The Health Benefits of Coconut

Courtesy of coconutbenefits.com

COCONUT AND ITS ANTI-BACTERIAL FUNCTIONS

Lauric acid, the major fatty acid from the fat of the coconut, has been recognized for its unique properties in food use, which are related to its antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal functions. Desiccated coconut is about 69% coconut fat, as is creamed coconut. Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria, including listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid.

Also, approximately 6-7% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are capric acid. Capric acid is another medium chain fatty acid, which has a similar beneficial function when it is formed into monocaprin in the human or animal body. Monocaprin has also been shown to have antiviral effects against HIV and is being tested for antiviral effects against herpes simplex and antibacterial effects against chlamydia and other sexually transmitted bacteria.

Adapted from: Coconut: In Support of Good Health in the 21st Century by Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., F.A.C.N.
Full story: http://coconutoil.com/coconut_oil_21st_century

MONOLAURIN AND AIDS

Monolaurin is an antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride that your body makes from the lauric acid in the fat in motherís milk, in cowís milk, and lauric fats such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil. The largest and easiest source of lauric acid is coconut oil (and or course whole coconut products). There is extensive scientific literature on its efficacy. Lauric acid is turned into monolaurin in the gut and this is what keeps infants fed human milk from getting sick even when they exposed to lipid coated viruses and various pathogenic organisms.

The AIDS virus is killed by monolaurin. Why it is not more extensively used is probably related to the fact that most people donít understand what it does and why it does it, even when you explain the effects. There have been some reported benefits for several years from both monolaurin capsules and coconut; however, this has all been anecdotal reporting and there have not been any properly conducted clinical trial.

Source: Know Your Fats. The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol. Enig, Mary, G. Ph.D. 2000.

COCONUT AS THE NATURAL SOURCE OF LAURIC ACID

Lauric acid or dodecanoic acid, its chemical name, is the most potent fatty acid there is. Most of it is naturally found in coconut oil. More than half of the fatty acids found in coconut oil is lauric (C12). Together with caprylic acid (C8) and capric acid (C10), these three make up the medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) content of coconut oil.

MCFAs are the “antimicrobial powerhouse” behind coconut oil’s ability to cure and prevent a growing list of disease and illness. Lauric, capric and caprylic acids and their respective monoglycerides, monolaurin, monocaprin and monocaprylin, all exhibit antimicrobial activity that boosts your immune system. Of all the MCFAs, lauric (C12) acid appears to have the greatest overall effect.

Below are just some of the microorganisms destroyed by this mighty MCFA.

  • AIDS virus (HIV)
  • Chlamydia pneumoniae
  • Herpes simplex virus II
  • Gram-positive organisms
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Group A, B, F, and G streptococci
  • Helicobacter pylor
  • Measles virusi
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Leukemia virus
  • Streptococcus agalactiae
  • Influenza virus
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Hemophilus influenzae
  • Sarcoma virus
  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Lauric acid is not just about killing bacteria, viruses, fungi and other harmful organisms. This magnificent MCFA tends to improve cholesterol ratio by increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. It also enhances the ability of your pancreas to secrete insulin.

Source: http://www.coconut-oil-central.com/lauric-acid.html

COCONUT OIL HAS LOWER FAT CALORIES THAN OTHER OILS AND FATS

Coconut oil is the world’s only, low-calorie fat. Coconut oil has at least 2.56% fewer calories per gram of fat than other fats and oils. The coconut oil contains only 6.8 calories per gram versus 9 calories per gram for other oils. It is unique among oils in that it promotes weight loss.

Coconut oil is thermogenic. The special fats in coconut oil called medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) are not stored in your body as fat. It raises the bodyís metabolism, and even prevents the accumulation of fat by burning calories and converting fat into energy. Coconut oil is a natural fat burner and bodyís energy booster since its digestion is different from that of carbohydrates and bodyís energy booster since its digestion is different from that of carbohydrates and protein. It is ideal for weight loss.

Source: COCONUT: PHILIPPINES. Villafuerte-Abonal, Lalaine. 2007.

HEALTH FACTS ABOUT COCONUTS

  • Coconut oil has lower calories than any other fats.
  • MCFAs in coconut oil promote thermogenesis which increases the body’s metabolism.
  • MCFA in coconut oil is faster to digest and has better solubility in biological fluids.
  • Coconut oil is used to facilitate absorption of calcium and magnesium, both of which are essential for bone development.
  • MCFA in coconut oil can destroy illness-causing viruses, fungi and bacteria easily on contact similar to the colostrums of motherís milk.
  • Lauric acid in coconut oil is good for geriatric patients as it contributes to faster surgical recovery.
  • MCFAs in coconut oil can kill gram-positive cocci.
  • Capric and lauric acid in coconut oil can kill Candida albicans, a common yeast infection found in those who have used antibiotic excessively.

COCONUT CONTAINS ZERO TRANS FATS

What is trans-fat?

Trans-fat, also called Trans fatty acids (TFA), is formed when hydrogen is added to a vegetable oil to make a more solid fat like shortening or margarine. This process is called hydrogenation, and it is used to increase the shelf life and maintain the flavor and texture of foods.

Trans-fats behave like saturated fats by raising the ìbadî cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which may increase risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), a leading cause of death in the United States.

Source: Trans Fat Fact Sheet. USDA. http://www.fns.usda.go
Full story: http://www.fns.usda.gov

COCONUT IS GOOD FOR DIABETICS

Blood sugar is an important issue for anyone who is concerned about heart disease, overweight, hypoglycaemia, and especially diabetes because it affects all of these conditions.

Carbohydrates in our foods are broken down in the digestive tract and converted into glucose (blood sugar). Meals that contain a high concentration of carbohydrates, particularly simple carbohydrates such as sugar and refined flours, cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. Since elevated blood sugar can lead to a coma and death, insulin is frantically pumped into the blood stream to avoid this. If insulin is produced in adequate amounts blood sugar is soon brought back down to normal. This is what happens in most individuals. However, if insulin is not produced quickly enough or if the cells become desensitized to the action of insulin, blood glucose can remain elevated for extended periods of time. This is what happens in diabetes.

Dietary fiber helps moderate swings in blood sugar by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. This helps keep blood sugar and insulin levels under control. Coconut fiber has been shown to be very effective in moderating blood sugar and insulin levels. For this reason, coconut is good for diabetics.

Diabetics are encouraged to eat foods that have a relatively low glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how foods affect blood sugar levels. The higher the glycemic index, the greater an effect a particular food has on raising blood sugar. So diabetics need to eat foods with a low glycemic index. When coconut is added to foods, including those high in starch and sugar, it lowers the glycemic index of these foods. This was clearly demonstrated by T. P. Trinidad and colleagues in a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2003. In their study, both normal and diabetic subjects were given a variety of foods to eat. Some of the types of food included cinnamon bread, granola bars, carrot cake, and brownies, all foods that a diabetic must ordinarily limit because of their high sugar and starch content. It was found that as the coconut content of the foods increased, the blood sugar response between the diabetic and non-diabetic subjects became nearly identical. In other words, coconut moderated the release of sugar into the bloodstream so that there was no spike in blood glucose levels. As the coconut content in the foods decreased, the diabetic subjectsí blood sugar levels became elevated, as would normally be expected from eating foods high in sugar and white flour. This study showed that adding coconut to foods lowers the glycemic index of the foods and keeps blood sugar levels under control. Sweet foods such as cookies and cakes made using coconut flour do not affect blood sugar levels like those made with wheat flour. This is good news for diabetics who want a treat now and then without adversely affecting their blood sugar.

Source: Coconut Flour: A Low Carb, Gluten-Free, Alternative to Wheat by Bruce Fife, ND.
Full story: http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/newsletter-sample.htm

CAN COCONUT OIL BE ATHEROGENIC?

According to the universally accepted Lipid-Heart Theory, high saturated fats cause hypercholesterolemia and coronary heart disease. Coronary morbidity and mortality are said to be highest in the countries and peoples consuming the highest amounts of saturated fats. Coconut oil, with its saturated medium chain fats, has been especially condemned for this reason. The true facts are just the opposite. The countries consuming the highest amounts of coconut oil ñ the Polynesians, Indonesians, Sri Lankans, Indians, Filipinos ñ have not only low serum cholesterol but also low coronary heart disease rates – morbidity and mortality.

The reason why coconut oil cannot be atherogenic is basic. Coco oil consists predominantly of 65% medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) and MCFAs are metabolized rapidly in the liver to energy and do not participate in the biosynthesis and transport of cholesterol. Coconut oil, in fact, tends to raise the HDL and lower the LDL:HDL ratio. Coco oil is not deposited in adipose tissues and therefore does not lead to obesity. It is primarily an energy supplier and as fast a supplier of energy as sugar.

MCFAs, therefore, differ in their metabolism from all the long chain fatty acids, whether saturated or unsaturated.

The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis has recently taken a complete paradigm shift – from a simple deposition of cholesterol and cholesterol esters to an inflammatory condition where numerous genetically dependent factors – dyslipoproteinemias, dysfunctions of endothelial and other cells leading to invasions of the subendothelial region by macrophages, smooth muscle cells, leukocytes and T cells ñ all interplay in a scenario still not fully understood. This will be discussed at length and whatever role fat deposition plays appears late in atherogenesis and secondary to oxidation process and the overriding role of the dysfunctional endothelium. Coconut oil has no role at all to play in this highly complex and still ill-understood process.

Adapted from: COCONUT OIL: Atherogenic or Not? By Conrado S. Dayrit, MD, FPCC, FPCP, FACC. Philippine Journal Of Cardiology. July-September 2003, Volume 31 Number 3:97-104.
Full story PDF: http://www.coconutoil.com/DayritCardiology.pdf

COCONUT CONTAINS HIGH AMOUNT OF DIETARY FIBER

Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber:

  • Aids weight control and reduces risk of developing obesity.
  • Forms a vital part of the diet by adding mass to the stool which eases elimination.
  • Soluble dietary fibers can be useful for controlling blood glucose in patients with diabetes.
  • Soluble dietary fiber also inhibits cholesterol absorption from small intestines thereby reducing serum cholesterol.
  • Plays a key role in preventing cancer of the large intestines commonly called colon cancer.

Sources: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release

COCONUT FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity.

Assunão ML, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, Cabral CR Jr, Florêncio TM.

Faculdade de Nutricão, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Maceió, AL 57072-970, Brazil.

Abstract

The effects of dietary supplementation with coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting waist circumferences (WC) >88 cm (abdominal obesity) were investigated. The randomized, double-blind, clinical trial involved 40 women aged 20-40 years. Groups received daily dietary supplements comprising 30 mL of either soybean oil (group S; n = 20) or coconut oil (group C; n = 20) over a 12-week period, during which all subjects were instructed to follow a balanced hypocaloric diet and to walk for 50 min per day. Data were collected 1 week before (T1) and 1 week after (T2) dietary intervention. Energy intake and amount of carbohydrate ingested by both groups diminished over the trial, whereas the consumption of protein and fiber increased and lipid ingestion remained unchanged. At T1 there were no differences in biochemical or anthropometric characteristics between the groups, whereas at T2 group C presented a higher level of HDL (48.7 +/- 2.4 vs. 45.00 +/- 5.6; P = 0.01) and a lower LDL:HDL ratio (2.41 +/- 0.8 vs. 3.1 +/- 0.8; P = 0.04). Reductions in BMI were observed in both groups at T2 (P < 0.05), but only group C exhibited a reduction in WC (P = 0.005). Group S presented an increase (P < 0.05) in total cholesterol, LDL and LDL:HDL ratio, whilst HDL diminished (P = 0.03). Such alterations were not observed in group C. It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity.

Source: Pubmed. US National Library of Medicine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058
Full story: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058 

Coconut Products and Their Uses

Each component of the coconut, from husk and fiber to the natural extracts has an extremely valuable route to market, which contributes to increasing the value of the crop. Able to outlive any man who plants it, the coconut tree’s ability to supply an abundance of essential nutrients has earned it the titles of ‘Jewel of the Tropics’, ‘King of Trees’ and ‘The Tree of Life’. Some of the most valuable products are gathered below, but the list is by no means comprehensive.

Activated Carbon Filtration

Extensive research in this field is producing multiple industry applications for activated carbon produced from coconut husks and shells. Traditional uses in water purification for both groundwater and drinking water filtration are being joined by applications in nuclear plants, solvent recovery and utilization in catalytic converters.

