to come from an animal. But there’s an ever-expanding world of plant-based eating—tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds and Dang favorite pea protein— reversing everything we thought we knew about protein.

    Read more