  • A high carbon content makes coconut shells a perfect source to produce activated carbon
  • Coconut based activated carbon has the most microporous pore structure, and has the highest hardness compared to other types of activated carbon. This makes it the best carbon for water filtration
  • It generates the least ash during production
  • The carbon can be reactivated
Lauric Acid

Coconut Oil contains 50% lauric acid, most commonly used in soap production and manufacturing cosmetics. In humans, lauric acid is converted into monolaurin, a compound which has antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

Biodiesel

Coco-Biodiesel is created by processing pure coconut oil and converting it to a diesel-like product. It is set to become a more prominent part of the worldwide biofuel blend as pressure mounts on international governments to employ cleaner burning and non-toxic alternative fuels from renewable sources. Biodiesels will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and can be used in diesel engines without modifications.

  • Brazil is one of the world’s largest biofuel consumers and has 10 million flex-fuel cars on its roads
  • The global consumption of ethanol and biodiesel is projected to reach 135 billion gallons by the year 2018
  • Coconut oil burns more slowly than diesel engines, reducing engine wear and lubricating the engine more efficiently
Fibers

Coconut husk fibers, also known as coir, come from the large outer casing that surrounds the hard brown nut. These tough fibers are used to make mats, packaging, mattresses and brushes. It can even be rubberized and used as an eco-friendly alternative to plastics, an application car manufacturer Ford is currently researching.

Husks and Shells

The husks and shells have historically been used as charcoal and as a potting medium for growing saplings. However, the most recent demand, and one that looks set to grow, is the use of the husks and shell as biomass fuel.

  • Biomass energy is responsible for over 75 per cent of the world’s renewable energy, and demand for woody biomass is increasing rapidly
  • Global demand for biomass products is estimated to increase by 600 per cent over the next 20 years, according to the International Institute for Environment and Development
Milk

Coconut milk is made by pressing the flesh of the coconut or by passing hot water or milk through grated coconut.

There is a high demand for this product within the food industry, particularly in the Asian market where it features in many traditional dishes.

The milk is a premium cooking product in Western markets and is being added to shopping baskets more readily as consumers develop a taste for Eastern flavors.

Water

The sweet water from young coconuts is a refreshing, nutrient-packed liquid ubiquitous in tropical countries like Brazil, Indonesia and India where coconut trees are indigenous.

Coconut water is expanding beyond its traditional markets. Beverage giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, and a host of smaller niche suppliers, are promoting the product to a wider global market.

  • The latest available data shows that the market for coconut water in key demographics grew by 26% annually between 2007-11
  • Although still in its infancy, the coconut water market in the United States was valued at $350m in 2012 and continues to experience super-normal growth
  • Brazil, with the world’s fifth biggest population (196m people), is the largest market for packaged coconut water, where it accounts for 70% of total beverage volume sales
  • More than 200 brands are now in the global marketplace, including major players Vita Coco, Zico (Coca-Cola has a stake in the company) and O.N.E. (PepsiCo’s investment). PepsiCo also owns Amacoco, Brazil’s largest coconut water producer
  • Celebrities have played a major role in boosting the commercial profile of coconut water brands; Vita Coco has chosen Rihanna to front its international marketing and Madonna has invested directly in the company.
Oil

Coconut oil is a stable and well-established commodity that has been traded globally for more than fifty years.

Extracted from the dried white flesh of the coconut, coconut oil is a multi-purpose liquid that can be used as a cholesterol cutting cooking oil, healthcare product and biofuel feedstock.

  • The oil is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial
  • Coconut oil products have been shown to tackle Alzheimer’s, tooth decay and all manner of medical conditions
  • It is increasingly popular in the pharmaceutical industry which is ploughing millions of dollars into further research of its medicinal properties
  • The price of coconut oil has more than doubled over the last decade and exports of virgin coconut oil to major Western markets have doubled in the last year

The Truth About Coconut Oil

American Coconut Association Statement

We collectively respect the American Heart Association (AHA) and its general research in advancing heart health; however, we respectfully disagree with their findings on coconut oil. The statement from the AHA has created some confusion and sharing of misinformation. Knowledge is power and it is important to clarify a few important points. Coconut oil was never positioned as low in saturated fats and not all saturated fats are equal. The AHA did not qualify or differentiate between the medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) found in coconut from the long chain triglycerides found in animal fats. In addition, coconut oil contains no cholesterol, while animal fats do.

The saturated fats found in coconut oil is fairly unique in that in that they are made up of short and medium chain fatty acids, which are metabolized differently in the body than the longer chain fatty acids that make up the saturated fats in animal sources.

Studies have demonstrated that MCTs are absorbed directly into the blood stream and are converted to ketones in the liver, where they are then burned as energy rather than absorbed in the body. MCTs make up the majority of fatty acids in coconut oil – around 65% – and do not act in the same way in the body as longer chain saturated fatty acids. The MCTs in high-quality coconut oil like organic virgin coconut oil (which is made from fresh and cold-pressed coconut meat) have been shown to increase metabolism.

As a society of informed consumers, education and sharing of accurate, science backed information is one of our most powerful tools. There are numerous articles from leading experts in the nutrition, medical, and holistic fields, as well as, scientific studies with in depth information supporting the benefits of coconut oil. We encourage you to explore these works to make the best decision for your own personal health and wellness

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26545671

United Coconut Associations of the Philippines, Inc.

UNITED COCONUT ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES (UCAP) ON THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION (AHA)WARNING ON SATURATED FAT

JUNE 21, 2017: The AHA issued last June 15 a Presidential Advisory on Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease(CVD), effectively a warning on saturated fat. This has gone viral with coconut oil unfortunately on the receiving end because coconut oil is a saturated fat. With a respectable body like AHA, any warning on cardiovascular health gets a lot of weight on people’s perception.

Such warning on coconut oil, however, is not new at all. It has been there for the last 35 years and in eight editions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. While the warning is on saturated fats, notably animal fats, coconut oil was included because saturated fats generally connote coconut oil and vice• versa. Coconut oil is not a home-grown oil in the US. Despite the guidelines calling for reduction in the intake of saturated fats, data indicate heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the US, thus a total failure.

It all started from a saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis that Ansel Keys proposed back in 1957 that aimed to show a direct correlation between cholesterol and heart disease. However, this was never proven even to this day. Researches done to prove the hypothesis were fatally flawed and biased against coconut oil. For example, the human feeding studies used hydrogenated coconut oil while the observational studies included coconut oil which was only a minor part of the population’s diet. Keys knew beforehand that hydrogenated oils raise serum cholesterol and triglycerides. Other studies such as the Minnesota Coronary Survey, the Sydney Heart Study, and the Women’s Health Initiative were rejected by AHA because results refuted the hypothesis.

Lately, the US Dietary Guidelines has recommended low-fat and low-saturated fat in the diet. The recommendation has increased the incidence of rising obesity, diabetes and other metabolic diseases as this resulted into higher consumption of sugar and carbohydrates. Moreover, the Guidelines also resulted into a diet high in omega-6 fatty acid and low omega-3 fatty acid at a ratio of 15:1, far from the ideal 4:1. Such a high ratio is blamed for CVD, cancer and chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

There have been no indications that saturated fats or coconut oil as having caused inflammation, therefore not a culprit in CVD. Alternatively, there is much less consumption of coconut oil in food in the US where the main vegetable oils used are soybean oil and corn oil. Besides, more recent and updated studies reveal dietary cholesterol is not the culprit in cardiovascular disease, but inflammation.

The 2017 AHA Presidential Advisory selectively cited old research that is supportive of their intent to correlate saturated fats with CVD. It failed to distinguish medium-chain saturated fats and long-chain saturated fats. Coconut oil is mostly medium-chain saturated fats, which is the healthy type of fat.

The website of The Coconut Research Center (coconutresearchcenter.org) compiles thousands of studies on coconut oil and cardiovascular health and other ailments. This resource will provide an overwhelming amount of research to support coconut oil as a healthy oil.

We call on readers and users of coconut oil to be discerning of this advisory, and the news articles who draw the wrong conclusion to misinform consumers. More recent and updated studies establish that there is no direct correlation between coconut oil and CVD.

Truly, history is repeating itself. The smear campaign against coconut oil is a rehash of the anti-tropical oils campaign waged by the American Soybean Association in the 1980s. The anti-coconut oil sentiment is back and this time has gone viral because of technology.

There is a motive behind the AHA Presidential Advisory and it is being used to misinform the public. We urge users of coconut oil to draw on their personal experiences. Recognize its health benefits, and join us in overcoming the malicious campaign on coconut oil.

Refer: United Coconut Association of the Philippines 4f Coconut Center, 291 Dansalan St. Bgy. Barangka llaya, Mandaluyong City Tel: (+63-2) 5310351 Email:ucap@ucap.org.ph

Coconut Oil: The Truth Behind the American Heart Association Advisory on Saturated Fats Are Bad for Heart Health

By Dr. Bruce Fife, CN, ND

The AMA (AHA) report is written specifically to denounce coconut oil using deceptive tactics. There is nothing new here, it is the same old argument that saturated fats raise cholesterol and the evil cholesterol is going to kill you.

You cannot say LDL is bad and HDL is good. It is more complex than that. There are actually two types of LDL: one small and dense the other large and soft. The large LDL is a good cholesterol the type used to make bile, hormones, and vitamin D–it is essential to life! The small dense LDL is the type that becomes oxidized and can be harmful, as all oxidized lipids can be. Eating coconut oil (and other saturated fats) increases both HDL and the “good” LDL, thus lowering the risk of heart disease. This is one of the reasons why populations that eat a lot of coconut oil have the lowest heart disease rates in the world.

Articles and studies criticizing coconut oil (and other saturated fats) do not make the distinction between the two types of LDL and simply call them all bad–this is bad science! The authors purposely do this to slant the article in an effort to deceive the reader–most of whom do not understand that that are two types of LDL.

The AMA (AHA) report is simply a marketing gimmick sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry to keep the outdated and false cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis alive and promote the sales of cholesterol drugs.

The Warning on Saturated Fat: From Defective Experiments to Defective Guidelines

Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit Professor, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines Chairman, Scientific Advisory Committee for Health, Asian and Pacific Coconut Community June 19, 2017

Abstract

Coconut oil has been adversely affected by the current dietary guidelines that advocate a lowering of total fat and the replacement of saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat. This recommendation has its origins in the saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis that Ancel Keys first proposed in 1957. This hypothesis became an official recommendation with the publication of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 1980 and has been adopted by many other countries and international agencies. The dietary recommendations also warn against coconut oil. Recently, the American Heart Association re-issued this warning in its 2017 Presidential Advisory. However, a critical review of the experiments that Keys conducted has revealed experimental errors and biases that cast serious doubt on the correctness of his hypothesis and the warnings against coconut oil. Further, the recommendation to decrease saturated fat recommendation effectively means an increase in unsaturated fat in the diet. The actual result has been an increase in omega-6 fats and a high omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio. This unhealthy ratio has been linked to heart disease, the very disease that the AHA wants to target, as well as cancer and inflammatory diseases. Defective experiments have led to defective guidelines. This first paper in this series of papers will present these errors and biases and address the points raised by the AHA.

Abbreviations: AHA: American Heart Association; CHD: coronary heart disease; CVD: cardiovascular disease; HFCS: high fructose corn syrup; MCS: Minnesota Coronary Survey; PUFA: polyunsaturated fatty acid; SDHS: Sydney Diet Heart Study; SFA: saturated fatty acid

Introduction: the Dietary Guidelines

The Vital Statistics of the United States 1976 listed “diseases of heart” as the leading cause of death in the US (USDHHS, 1980). From 1980 to 2015, there were eight editions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans which sought to address the problem of heart disease. In all eight editions of the Dietary Guidelines, there was one warning that was consistent: “Decrease overall fat intake and replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat.” However, in 2016, heart disease continued to be the leading cause of death in the US (CDC, 2016).In its 2017 Presidential Advisory, the American Heart Association continued to emphatically recommend that “lowering intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, will lower the incidence of CVD (Sacks et al., 2017).

Albert Einstein famously defined insanity as: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This essay aims to show how the Dietary Guidelines and the AHA recommendation are examples of insanity.

The warning against “saturated fat” is virtually the same recommendation that Ancel Keys made in the 1950s. The Keys hypothesis, generally known as the saturated fat- cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis, states that saturated fats raise serum cholesterol which in turn increases the risk for heart disease. Although the saturated fats that are most often studied are animal fats, coconut oil is often included in this warning because it is a saturated fat.

This first paper will discuss the basis for the recommendations against coconut oil and saturated fat. We will review of the work of Ancel Keys which reveals several errors that invalidate his strictures against coconut oil.

Errors in the Keys experiments

Keys committed several serious errors that cast doubt on the validity of his saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis with respect to coconut oil. He conducted both human feeding and observational studies. In his human feeding studies, Keys used hydrogenated coconut oil, while in his observational studies coconut oil was only a minor component of the population’s diet. Finally, Keys was never able to unambiguously prove his hypothesis and refused to acknowledge results that contradicted his hypothesis.

Keys used hydrogenated coconut oil in his human feeding studies

In 1957,Keys published two important papers, one in the Journal of Nutrition (Anderson, Keys & Grande, 1957) and the other in Lancet (Keys, Anderson, Grande, 1957) on controlled feeding studies using schizophrenic patients from the Hastings State Hospital, businessmen in Minnesota, and Japanese coalminers in Shime, Japan. These were relatively small, short-term feeding studies with the number of subjects ranging from 16 to 66. In these studies, Keys wanted to compare the effects on serum cholesterol of feeding monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats versus saturated fats. For sources of unsaturated fats, he used corn oil, olive oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, and sardine oil. For sources of saturated fats, he used butterfat, margarine and hydrogenated coconut oil (Hydrol) in the Minnesota experiment and margarine in the Shime experiment.

The use of hydrogenated fats – margarine and Hydrol – in this feeding study casts doubt on the validity of the conclusions of this work regarding the effects of coconut oil. It was already known in the 1920s that hydrogenation of vegetable oils produced trans fats (Hilditch & Vidyarthi, 1929). In 1957, the same year when both Keys papers came out, it was reported that trans fats were deposited in various human tissues, such as adipose tissues, liver, aortic tissue, and atheroma of those who died of atherosclerosis (Johnston, Johnson, Kummerow, 1957). In a 1961 paper on hydrogenated fats, Keys himself noted that hydrogenated oils raised serum cholesterol and triglycerides (Anderson, Grande, Keys, 1961). Therefore, the increase in serum cholesterol that Keys observed may have been due to the trans fats in margarine and hydrogenated coconut oil and this would make his conclusions invalid. The use of hydrogenated coconut oil may also have biased Keys’s judgment against coconut oil.

The Seven Countries Study was not a representative study

Keys described the evolution of the Seven Countries Study in a book that he published in 1980. Keys conducted initial studies on CHD in 1947 in Minnesota on healthy businessmen and professionals. In 1952, this study expanded to include Italy and Spain, in 1956, Japan and Finland. The aim of these studies was to identify dietary and lifestyle factors in apparently healthy middle-aged men that contributed to CHD. However, this study had two built-in limitations which would give results that are not representative. First, to ensure higher probability of successful follow-up (every 5 years), the study targeted rural populations so that 11 of the 16 cohorts studied were rural populations. For the US, since the stability of rural populations could not be assured, the American subjects selected were railroad men and to balance this effect, Italian railroad men were also selected. Second, the basis for the selection of the seven countries was not systematic but was decided by the availability of collaborators. As Keys himself stated, it was the availability of research collaborators that became the deciding factor in the selection of subject areas (Keys, 1980). It is clear that there was no scientific basis for the selection of the seven countries and these limitations should have been declared so that sweeping generalizations could be avoided.

The Seven Countries Study was begun in 1956 and ended with the publication of the 1986 paper (Keys et al., 1986). The most important conclusions from the Seven Countries Study were given as follows:

“Death rates were related positively to average percentage of dietary energy from saturated fatty acids, negatively to dietary energy percentage from monounsaturated fatty acids …. All death rates were negatively related to the ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fatty acids… Oleic acid accounted for almost all differences in monounsaturates among cohorts. All-cause and coronary heart disease death rates were low in cohorts with olive oil as the main fat.”

There are a number of important things that should be noted regarding the Seven Countries Study: First, this study cannot be claimed to be representative for all types of oils and for all groups of people. Second, the beneficial oil claimed in the Seven Countries Study was olive oil and it should be compared only to the other fats and oils that were consumed, which was mainly animal fat. Interestingly, although Japan showed very low death rates, olive oil consumption in Japan was negligible (Pitts et al., 2007). Third, this study assumed that all saturated fats have the same properties regardless of chain length. This assumption is not valid given what is known today regarding the individual properties of saturated fatty acids (this will be discussed in a succeeding article).

Coconut oil was not a significant part of the diet in the Seven Countries Study

Coconut oil was not a significant part of the diet in any of the seven countries and it was not mentioned in the 1986 Keys paper. Based on the consumption record for the year 1961, the estimated amount of animal fat consumed in Northern and Southern Europe was 67.5% and 35.7%, respectively, while for coconut oil, it was 5.9% and 1.6%. In the US, the amount of animal fat in the diet was 51% versus 3% for coconut oil (FAOSTAT, 2006; Pitts et al., 2007). Clearly, coconut oil was an insignificant part of the diet in Europe and the US so how did coconut oil get included in the health warnings on heart disease?

The Low-fat Diet and Obesity

The first official recommendation on saturated fat was contained in the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans which was jointly issued by the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Health and Human Services in 1980 and updated every 5 years. From the first to the eighth edition of Dietary Guidelines, the recommendation on saturated fat remained fundamentally the same: consume a low fat diet and avoid saturated fat. In the 2010 edition, the recommendation was made more specific: “consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.”

Cohen and co-workers (2015) conducted a comprehensive analysis of the food consumption patterns together with the body weight and body mass index of the US adult population using data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They found that Americans in general have been following the nutrition advice from the Dietary Guidelines. In particular from 1971 to 2011, consumption of fats dropped from 45% to 34% of total caloric intake, but this was accompanied by an increase in carbohydrate consumption from 39% to 51%. The result was a dramatic increase in the percentage of overweight or obese Americans from 42% to 66% over the same period. It is surprising that the AHA would continue to recommend the “low-fat diet” in light of the obesity epidemic among Americans.

Keys failed to prove his Saturated Fat-Cholesterol-Heart Disease Hypothesis

Since the Seven Countries Study was an observational study, Keys wanted to do a study where he could carefully control the diet of the subjects. In 1967, Ivan Frantz, Jr. and Ancel Keys undertook a project entitled “Effect of a Dietary Change on Human Cardiovascular Disease,” also called the “Minnesota Coronary Survey” (MCS). This study was funded by the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and was undertaken from 1968 to 1973. MCS was meant to be a landmark study because of the large number of subjects (n=9,423), the length of the feeding study (5 years), the high level of dietary control, and the double blind randomized design. MCS used residents in a nursing home and patients in six state mental hospitals in Minnesota. This enabled the study to carefully control and document the food that was actually consumed. This study sought to test whether replacement of saturated fat (animal fat, margarines and shortenings) with vegetable oil rich in linoleic acid (mainly corn oil) will reduce all-cause death, and CHD in particular, by lowering serum cholesterol. Coronary atherosclerosis and myocardial infarcts were also checked in 149 autopsies conducted (Ramsden et al., 2016). This study was conducted at the same time that Keys was coordinating the Seven Countries Study and would have provided powerful validation of the saturated fat- cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis.

Unfortunately, Keys did not publish the results of this study. A partial release of the results of MCS study was made in a 1989 paper in the journal Arteriosclerosis with Frantz as lead author. This paper made the modest conclusion that: “For the entire study population, no differences between the treatment (high linoleic acid group) and control (high saturated fat group) were observed for cardiovascular events, cardiovascular deaths, or total mortality.” (Frantz et al., 1989). Interestingly, although Keys was a co-proponent of the MCS study, his name did not appear as a co-author in the Arteriosclerosis paper; he was not even mentioned in the Acknowledgment.

The full data were discovered in the basement of the home of Frantz by his son, Robert, who turned them over to Ramsden and co-workers, who then analyzed and interpreted the data (O’Connor, 2016). The key results from the MCS study were reported by Ramsden and co-workers (2016) and are summarized as follows:

  • The group that consumed the high linoleic acid diet showed significant reduction in serum cholesterol compared with those on the saturated fat group.
  • However, there was no difference in mortality among the groups.
  • There was a higher risk of death in subjects who showed reduction in serum cholesterol level.
  • The main conclusions from this study are as follows: a high linoleic acid diet effectively lowers serum cholesterol but this increases the risk of CHD.The results of the MCS study did not give the expected results and directly contradicted the conclusions of the Seven Countries Study which Keys had published in a few years earlier in 1986. This might explain why it was published in a journal of limited circulation which gave it less exposure. It is clear that a wider distribution of the results of the 1989 paper, with Keys properly included as co-author, would have been fatal to the saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis and to the scientific basis of Dietary Guidelines, which was going into its third edition.The recovered MCS study is not the only example of an unreported study which had negative results. The Sydney Diet Heart Study (SDHS) was conducted from 1966 to 1973, almost at the same time as the MCS study, with the same objectives and similar study design to evaluate the effectiveness of replacing dietary saturated fat with linoleic acid for the prevention of CHD and all-cause mortality. This was a single blinded, parallel group, randomized controlled trial involving 458 men aged 30-59 years with a recent coronary event. The intervention involved replacement of dietary saturated fats (from animal fats, common margarines, and shortenings) with omega-6 linoleic acid (from safflower oil and safflower oil polyunsaturated margarine). The primary outcome was all-cause mortality and the secondary outcomes were CHD and death from heart disease. The results of this study were contrary to expectation: the unsaturated fat group had higher rates of death than the animal fat group, both in terms of all-cause mortality and CVD mortality. Similar to the recovered MCS study, the SDHS data were not reported but were recovered for analysis by Ramsden and co-workers almost 40 years after it was conducted (Ramsden et al., 2013).In addition to the hidden MCS and SDHS studies, there are a number of published studies that contradicted the saturated heart-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis. A six-year dietary study of 21,930 Finnish men, aged 50-69 years, concluded that there was no association between the intake of saturated fat and monounsaturated fat with the risk of coronary death (Pietinen et al., 1997). A dietary study of 80,082 women in the US Nurses’ Health Study, aged 34–59 years, with a 14-year follow-up, failed to come up with an unambiguous conclusion on the link between saturated fat and CHD (Hu et al., 1999). A study involving 58,453 Japanese men and women, aged 40-79 years, with a 14- year follow-up, gave an inverse association between SFA intake and mortality from total cardio vascular disease and concluded that replacing SFA with PUFA would have no benefit for the prevention of heart disease (Yamagishi et al., 2010).One would think that these studies should be enough evidence to prove that the saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis is wrong. Unfortunately, the 2017 AHA Presidential Advisory did not cite these studies and instead went out of its way to discredit the results of the Minnesota Coronary Survey and the Sydney Diet Heart Study so that they could remove these studies from the “totality of the scientific evidence (that) satisfy rigorous criteria for causality.”In 1981, Steven Broste, who was then a MS student at the University of Minnesota, analyzed the MCS data and addressed the difficulties that the AHA used to reject this study. These issues included withdrawals and uneven feeding periods of subjects. After making the appropriate statistical corrections, Broste still came to the conclusion that: “the experimental diet of the MCS may actually have been harmful in some way to patients who were exposed to it for at least one year” (Broste, 1981, p 85), and that “the experimental diet of the MCS, and reductions in cholesterol that resulted from the diet, were counterproductive… cholesterol reductions were generally associated with increased mortality, especially among males and older patients” (Broste, 1981, p 97).Broste’s conclusions were consistent with those of Frantz and co-workers (1989) and Ramsden and co-workers (2016). Contrary to the claims of the AHA, the MCS results are valid: low serum cholesterol increases the risk of CHD. It is unfortunate that the AHA chose to dismiss the results of the MCS and SHDS studies as lacking in scientific rigor.

    High PUFA consumption and high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio: A dietary disaster

    The low-fat and low-saturated fat recommendation of the Dietary Guidelines may be the reason for rising obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases among Americans. The low-fat recommendation has effectively increased the consumption of sugar and carbohydrates. Since 1980, consumption of fats fell by 11% of total caloric intake (from 45% to 34%), while consumption of carbohydrates rose by 12% (from 39% to 51%) (Cohen et al., 2015). The consumption of soybean oil, a high omega-6 polyunsaturated oil, more than doubled during the same period and now accounts for over 90% of vegetable oil consumption in the US (Index Mundi, 2016). Because soybean oil is a polyunsaturated oil, it is susceptible to the formation of free radicals, malondialdehyde, trans fats, and polymeric material during frying (Brühl, 2014).

    The other major problem with the Dietary Guidelines is that it has resulted in a diet with excessive omega-6 fatty acid resulting in an average omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of about 15:1. Such a high ratio has been blamed for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases. The ideal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is about 4:1 (Simopoulos 2002, 2008, 2010).

    AHA should worry about the impact of too much soybean oil – not coconut oil – on the American diet. It should also rethink its support for the Dietary Guidelines.

    From defective experiments to defective guidelines

    Despite its widespread adoption, the saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis has been shown to be incorrect. Ancel Keys committed a number of errors and was unable to unambiguously demonstrate a causal link for the role of saturated fat in heart disease. The twenty-five year old, 8-edition Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which has a great influence on international guidelines, has failed to address the problem of heart disease. Defective experiments can only lead to defective guidelines, and defective guidelines can only result in poor health outcomes.

    References:

  • Anderson JT, Grande F, Keys A (1961). Hydrogenated Fats in the Diet and Lipids in the Serum of Man. J. Nutr. 75: 388-394.
  • Anderson JT, Keys A, Grande F (1957). The effects of different food fats on serum cholesterol concentration in man. J Nutr. 62: 421-444.
  • Broste SK (1981). Lifetable Analysis of the Minnesota Coronary Survey. MS thesis, University of Minnesota.
  • Brühl L (2014). Fatty acid alterations in oils and fats during heating and frying. Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol. 116: 707-715.
  • [CDC] Center for Disease Control. 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/docs/fs_heart_disease.pdf[Codex] Codex Alimentarius 210-1999, amended 2015; Codex Alimentarius 33-1981, amended 2013.
  • Cohen E, Cragg M, deFonseka J, Hite A, Rosenberg M, Zhou B (2015). Statistical review of US macronutrient consumption data, 1965–2011: Americans have been following dietary guidelines, coincident with the rise in obesity. Nutrition 31: 727–732.
  • [FAOSTAT] Food and Agriculture Organisation Statistics Data. 2006. World lipid availability, Kg/capita/year, 1961. Food Balance Sheets, Rome: FAO.
  • Frantz Jr. ID, Dawson EA, Ashman PL, Gatewood LC,Bartsch GE, Kuba K, Elizabeth R. Brewer ER (1989). Arteriosclerosis 9:129-135.
  • Hilditch TP, Vidyarthi NL (1929). The products of partial hydrogenation of higher monoethylenic esters. Proc. Roy. Soc. A, 122(790): 552-563.
  • Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, Ascherio A, Colditz GA, Speizer FE, Hennekens CH, C Willett WC (1999). Dietary saturated fats and their food sources in relation to the risk of coronary heart disease in women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70:1001–1008.
  • Index Mundi (2016). http:// www.indexmundi.com/
  • Keys A, Anderson JT, Grande F (1957). Prediction of serum-cholesterol responses of man to changes in fats in the diet. Lancet 959-966.
  • Keys A, Aravanis C, Blackburn H, Buzina R, Djordjević BS, Dontas AS, Fidanza F, Karvonen MJ, Kimura N, Menotti A, Mohacek I, Nedeljkovic S, Puddu V, Punsar S, Taylor HL, van Buchem FSP (1980). Seven Countries. A Multivariate Analysis of Death and Coronary Heart Disease. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Keys A, Menotti A, Karvonen MJ, Aravanis C, Blackburn H, Buzina R, Djordjevic BS, Dontas AS, Fidanza F, Keys MH, Kromhout D, Nedeljkovic S, Punsar S, Seccareccia F, Toshima H (1986). The diet and 15-year death rate in the Seven Countries Study. Am. J. Epidemiol. 124(6): 903-915.
  • O’Connor A (2016). A Decades-Old Study, Rediscovered, Challenges Advice on Saturated Fat. New York Times, April 13, 2016. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/a-decades-old-study-rediscovered- challenges-advice-on-saturated-fat/?_r=0
  • Pietinen P, Ascherio A, Korhonen P, Hartman AM, Willett WC, Albanes D, Virtamo J (1997). Intake of Fatty Acids and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in a Cohort of Finnish Men. Am. J. Epidemiol. 145(10): 876-887.
  • Pitts M, Dorling D, Pattie C (2007). Oil for Food: The Global Story of Edible Lipids. Journal of World- Systems Research, Volume XIII, Number 1, Pages 12-32. ISSN 1076-156X.
  • Ramsden CE, Zamora D, Leelarthaepin B, Majchrzak-Hong SF, Faurot KR, Suchindran CM, Ringel A, Davis JM, Hibbeln JR (2013). Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis. BMJ 2013;346:e8707.
  • Ramsden CE, Zamora D, Majchrzak-Hong S, R Faurot KR, Broste SK, Frantz RP, Davis JM, Ringel A, Suchindran CM, Hibbeln JR (2016). Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-73). BMJ 2016;353:i1246 http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1246.
  • Sacks FM, Lichtenstein AH,Wu JHY, Appel LJ, Creager MA, Kris-Etherton PM,Miller M, Rimm EB, Rudel LL, Robinson JG, Stone NJ, Van Horn LV (2017). Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease, A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation 135: e1-e24.
  • Simopoulos AP (2002). The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed Pharmacother 56(8): 365-79.
  • Simopoulos AP (2008). The Importance of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases. Exp Biol Med 233(6): 674-688.
  • Simopoulos AP (2010). Genetic variants in the metabolism of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids: their role in the determination of nutritional requirements and chronic disease risk. Exp Biol Med 235: 785– 795.
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  • Vijayakumar M, Vasudevan DM, Sundaram KR, Krishnan S, Vaidyanathan K, Nandakumar S, Chandrasekhar R, Mathew N (2016). A randomized study of coconut oil versus sunflower oil on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with stable coronary heart disease. Ind. Heart J. 68: 498-506.
  • Yamagishi K, Iso H, Yatsuya H, Tanabe N, Date C, Kikuchi S, Yamamoto A, Inaba Y, Tamakoshi A, (JACC Study Group) (2010). Dietary intake of saturated fatty acids and mortality from cardiovascular disease in Japanese: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk (JACC) Study. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 92:759-765.

A Half-Truth is Not the Whole Truth: The AHA Position on Saturated Fat

Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit Professor, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines Chairman, Scientific Advisory Committee for Health, Asian and Pacific Coconut Community

Abstract

This second in this series of papers will present the biases in the American Heart Association’s 2017 Presidential Advisory with respect to saturated fat. Although important differences in the metabolic properties of specific SFA have been known since the 1960s, the AHA still considers all SFA as one group having the same properties. There is abundant research available that supports the designation of C6 to C12 fatty acids as medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). This is particularly relevant to coconut oil, which is made up of about 65% MCFA. Ignoring the evidence, AHA simply labels coconut oil as SFA. The AHA promotes half-truths, not the whole truth.

Abbreviations: AHA: American Heart Association; CHD: coronary heart disease; CVD: cardiovascular disease; HDL: high-density lipoprotein; LCFA: long-chain fatty acid; LDL: low- density lipoprotein; MCFA: medium-chain fatty acid; MCT: medium-chain triglyceride; oxLDL: oxidized low-density lipoprotein; PUFA: polyunsaturated fatty acid; oxLDL: oxidized low-density lipoprotein; SFA: saturated fatty acid

Introduction On June 16, 2017, the American Heart Association issued its AHA Presidential Advisory which repeated its recommendation to “shift from saturated to unsaturated fats” (Sacks et al., 2017). While this advisory did not present any new data, it provided a re-analysis of old data which selectively rejected some studies which it claims did not satisfy “rigorous criteria for causality,” while reinforcing those which were favorable to its conclusions.

The first paper in this series (Dayrit, 2017) showed that the scientific basis upon which the AHA made its recommendations is flawed and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which has been recommending a low-saturated fat diet for 35 years, has made Americans obese even as heart disease – the supposed concern of the AHA – has remained the top health problem.

This second article will focus on “saturated fatty acids,” the fat that AHA wants us to minimize. This article will analyze the 2017 AHA Presidential Advisory and provide counter evidence from the scientific literature, including clinical studies, to show that much of the confusion that we have today regarding the role of these fats in a healthy diet stems from the selective use of scientific information regarding saturated fat. The 2017 AHA Presidential Advisory provided only half the truth on saturated fat.

SFA, MCFA and LCFA

Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) generally refer to the following linear carboxylic acids: caproic (C5H11CO2H, C6), caprylic (C7H15CO2H, C8), capric (C9H19CO2H, C10), lauric (C11H23CO2H, C12), myristic (C13H27CO2H, C14), palmitic (C15H31CO2H, C16:0), and stearic (C17H35CO2H; C18:0). SFAs share the same structural features, but differ in their molecular size. Figure 1 shows their chemical structure and their % composition in coconut oil. Because of the apparent similarity in their chemical structures, SFAs are often assumed to possess the same biochemical and physiological properties. This is not true.

Coconut oil is an important chemical feedstock for the oleochemical industry*. It is hydrolyzed and separated into its individual fatty acids. Lauric acid (C12), the main component of coconut oil, has the highest commercial value and is used in the manufacture of various surfactants. There was a need to find applications for the other fatty acids. In the 1960s, a new synthetic group of fats was developed – “medium-chain triglyceride” (MCT) – which was made up mainly of C8 and C10. This commercial mixture was later called “MCT oil” and the main component fatty acids, C8 and C10, were called “medium-chain fatty acids” (MCFA). Initial feeding studies on rats showed that MCT oil was non-toxic and did not lead to weight gain compared with lard (Senior, 1968). Human clinical trials later showed that MCT oil was useful for patients with lipid disorders and for weight loss and it became commercially available in the mid-1960s (Harkins & Sarett, 1968). Since then, MCT oil has been widely used in clinical practice as a special dietary oil and has been classified by the US FDA as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) (FDA, 2012). Because of its wide commercial availability and safety, medical

* The oleochemical industry uses fatty acids from vegetable and animal fats for various applications, such as polymers, surfactants, paints, coatings, engine lubricants, and others.

researchers use MCT oil in their research. Consequently, most medical researchers consider MCFA to include C8 and C10 only; by exclusion, they use the term “long-chain” fatty acids (LCFA) to mean the longer SFAs, C12 and longer.

Figure 1. Chemical structure of saturated fatty acids and their % composition in coconut oil (Codex, 2015)

This historical account clearly shows that the classification of MCFA as C8 and C10 was based on the commercial availability of MCT oil and not on scientific considerations, and its wide use in clinical research reinforced this. However, based on biochemical and physiological properties, the classification of MCFA should include the fatty acids from C6 to C12.†

Numerous researchers consider MCFAs to include the fatty acids from C6 to C12 based on their metabolic properties (Bach & Babayan, 1982; St. Onge & Jones, 2002; McCarty & DiNicolantonio, 2016; Schonfeld & Wojtczak, 2016; TMIC, 2017). MCFAs possess special properties that differentiate them from LCFAs. This section will highlight some of the special characteristics of MCFAs in general, and C12 in particular will show why using only the single category of “saturated fatty acid” is a half-truth.

SFAs in various fats and oils

All biological organisms and cells utilize different fatty acids to produce lipids that are characteristic of the organism and cell type to fulfill its structural or functional requirements. The fatty acid profiles of the various vegetable oils are characteristic of the plant source (Codex, 2015). Coconut oil has a characteristic fatty acid profile that differs from other vegetable oils in terms of its fatty acid profile: almost 50% is C12, about 65% is C6 to C12, and 92% is saturated. In contrast, the fatty acid profiles of all other vegetable oils start mainly with C16 and contain a significant proportion of unsaturated fatty acids. For example, soybean oil and corn oil both contain over 50% C18:2 (linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid) and over 80% total unsaturated fat. Even animal fats, such as beef fat and lard, contain a substantial amount of unsaturated fat. For example, both beef fat and lard contain about 60% total unsaturated fatty acids even though these are often referred to as “saturated fat”. Clearly, the fatty acid composition of coconut oil is very different from those of animal fats, including butter (Figure 2).

Another feature that sets the group of MCFAs (C6 to C12) apart is that they are not generally present in human abdominal fat and liver fat, and they are not constituents of serum lipids, whether as triglycerides or phospholipids. Analysis of fats in the liver using mass spectral imaging analysis did not detect any MCFA; the smallest fatty acid found was C14 (Debois et al., 2009). This is consistent with the claims that MCFAs (C6 to C12)

† It is relevant to mention here that commercial products with a composition that includes C6 to C12 are now available for special dietary purposes, such as a ketone diet (see later).

comprise a separate category from LCFA and that the use of “SFA” as a common label for this group is incomplete.

Figure 2. Fatty acid composition of various lipids: vegetable oils, animal fat, and human storage and structural lipids.

Another distinguishing characteristic of the group of MCFA (C6 to C12) is that they are rarely found attached to cholesterol as fatty acid ester derivatives. Plasma cholesterol is attached to long chain saturated and unsaturated fatty acid esters, in particular C16:0, C18:0, C18:1, C18:2, and C20:4 (AOCS, 2014). That is, LCFA and PUFA are involved with the circulation of cholesterol around the bloodstream and cholesterol deposited in arterial plaques, not MCFA.

Metabolic properties of SFAs

The metabolic properties of the various SFAs clearly show differences between MCFA and LCFA. Here, we describe three major steps: first, lipase hydrolysis to release the free fatty acid; second, transport of the free fatty acid across the membrane to enter the cell; and third, mitochondrial oxidation to produce energy.

The first step involves the release of fatty acids from the triglyceride, a process called hydrolysis. In a study of various triglycerides using rat pancreatic lipase, C12 was found to be released most rapidly, followed by C4 (butyrate) (Mattson & Volpenhein, 1969).

The second limiting step in the metabolism of SFAs is the rate at which it can cross the membranes of cells where they can be metabolized. MCFA can cross the membrane rapidly while LCFA and PUFA require carnitine (Bremer, 1983; Schafer et al., 1997; Hamilton, 1998). The third step is fatty acid oxidation. In human liver mitochondria, C12 is more rapidly and completely oxidized compared with C18 (DeLany et al., 2000). This is one reason why coconut oil is not fattening and is better for metabolic energy than other vegetable oils.

Thus, a detailed accounting of the steps in the metabolism of SFAs shows that their properties and behavior are not the same. MCFA (C6 to C12) are clearly different from LCFA (C14 and longer).

Ketogenesis

Ketogenesis refers to the production of ketone bodies (KBs) – beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), acetoacetate (Acac) and acetone – from the metabolism of fat mainly in the liver. Ketone bodies are energy-rich molecules that are released by the liver into circulation to be used by other tissues and organs, such as the heart, brain and muscles (Krebs, 1970; Liu, 2008). This is the basis for the ketogenic diet.

There are three ways of inducing ketogenesis: first, by ingestion of MCFAs; second, by taking a very high-fat diet (greater than 80%) using on a long-chain vegetable oil, such as corn oil or soybean oil (Akkaoui 2009); and third, by fasting.

Upon ingestion and entering the small intestine, fatty acids are channeled either to the portal vein going directly to the liver or are repackaged into other lipid bodies (called chylomicrons) to enter the bloodstream. MCFAs pass directly through the portal vein to the liver where they are converted into ketone bodies. Thus, MCFAs provide the most convenient and rapid way of producing ketone bodies. LCFAs and PUFAs are packaged into chylomicrons and are bound to cholesterol and circulate around the bloodstream after which they are deposited in the liver (Bach & Babayan, 1982).

The unique properties of C12

C12 has special properties that are not shared even by other MCFAs: its distribution in the small intestine is variable, and it has strong antimicrobial properties.

Distribution in the intestine. C12 is unique because its distribution between the portal vein and lymphatic system depends on the feeding condition (You et al., 2008). Under normal conditions, most of the C12 is channeled to the portal vein. However, a concentrated injection of C12 has been shown to distribute about half to the portal vein and half to the lymphatic system (Sigalet et al., 1997). Ingestion of C12 together with proteins may direct more C12 to the lymphatic system (Schonfeld & Wojtczak, 2016) (Figure 3). This special behavior of C12 was foretold as early as the 1950s, when some researchers suggested the additional categories of “intermediate-chain fatty acids” (Schon et al., 1955; Goransson, 1965; Knox et al., 2000), and “transition fatty acid” (You et al., 2008).

Figure 3. Hydrolysis of triglycerides and distribution of various fatty acids between the portal vein and bloodstream. Depending on the dietary condition, C12 can be distributed to both in varying amounts.

Antimicrobial properties. C12 is recognized as the most effective antimicrobial fatty acid. C12 and its monoglyceride, monolaurin, have significant antimicrobial activity against gram positive bacteria and a number of fungi and viruses. Considering its antimicrobial property, it is an important property that some C12 can enter the bloodstream to provide antimicrobial protection. Because C12 and monolaurin are non- toxic and inexpensive, many food and cosmetic products use these compounds as antimicrobial agents. Interestingly, some antimicrobial natural products have been discovered that have a C12 group attached. Other MCFAs, C8 and C10, have limited antimicrobial activity; LCFAs have very little, if any, antimicrobial activity (Dayrit, 2015).

To summarize the discussion thus far: MCFA (C6 to C12) have very different biochemical and physiological properties from LCFA (C14 to C18). However, not once did the 2017 AHA Presidential Advisory refer to the existence of MCFA and LCFA and simply used the general category of SFA. This is not scientifically justifiable, and for a scientific society like the AHA, this is inexcusable.

“Sa tur ated fa t” an d “a ni mal fat” in the scientific literature

The vast majority of epidemiological studies, starting from Ancel Keys (1957) to the present, have failed to distinguish MCFA and LCFA and make their conclusions using the gross category of SFA. Unlike PUFAs, which are differentiated as omega-6 and omega-3, most epidemiologists, except those who study coconut oil in the diet, ignore the differences between MCFA and LCFA. In fact, most doctors and nutritionists commit the error of lumping animal fats and coconut oil into one category. Is it any wonder then that the wrong dietary advice has been made for coconut oil and C12?

There are, however, a few papers that have specifically addressed C12. In 2003, Mensink and co-workers combined the results of 60 controlled trials into a single analysis (called a meta-analysis) and calculated the effects of the amount and type of fat on the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (high-density lipoprotein), as well as to lipids. They reported that C12 increased HDL so that the net effect was to decrease the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL, a beneficial result. On the other hand, the LCFAs C14 and C16:0 had little effect on the ratio, while C18:0 reduced the ratio slightly. This is certainly a favorable result for C12.

Interestingly, the 2017 AHA Presidential Advisory also disposed of the beneficial properties of HDL without adequate proof, proclaiming that now CHD would be all about LDL: “…changes in HDL-cholesterol caused by diet or drug treatments can no longer be directly linked to changes in CVD, and therefore, the LDL-cholesterol-raising effect should be considered on its own.”

Since HDL is generally considered a standard lipid indicator, it is incumbent upon the AHA to provide definitive evidence to support its claim that HDL is now useless as a predictor of CHD.

Today, several types of LDL particles are known. LDL particles can be small and dense LDL (sdLDL) or large and buoyant (lbLDL). sdLDL is more susceptible to oxidation producing oxidized LDL (oxLDL). Thus sdLDL is more atherogenic and has been shown to be a strong predictor of CHD, while large buoyant LDL is not (Toft-Petersen et al., 2011; Hoogeveen et al., 2014).

In a 10-year study in Finland on 1,250 subjects, the various types of lipoproteins – LDL, HDL, and oxLDL – were measured. The study concluded that oxLDL, in proportion to LDL and HDL, was a strong risk factor of all-cause mortality independent of confounding factors (Linna et al., 2012). Furthermore, it has also been reported that the ratio of triglyceride to HDL is also a predictor for coronary disease (da Luz et al., 2008). If this is the case, HDL should remain an important lipid parameter, contrary to the AHA proclamation.

In the case of LDL, the absence of data on sdLDL and oxLDL in early studies involving LDL measurements makes their conclusions questionable. Correlations which have been made between LDL and CHD cannot therefore be considered reliable.

Conclusion

The warnings against saturated fat started with Ancel Keys. Keys never showed any appreciation for the physiologic differences between medium-chain fat and long-chain fat. The AHA has adopted this position to ignore the distinction between MCFA and LCFA despite numerous advances in their science. Detailed comparison of the fatty acid composition shows that coconut oil is very different from animal fat and studies that assume that they are similar are therefore in error. These may be one of the reasons why the Dietary Guidelines have not worked.

To this conclusion, we can apply the warning that Benjamin Franklin once made: “Half a truth is often a great lie.”

References

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  • Dayrit FM (2015). The Properties of Lauric Acid and their Significance in Coconut Oil. J Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 92:1-15.
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  • Sacks FM, Lichtenstein AH, Wu JHY, Appel LJ, Creager MA, Kris-Etherton PM, Miller M, Rimm EB, Rudel LL, Robinson JG, Stone NJ, Van Horn LV (2017). Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease, A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2017;135: e1-e24.
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  • Toft-Petersen AP, Tilsted HH, Aarøe J, Rasmussen K, Christensen T, Griffin BA, Aardestrup IV, Andreasen A, Schmidt EB (2011). Small dense LDL particles – a predictor of coronary artery disease evaluated by invasive and CT-based techniques: a case-control study. Lipids in Health and Disease 2011, 10:21. http://www.lipidworld.com/content/10/1/21.
  • You YQN, Ling PR, Qu JZ, Bistrian BR (2008). Effects of Medium-Chain Triglycerides, Long-Chain Triglycerides, or 2-Monododecanoin on Fatty Acid Composition in the Portal Vein, Intestinal Lymph, and Systemic Circulation in Rats. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 32(2): 169–175.

Coconut Oil: Bringing History, Common Sense and Science Together

Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit Professor, Department of Chemistry, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines Chairman, Scientific Advisory Committee for Health, Asian and Pacific Coconut Community

Abstract

The modern Western diet has suffered the damaging effects of trans fats, much of it from soybean oil. It is suffering another blow, this time from the damaging effects of an excess of omega-6 fats, again from soybean oil.

The vast majority of epidemiological studies do not distinguish between coconut oil and animal fat, and simply refer to them collectively as “saturated fat.” This is a fatal mistake for two reasons: first, the fatty acid profiles of coconut oil and animal fat are very different, and second, coconut oil hardly has any cholesterol while animal fats contain a lot of cholesterol. This means that the results based on animal fat cannot be applied to coconut oil.

Contrary to the claim of the AHA, there is abundant evidence to show that coconut oil and a coconut diet do not raise the incidence of heart disease and are, in fact, part of many healthy traditional diets. Many populations who shifted from a traditional coconut diet to a Western diet have suffered worse health outcomes. However, the historical and scientific evidence in support of coconut oil may not be enough to convince the AHA which favors a high omega-6 diet.

Introduction

“Only wholeness leads to clarity.” -Schiller

The 2017 AHA Presidential Advisory has failed to see the forest for the trees. It has failed to see the worsening epidemics of obesity and metabolic disease, but has focused instead on the details of the meta-analysis of LDL and values as if these were more important. The AHA has failed to bring the science together with the reality; there is no wholeness in their analysis.

Food is made up of three principal biochemical groups: protein, carbohydrate and fat. Assuming that one needs to maintain a certain level of energy, a food group cannot be decreased without compensation with another group. The “low fat” recommendation promoted by the AHA and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans since 1980 has resulted in an increase in refined carbohydrates: the American average fat consumption dropped from over 40% to 33% while carbohydrate consumption increased and obesity more than doubled from 14% to 36.5% (CDC,2017).Worldwide obesity has likewise more than doubled since 1980, and by 2014, 13% were obese (WHO, 2016).Meanwhile, heart disease, the principal concern of the AHA and the justification of the Dietary Guidelines, has remained as the #1 cause of mortality.

The AHA and the Dietary Guidelines have led the Americans – and the rest of the world – astray with its warning against fat, especially saturated fat. However, if we go back to the time before the Dietary Guidelines made the world obese, we will find the answer and rediscover what traditional food cultures have been consuming for millennia: the coconut. This essay will show that, contrary to the claims of the AHA, the evidence for coconut oil is based on science and validated by the experience of people.

The modern diet

WHO recommends that the total energy from fat should not exceed 30% along with a shift in fat consumption away from saturated to unsaturated fat and the elimination of industrial trans fats (WHO, 2015). This works out to about 70 grams or about 75 mL of fat. Since we should aim for a healthy total fat diet, how much of each type of fat should we consume? How much saturated fat is desirable and what type should this be? How much unsaturated fat should one have? How can we eliminate industrial trans fats completely? Since there is a trend to decrease the amount of carbohydrates in the diet how should we replace these calories?

It was the rising popularity of coconut oil that may have prompted the AHA to issue its Presidential Advisory. In its discussion of coconut oil, they said: “A recent survey reported that 72% of the American public rated coconut oil as a ‘healthy food’ compared with 37% of nutritionists. This disconnect between lay and expert opinion can be attributed to the marketing of coconut oil in the popular press.” The AHA then issued a warning against coconut oil: “Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil” (Sacks et al., 2017).

In addition, the AHA unilaterally disposed of the importance of HDL to cancel the favorable effects of coconut oil, an issue that was tackled in the second article in this series (Dayrit, 2017b). The stated objective of the AHA is to limit the consumption of coconut oil down to 6%. This essay will answer these allegations and show that the claims of the AHA are wrong.

The trans fats fiasco

Coconut oil used to enjoy robust consumption in the US from the 1900s up to 1940, when the war interrupted the importation of coconut. During the war, trans fats, much of it from soybean oil, were used to replace coconut oil in food products (Shurtleff & Aoyagi, 2007). After the war, US importation of coconut oil remained low because of the soybean lobby that wanted to retain its market dominance. By 1999, it was estimated that trans fats in the American diet hadreached 2.6% of calories (Allison et al., 1999). In 2006, it was estimated that trans fats may have been responsible for 72,000 to 228,000 myocardial infarctions and deaths from CHD in the US (accounting for 6% to 19%) (Mozaffarian et al., 2006).

Over 30 years after the warning against trans fats was first made, the FDA finally set a compromise rule where a manufacturer can declare “zero trans-fats” if the product contains less than 0.5 grams trans fatty acids per serving (FDA, 2003). This ruling actually does not eliminate trans fats from the food supply; it just hides it.

What is equally lamentable is the AHA’s tepid warning against trans fats. Despite the substantial harm that industrial trans fats have made to heart health, the AHA has not issued any advisory against trans fats in the same way that it has attacked saturated fat and coconut oil.

The high omega-6 fiasco

Linoleic acid (C18:2) and linolenic acid (C18:3) are both essential fatty acids. However, international nutrition institutions recommend that only a limited amount should be taken and that a particular ratio should be maintained (Table 1).

Table 1. Recommendations for daily intake (in grams) of omega-6 and omega-3, and omega-6 to omega-3 ratio from international institutions.

The American Soybean Association is a very powerful industry lobby (https://soygrowers.com/). Soybean oil is a high omega-6 oil, being made up of about 54% C18:2 (Codex, 2015). It was estimated that from 1909 to 1999 the per capita consumption of soybean oil in the US increased over 1,000 timesfrom 0.01 to 11.6 kg/yr and by 1999, the average American consumption of C18:2 was 7.2% of total calories, with an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 10:1 (Blasbalg et al., 2011). The modern American diet has become a high omega-6 fat diet.

In 2009, AHA issued a “Science Advisory” in a paper entitled: “Omega-6 Fatty Acids and Risk for Cardiovascular Disease” (Harris et al., 2009). This paper summarized and defended the health benefits of omega-6 fatty acids. However, the ASA Science Advisory ignored the important issue of how muchomega-6 fat should be consumed in the diet, and what the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fat should be. Numerous papers have pointed out that a high omega-6 diet and a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio are linked to heart disease, cancer, inflammatory diseases, and others (Simopoulos 2002, 2008, 2010; Lands, 2012). The AHA Science Advisory dodged both important issues and one might surmise that AHA does not want to set a limit for this fat.

However, the AHA acknowledged that other health agencies have set limits to omega-6 in the diet (Table 1), but it defended its position of not specifying a limit by proclaiming: “The American Heart Association places primary emphasis on healthy eating patterns rather than on specific nutrient targets.”

This statement is highly irresponsible: since an excess of omega-6 fat is clearly linked to CHD, how can the AHA not issue a warning? This is also highly hypocritical and suspicious: the AHA refused to set a target for omega-6 fat and yet aggressively set a target of 6% for saturated fat in its Presidential Advisory (Sacks et al., 2017).Why the double standard? Is the AHA protecting omega-6 fats?

This omega-6 fiasco will become a replay of the trans fats disaster, with soybean oil as the beneficiary. Heart disease will remain the #1 cause of death in the US (and the world!).

Canola oil for coconut oil?

Aside from soybean oil, canola oil is the other beneficiary of the AHA warning. Since the 1990s, the agro industry giant Calgene, which is convinced of the beneficial health properties of lauric acid, has been undertaking genetic engineering experiments on canola oil to produce a high lauric acid GMO, called Laurical 35, which contains 37% lauric acid and 34% oleic acid (Shahidi et al., 2007). As the Canola website declared: “Domestically produced high-laurate canola oil could potentially replace some of the $400 million of tropical oil imported annually, primarily from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia” (Ag Innovation News, 2003).Thus, while the AHA warns against coconut oil, Calgeneis set to enter the lauric oil market with a GM product.

Coconut oil, saturated fat, and animal fat: a serious misunderstanding

The vast majority of epidemiological studies do not distinguish between coconut oil and animal fat, and simply refer to them collectively as “saturated fat.” This is a serious misunderstanding. Coconut oil is 65% medium-chain saturated fat while the different types of animal fat contain from 40 to 50% long-chain saturated fat, with the rest being mono- and polyunsaturated fat. In addition, coconut oil contains from zero to 3 mg cholesterol per kg(Codex, 2015), while animal fat contains various amounts of cholesterol depending on animal source (USDA, 2017). (Table 2)

Polyunsaturated fat oxidizes readily with heat and, in the presence of cholesterol, will produce oxidized cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol has been shown to accelerate the development of atherosclerosis leading to heart disease (Staprans et al., 2000). This will not happen with coconut oil because there is only a small proportion of unsaturated fat and very little cholesterol. This is a mistake that Ancel Keys made; it is a mistake that many researchers who followed him have made. Therefore, the so-called “high quality” studies that the AHA Presidential Advisory judged as acceptable evidence against coconut oil cannot be admitted as evidence because of this fatal mistake (Sacks et al., 2017).

Table 2. Comparison of fatty acid profile and cholesterol content of coconut oil and various types of animal fat: butter, beef fat and lard.

Historical use of the coconut 

Contrary to the claim of the AHA, there is abundant evidence to show that coconut oil and a coconut diet do not raise the incidence of heart disease and are, in fact, part of many healthy traditional diets. In the remainder of this essay, we will discuss the historical and traditional consumption of the coconut, health statistics of coconut-consuming populations, and a comparison with the Western (mainly American) diet.

The coconut is one of the most ancient and widespread of edible fruits in the world (Lutz, 2011). It is part of the diet and culinary tradition of virtually all countries where the coconut grows. Itis also unparalleled in its overall usefulness as a portable source of food and water and many other useful applications. The settling of the Pacific islands was made possible by the coconut (Gunn et al., 2011). This is affectionately described by Henri Hiro, indigenous advocate for the Polynesian people, in a poem which is found in the Bishop Museum in Hawaii:

“Traveling companion of the Polynesians, coconut tree, indispensable support For a happy and fulfilled life; coconut tree of peace, coconut tree of harmony, eternal coconut tree, with you life is there.”

Indeed, the coconut is widely revered in many cultures as the “Tree of Life.”

Miguel de Loarca, a Spanish explorer in the Philippines during the 16th century, observed that “The cocoanuts furnish a nutritious food when rice is scarce” (Blair & Robertson, 1906). It was so useful that the Spanish government in the Philippines decreed the planting of coconuts as a source of raw material and as food for the people, especially during drought.

Among some food cultures in the Pacific islands, the coconut accounts for up to 60% of fat intake. There is no report that the coconut has caused ill-health or disease, except for the occasional death from a falling coconut.

Health of coconut-consuming populations

Studies on the influence of dietary coconut oil on heart disease and other health factors have shown that there is no negative effect from coconut oil consumption compared with other oils and that in some cases, better health outcomes can be attributed to coconut oil. Numerous studies have documented the absence of negative effects from coconut oil. Prior and co-workers (1981) reported that Polynesians from Pukapuka and Tokelau both consume a high saturated fat diet from coconut oil, 34% and 63%, respectively, and yet vascular disease was uncommon in both populations and there was no evidence of harmful effects in these populations due to their diet. A small study of 32 CHD patients and 16 matched healthy controls from the Indian state of Kerala showed that coconut and coconut oil did not play any role in the causation of CHD in this state (Kumar, 1997). A similar study conducted in West Sumatra, Indonesia, involving 93 CHD patients with a control group showed that consumption of coconut was not a predictor for CHD (Lipoeto et al., 2004).

The association between coconut oil consumption and lipid profiles was studied in a cohort of 1,839 Filipino women (age 35–69 years) over a 22-year period, from 1983 to 2005. Lipid analysis showed that the mean TC, LDL, and triglyceride levels and TC/HDL ratio of the women were within the desirable limits set by WHO and that coconut oil intake may enhance HDL levels (Feranil et al., 2011).

A direct comparison between coconut oil and sunflower oil, a polyunsaturated oil, used as cooking oil was conducted to determine their effect on lipid profile, antioxidant and endothelial status inpatients with stable coronary artery disease. This study was conducted for 2 years with 100 coronary artery disease patients and 100 in the healthy control group with 98% follow-up. The results showed that there was no statistically significant difference in the anthropometric, biochemical, vascular function, and cardiovascular events in both groups indicating that coconut oil does not pose any additional risk for heart disease compared with a polyunsaturated fat (Vijayakumar et al., 2016).

On the other hand, there are studies that show better health outcomes in populations that consume coconut oil or a coconut-based diet. In the Philippines, people from the Bicol province who have the highest consumption of coconut showed comparatively low levels of atherosclerosis and heart disease compared with people from other regions in the Philippines who consume less coconut in their diet (Florentino & Aguinaldo, 1987).

The type of fat has a strong influence on obesity. Rural populations of Vanuatu consume fat from traditional sources, which includes coconut, while urban Vanuatu populations consume fat from imported foods, such as oil, margarine, butter, and meat. Despite the fact that rural Vanuatu populations consumed more total calories than the urban population, they had half the prevalence of obesity and diabetes (WHO, 2003).

In the US, it is interesting to note that the states with high coconut consumption – Hawaii and Florida – showed lower rates of heart disease compared to the national average in 2014 (heart disease rate per 100,000): US average (167.0); Hawaii (136.7); Florida (151.3) (KFF, 2017). Similarly, Cuba, a coconut-consuming country that has been spared the Western diet, had a mortality rate from heart disease of 144.8 from 1986 to 1997 (Cañero, 1999).

In summary, dietary studies on populations that consume coconut or coconut oil show no evidence of a higher incidence of heart disease and a number of studies report more favorable health outcomes.

From a traditional coconut diet to a Western diet

A number of studies have shown that populations that shifted from a traditional coconut diet to a Western diet report poorer health status. In 1973, Ian Prior saw the unique opportunity to observe in detail a real time experiment of the effect that diet can have on Polynesians who migrated from their islands to New Zealand. He recorded mortality from heart disease, hypertensive heart disease, and blood lipids, among others. He concluded his paper with this statement: “The high price being paid by the New Zealand Maori, in terms of morbidity and mortality from a range of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders and the contrast with the picture seen among atoll dwellers, gives a clear indication of how exposure to the ways and diet of Western society can influence health and disease patterns” (Prior, 1973).

A 1999 comparative study among American and Western Samoans showed that a shift to a modern diet increased their carbohydrate and protein consumption and decreased their overall fat, in particular, saturated fat. This shift was identified as the cause of their increased incidence of obesity and cardiovascular disease (Galanis et al. 1999).WHO (2003) reported that Pacific islanders “were 2.2 times more likely to be obese and 2.4 times more likely to be diabetic if they consumed fat from imported foods rather than from traditional fat sources.” Among the most commonly consumed imported fats were vegetable oil and margarine which replaced coconut oil.

Will there be a science-based conclusion?

In 2016, Eyres and co-workers conducted an assessment of the literature to verify the merits of the claim that coconut consumption had favorable effects on cardiovascular risk factors. After reviewing 8 clinical trials and 13 observational studies, they concluded that: “Observational evidence suggests that consumption of coconut flesh or squeezed coconut in the context of traditional dietary patterns does not lead to adverse cardiovascular outcomes.” Strangely, they ended their paper with this statement: “However, due to large differences in dietary and lifestyle patterns, these findings cannot be applied to a typical Western diet” (Eyres et al.,2016).

Despite the exacting standards of science that Eyres and co-workers applied, why can’t these findings be applied to a typical Western diet? The authors did not provide an explanation. With this statement, the authors have effectively put science aside.

This set of three essays has provided evidence from science and from millennia of people’s experience which provide a holistic picture of the health properties of coconut oil. These essays have also pointed out specific aspects where the AHA and the Dietary Guidelines have perpetuated errors, many of which date back to the bias of Ancel Keys against saturated fat. The mistake of assuming that animal fat and coconut oil are similar means that much of the basis for the warnings against saturated fat are erroneous. In addition, recent discoveries regarding small dense LDL and oxidized LDL mean that conclusions from many LDL studies are questionable. Truly, wholeness leads to clarity.

These should be enough basis to reverse the AHA’s campaign against coconut oil, but its real reasons may not be based on science but on its bias for a high omega-6 diet.#

References

 

News and Articles Relating to Virgin Coconut Oil

“DTI supports local association on safety of coconut oil”

“In Defense of Coconut Oil: Rebuttal to USA Today”

  • Full story »
  • by: Ali Le Vere, B.S., B.S. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/

“American Heart Association Issues Flawed Presidential Advisory On Saturated Fats and Cardiovascular Disease”

“Where Does American Heart Association’s Heart Lie – A Question from the Coconut Industry”

  • Full story »
  • by: Raj Singh Coco Veda Natural Products Inc. Via Fox 8 News http://www.fox8live.com/

“The American Heart Association — Protecting Industry Not Patients”

  • Full story »
  • by: Barbara Roberts, M.D. and Martha Rosenberg http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

“VEGETABLE OILS, (FRANCIS) BACON, BING CROSBY, AND THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION”

“View The Evidence:46 Abstracts with Coconut Oil Research”

“Is Coconut Oil Bad for Your Cholesterol?”

“The Heart Association’s Junk Science Diet: Science shows the low-fat diet to be BS, and yet the American Heart Association keeps touting it as the ‘heart healthy’ choice. Why? The quick answer: money, honey.”

  • Full story »
  • by: Dr. Barbara H. Roberts http://www.thedailybeastm/

“Why Coconut Oil Won’t Kill You, But Listening to the American Heart Association Might!”

  • Full story »
  • by: Diana Rodgers, RD Licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Nutritional Therapy Practitioner http://www.sustainabledish.com/

“Coconut oil helps Alzheimer’s, dementia, ALS, MS”

“Please Stop Freaking Out About Coconut Oil”

“The Warning on Saturated Fat: From Defective Experiments to Defective Guidelines”

“BEWARE OF MORE MISINFORMATION FROM THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION ON COCONUT OIL AND SATURATED FATS”

  • Full story »
  • by: Dr. Anthony Pearson, St Lukes Hospital https://theskepticalcardiologist.com/

“Coconut Oil: What You Haven’t Been Told About That Study”

“Should You Buy Coconut Oil or Leave it on the Shelf?”

Miracle Fruit: 222 Uses For Coconut Oil

Coconut Oils

What Is Cold Pressed Coconut Oil?

Cold pressed coconut oil means that the coconut oil was pressed using a mechanical method; however, unlike when normal processing is done, no high temperatures are used during the pressing process to help the coconut oil retain its natural healthy nutrients. When a coconut oil is cold pressed, the temperatures during the pressing process never exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold pressing is most often done with virgin and/or organic coconut oil and it produces what is considered to be a high quality coconut oil. Cold pressed coconut oil can be used both topically and internally. It is excellent for cooking and baking, and is also a fantastic health supplement, and skin and hair care product. It also makes an excellent daily supplement for dogs and cats. Cold pressed coconut oil, especially cold pressed virgin and/or organic coconut oil, tends to more expensive than normal refined oils; however, it is much healthier.

Cold Pressed Coconut Oil Benefits

Cold pressed coconut oil is packed full of great natural healthly properties. It contains antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, and is full of healthy short and medium chain fatty acids such as Lauric acid, Caprylic acid and Capric acid. It also contains substantial amounts of vitamin E and K, and iron. Cold pressed coconut oil benefits include helping to boost the body’s immune system, and helping to prevent and fight diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, HIV, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Cold pressed coconut oil benefits also include helping to maintain a healthy heart and thyroid, and helping to increase the body’s metabolism and energy levels. It also helps with weight loss and helps in maintaining a healthy weight. When taken as a daily health supplement, it is recommended that 2-4 tablespoon be taken orally each day; it can be taken straight or added to food and/or drinks.

Cold pressed coconut oil can also be used topically, and makes an excellent skin cream and deep hair conditioner, and is excellent for healing and soothing skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. In addition, cold pressed coconut oil helps to fight and decrease acne break outs, and helps to diminish the appearance of stretch marks, scars and wrinkles. It can also be used to treat diaper rash and cradle cap on babies. Cold pressed coconut oil is excellent for cooking and baking; it makes an excellent cooking oil and a fantastic substitute for shortening, lard, butter and margarine in baking. It also makes a great daily health supplement and is superb for oil pulling. Cold pressed coconut oil can also be used as a daily health supplement for pets, and used on them topically to treat skin conditions, insect bites and wounds.

Expeller Pressed Vs. Cold Pressed Coconut Oil

The biggest difference between expeller pressed coconut oil and cold pressed coconut oil is that expeller pressed coconut oil is processed at higher temperatures. Cold pressed coconut oil is processed at temperatures that never exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit, while expeller pressed coconut oil is processed at temperatures that never exceeds 210 degrees Fahrenheit. As expeller pressed coconut oil is processed at higher temperatures, it has less nutritional value. Between the two, cold pressed coconut oil is healthier than expeller pressed coconut oil is; however, expeller pressed coconut oil still retains more beneficial properties than refined coconut oil does and is a healthier choice. Like cold pressed coconut oil, expeller pressing is most often done with virgin and/or organic coconut oil and is considered to be a high quality coconut oil. Expeller pressed coconut oils tend to be around the same price or slightly cheaper than cold pressed coconut oils.

What Is Fractionated Coconut Oil? Fractionated coconut oil is saturated oil. Fractionated coconut oil is processed in a way that removes all the long chain fatty acids, leaving only the healthy medium chain fatty acids. Due to the way it is processed, fractionated coconut oil has a high concentration of Capric acid and Caprylic acid, which gives it an amazing amount of antioxidant and disinfecting properties. Fractionated coconut oil has a longer shelf life and is more stable than most of the other types of coconut oil. Due to the amount of processing fractionated coconut oil goes through, it is more expensive than most of the other types of coconut oil are. Fractionated coconut oil is most commonly used to make soaps, medications, massage oils, hair conditioners and other similar products. It is also commonly used as the carrier oil in aromatherapy products. It can also be used in cooking and baking; however, it is not as commonly used in cooking and baking as the other types of coconut oil are. Fractionated coconut oil is also sometimes called caprylic and/or capric triglyceride oil or medium-chain triglyceride oil. Unlike normal coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil remains in a liquid state even at low temperatures.

Fractionated Coconut Oil Benefits

Fractionated coconut oil contains extremely high amounts of Capric acid and Caprylic acid, making it an amazing disinfectant and antioxidant. In some ways fractionated coconut oil benefits are more than with normal coconut oil, while in other ways it is less. When processed, fractionated coconut oil has almost all of it Lauric acid removed which decreases its health benefits in some ways. However, due to the way it’s processed it has more Capric acid and Caprylic acid than the other types of coconut oil, so it has more health benefits in some ways. Fractionated coconut oils are often used for medical purposes; they can be used to treat malabsorption problems and to help with absorption of essential minerals and proteins. Fractionated coconut oil is often used in baby formulas, especially for premature babies. Benefits also include treating skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, diaper rash, chapped lips and dry skin. Benefits also include helping to prevent acne and soothe skin inflammation. Fractionated coconut oil benefits are usually obtained by using it topically or by combining it with other ingredients to make beneficial soaps, and hair and skin care products. Fractionated coconut oil benefits can also be obtained by using it as a cooking oil; however, it is not as commonly used for cooking and baking as the other types of coconut oil are.

Organic Coconut Oil

When something is organic it means that it was grown without the use of chemicals fertilizers or pesticides. Organic also means that it is processed without additives or preservatives. Organic foods are thought to be safer and healthier for consumption than non-organic foods are, as they do not contain chemicals, additives, and preservatives that help to promote cancer growth. Some studies have shown that organic foods contain up to 50% more vitamins and nutrients than non-organic foods do. For a food to be labeled certified organic means that it has passed all its government’s regulations on organic foods, and it is grown and processed in a way that it has not come in contact with chemicals, pesticides, artificial flavors, additives or preservatives.

Coconut oil contains so many healthy benefits that no matter what form or how it is processed, it still is good for you; however, organic coconut oil has far more healthy fatty acids, vitamins and nutrients than non-organic coconut oil does, and does not contain any chemicals or additives that could promote disease the way non-organic coconut oil does. The best coconut oil to buy is certified organic coconut oil that is unrefined, as this guarantees maximum health benefits.

Benefits Of Organic Coconut Oil

Organic coconut oil is packed full of great health benefits. It contains antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, healthy short and medium chain fatty acids like lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric that help to boost the immune system and support a healthy heart and thyroid. Organic coconut oil helps to fight serious diseases like HIV, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. It also helps to promote healthy cholesterol levels, increases the body’s metabolism, and energy, and promotes weight loss. Organic coconut oil also makes an excellent face and skin cream, helps to diminish wrinkles, scars and stretch mark, and helps to soothe and heal skin conditions like eczema. In addition, it can also be used as a hair conditioner and helps to treat dandruff. Organic coconut oil is excellent for overall health care, helping to keep the body healthy inside and out. The best organic coconut oil to use for its health benefits is certified organic coconut oil that is unrefined, virgin and cold pressed. When taken as a daily health supplement, it is recommended that people take 2-4 tablespoons daily. Organic coconut oil can be taken straight or mixed with food and/or drink.

Pure Coconut Oil

Pure or raw coconut oil is coconut oil that is 100% pure with no added artificial or synthetic flavors or colors, no herbal extracts, and no additives or chemicals of any type. Pure coconut oil is usually unrefined; however, it can be refined as long as it is neither deodorized or bleached, as these two processes require the use of chemicals. Pure coconut oil has a coconut flavor and scent, and makes an excellent cooking oil, is great for baking, and makes a fantastic skin and hair care product. Pure coconut oil also makes an excellent daily health supplement, and can be used as a health supplement for pets. The cost of pure coconut oil is slightly cheaper than the price of unrefined coconut oil. Raw coconut oil is very stable and has a two year shelf life. Pure coconut oil is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Pure Coconut Oil Benefits

As pure coconut oil does not contain any additives or chemicals and is processed in a way that does not affect its beneficial properties, it is jammed packed with healthy nutrients, vitamins and fatty acids. Raw coconut oil contains lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid, and vitamins and nutrients like vitamin K and E, and iron. Pure coconut oil has the highest amount of lauric acid next to mother’s milk and contains high quantities of antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. The benefits of pure coconut oil include promoting a healthy heart, thyroid and cholesterol levels. It helps to prevent and fight diseases like HIV, cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and Alzheimer’s disease. Benefits also include boosting the body’s immune system, increasing metabolism and energy, and helping with weight loss and sustaining a healthy weight. In addition, pure coconut oil benefits also include helping to soothe and treat skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis, and helping skin and hair stay healthier and more vibrant. The benefits of pure coconut oil are best obtained when taken as a daily supplement; it is recommended that 2-4 tablespoons be taken daily. Pure coconut oil can be taken straight, or added to food and/or drinks. When used topically, it should be used daily as needed. It can also be given to pets as a daily supplement or used on them topically to treat skin conditions, wounds and insect bites.

What Is Refined Coconut Oil?

The majority of coconut oils found in grocery stores are refined coconut oils. Coconut oil is generally refined to ensure it contains no harmful bacteria; some producers of coconuts dry their coconut meat or “copra” in the open air or store their coconuts in insanitary conditions, which can lead to dangerous bacteria build up. When coconut oil is refined it is processed in a way that removes any impurities and harmful bacteria that the coconut may contain. During processing, most refined coconut oil is bleached and deodorized, which not only removes all impurities in it, but also removes its coconut flavor and scent. Processing also unfortunately removes some of the natural beneficial health properties of the coconut oil. Some refined coconut oils are hydrogenated, which often ends up making the coconut oil unhealthy, as the short and medium chain healthy fatty acids are replaced by unhealthy long chain fatty acids. However, some refined coconut oil is processed using the expeller pressed or cold pressed technique, which helps them retain much of their natural beneficial properties. Expeller pressed or cold pressed refined coconut oil does not contain the natural health benefits that unrefined coconut oil does, but its close.

Refined Vs. Unrefined Coconut Oil

Refined or unrefined coconut oil, which is better? It depends on what it is being used for. Unrefined coconut oil has more beneficial properties than refined coconut oil does; however, refined coconut oil has a longer shelf life than unrefined coconut oil does, and it has a higher smoke point than unrefined coconut oil does. The smoke point of refined coconut oil is 450 degrees F, while the smoke point of unrefined oil is 350 degrees F; cooking oils become unhealthy and unsafe to use once they reach their smoke point and should be thrown out. For those who do not like the taste or smell of coconut, refined oil is better for cooking as it is tasteless and odorless; unrefined oil leaves a light coconut taste and smell in the food when it is used in cooking. What contains more health benefits, refined or unrefined coconut oil? For those using coconut oil for its health benefits, unrefined oil is a much better choice than refined oil is; refined coconut oils still retain some healthy benefits, but they are much less than that found in unrefined coconut oils. For those on a tight budget, refined oil is better than unrefined oil is, as refined coconut oil is far less expensive than unrefined coconut oil is.

Refined Coconut Oil Benefits

Refined oil does not contain as many beneficial health properties as unrefined oil does, but it still contains some and is generally a healthy cooking oil to use. However, refined coconut oil that is hydrogenated, is generally not a healthy cooking oil, for when it undergoes the processing procedure that hydrogenates it, its healthy medium chain fatty acids are removed and replaced with unhealthy long chain fatty acids that can lead to heart disease and other serious health conditions. Refined coconut oil that is not hydrogenated contains Lauric, Capric and Caprylic acids and vitamins, and nutrients like vitamin K and E and iron. Refined coconut oil helps to boost the body’s immune system and helps to fight diseases like diabetes, HIV, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease and many more. It also helps the thyroid and heart stay healthy and functioning properly. Refined coconut oil helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, increases metabolism and increases energy levels. Refined coconut oil is not a healthy as unrefined coconut oil is; however, assuming it is not hydrogenated, it is one of the best and healthiest refined cooking oils that people can use. One of the very best refined coconut oils on the market is Tropical Traditions Organic Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil. Unlike most refined coconut oils, it is expeller pressed so it retains as much of its natural healthy benefits as possible. It is also organic so it does not contain harmful pesticides. Tropical Traditions Organic Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil is the best of both worlds, due to it being organic and expeller pressed it has more health benefits than the average refined coconut oil does, but due to being refined it does not have the coconut taste or scent so it is better for cooking.

Source: by Coconut Oil Facts

Coconut Oil: Medium-Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs) vs. Long-Chain Fatty Acids (LCFAs)

Coconut Oil contains Lauric acid, which is a Medium-Chain Fatty Acid, or MCFA. Lauric acid is what is found in human breast milk. Olive oil, soy and vegetable oils are all Long-Chain Fatty Acids, or LCFAs.

Long¬-Chain Fatty Acids, or LCFAs, are difficult for the body to break down and require enzymes for the digestive process, therefore putting more stress on the liver, pancreas and digestive system. Long-Chain Fatty Acids can be stored as fat in the body or they can be deposited in the arteries in lipid forms such as cholesterol.

  • MCFAs are smaller and are absorbed into cell membranes more easily.
  • MCFAs don’t require special enzymes to break them down, therefore being easier on the digestive system.
  • MCFAs are sent directly to the liver and converted to energy… NOT fat.
  • MCFAs stimulate metabolism and aid in weight loss.

Coconut Oils vs. Other Oils

Coconut Oil Vs. Coconut Milk

Coconut oil and coconut milk both come from the meat of the coconut; however, coconut oil is extracted from the coconut meat, while coconut milk is made from the liquid that comes from grated coconut meat and is mixed with water. Both coconut oil and coconut milk contain healthy short and medium chain fatty acids like Lauric acid. Both contain vitamin E and K, and iron. It is recommended that adults have about 24 grams of Lauric acid daily; this equates to 3.5 tablespoons of an unrefined coconut oil or about 10 ounces of a good quality coconut milk. Coconut milk contains fewer calories than coconut oil does; a tablespoon of coconut milk contains around 30 calories, while a tablespoon of coconut oil contains around 115 calories.

Both coconut oil and coconut milk can easily be added into a daily diet; however, coconut oil is far more versatile than coconut milk is. Coconut oil can be used as cooking oil, in baking and can be taken straight as a daily health supplement. Coconut milk can be drank straight, added to sauces and stews, or added to milkshakes and smoothies. Coconut oil is used topically as a skin and hair care products, while coconut milk generally is not.

Coconut Oil Vs. Coconut Water

Coconut oil and coconut water both come from coconuts. However, coconut oil is made from mature coconuts, while coconut water is obtained from immature green coconuts. Coconut water does not contain all the medium chain healthy fatty acids that coconut oil contains; however, it contains health benefits that coconut oil does not contain. Coconut water is much like a sports energy drink, but it’s all natural. Coconut water contains electrolytes, water and carbohydrates, and helps to restore and rehydrate the body’s balance after exercise. Coconut water is also used as a fasting cleanser, and helps to keep the bowels clean and functioning properly. Coconut oil contains healthy medium chain fatty acids, vitamin K and E, and iron; it is used as a daily health supplement, as cooking oil and a baking substitute, and as a skin and hair care product. Both coconut oil and coconut water contain many health benefits; they are both excellent in their own way.

Coconut Butter Vs. Coconut Oil

Both coconut butter and coconut oil are made from the meat of mature coconuts. However, coconut oil is made by extracting it from the coconut meat, while coconut butter is made from the coconut meat being dried and then ground up. Both coconut oil and coconut butter should contain no other ingredients, but coconut; they should not even have water added. Coconut butter is about 70% coconut oil. When compared nutritionally, they are both excellent; they both contain healthy medium chain fatty acids, vitamin E and K, and iron. One tablespoon of coconut oil contains around 120 calories, while one tablespoon of coconut butter contains about 95 calories. Coconut oil contains no fiber, protein or carbohydrates, while one tablespoon of coconut butter contains 1.3 grams of fiber, 3.3 grams of carbohydrates and 0.9 grams of protein.

Coconut oil can be used as cooking oil for stir-fries and sauteing, a substitute for lard, butter, margarine or shortening in baking, as a daily health supplement and as a skin and hair care product. Coconut butter does not make a good cooking oil as it burns too easily, but makes an excellent skin and hair care product, can be used as a daily health supplement, and is excellent in drinks. Coconut butter can be easily transformed in to coconut milk by adding water.

Coconut Manna Vs. Coconut Oil

Coconut manna is basically coconut cream or coconut butter that the Nutiva company decided to give a different name to. Coconut manna is made from the meat of the coconut and contains no other ingredients, but coconut. Unlike coconut oil that makes an excellent cooking oil, coconut manna is not suitable for frying and sauteing as it burns too easily. Like coconut oil, coconut manna is packed full of healthy medium chain fatty acids, and makes an excellent daily health supplement. Both coconut oil and coconut manna are excellent skin moisturizers and help to reduce the look of wrinkles, stretch marks and scars.

Coconut Oil Vs. Coconut Cream

Coconut cream is the same as coconut butter. Both coconut oil and coconut cream are made from the meat of the coconut; however, coconut cream is made from the coconut meat being dried and ground up, while coconut oil is made by extracting it from the coconut meat. Both coconut cream and coconut oil have healthy medium chain fatty acids like Lauric acid, Capric acid and Caprylic acid. Both have antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Both coconut oil and coconut cream can be taken as a daily health supplement and can be used as a skin and hair care product. However, coconut cream cannot be used as cooking oil the way coconut oil can. Coconut cream can be used to make ice cream, pudding and is delicious on top of berries and other fruits.

Coconut Oil Vs. Canola Oil

Both coconut oil and canola oil comes from plants; coconut oil comes from coconuts and canola oil comes from the canola plant. The canola plant is a GMO plant that is derived from the rapeseed plant that is commonly used as a pesticide. Both coconut oil and canola oil contain vitamin K and E; however, canola oil contains significantly more. Canola oil contains healthy omega -3, but also contains a large amount of unhealthy omega-6. Coconut oil does not contain omega-3, but it contains medium chain fatty acids like Lauric acid, Capric acid and Caprylic acid. One cup of canola oil contains 1927 calories, while one cup of coconut oil contains 1879 calories. Between the two, coconut oil has more health benefits than canola oil has, and is a healthier cooking oil. Coconut oil is also far more versatile than canola oil is, as it can be used as a cooking oil, in baking, as a skin and hair care product and as a daily health supplement; canola oil is only used as a cooking oil.

Coconut Oil Vs. Olive Oil

Coconut oil is made from the meat of fresh coconuts, while olive oil is made from olives. There are many different grades of both olive oil and coconut oil; both types come in virgin, extra virgin, refined, unrefined, organic and non-organic. Both coconut oil and olive oil have numerous health benefits and are considered healthy cooking oils. Both olive oil and coconut oil contain healthy fats and both have excellent anti-oxidant properties, especially when they are in their pure natural forms. When compared on health benefits alone, coconut oil is slightly better than olive oil; however, olive oil is the far more popular cooking oil of the two. Both coconut oil and olive oil can be used as a cooking oil for stir-fries and sautéing. Both can also be used as a deep conditioner for hair. Coconut oil is a more versatile oil than olive oil is; however, they both have their own purposes. Coconut oil makes a better substitute for lard, shortening or butter in baking than olive oil does, and can be used topically as a skin cream. Olive oil is better for making salad dressing and other similar things.

Coconut Oil Vs. Palm Oil

Both coconut oil and palm oil come from palm trees; however, palm oil comes from the palm tree and coconut oil comes from the coconuts that grow on the coconut palm trees. Coconut oil is a far better environmental choice than palm oil is as to grow enough oil palm trees, virgin forests are being cut down to make room for them. Coconut oil is made from the coconuts that grow on coconut palm trees, while palm oil is made from the oil palm tree itself. Palm oil contains the same healthy medium chain fatty acids that coconut oil does, but in far less quantities. Palm oil contains high quantities of carotenoids, which are an excellent antioxidant; coconut oil also contains antioxidants. Coconut oil also contains antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties that palm oil does not contain. Palm oil is less expensive in price than coconut oil is, and is more readily available. However, palm oil is not as versatile as coconut oil is; palm oil is basically just a cooking oil, while coconut oil is a cooking oil, can be used in baking, is an excellent hair and skin care product, and can be taken for a daily health supplement. Between the two, palm oil is the least expensive choice, but coconut oil is the healthier choice.

Coconut Oil Vs. Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil is made from flax seeds and much like coconut oil is a very healthy cooking oil. Flaxseed oil contains healthy omega-3 that coconut oil does not contain; it also contains thiamin, manganese, magnesium, fiber, copper, zinc, iron and calcium. Flaxseed oil also contains vitamin B6, niacin and vitamin K, plus trace amounts of vitamin E and C. Coconut oil only contains a small amount of vitamin K and E, and iron. Coconut oil contains healthy medium chain fatty acids like Lauric acid, Capric acid and Caprylic acid that flaxseed oil does not contain. Both flaxseed oil and coconut oil help to fight disease and help to maintain overall good health. Both are good cooking oils; however, coconut oil is more versatile than flaxseed oil is. Overall, coconut oil, is the healthier choice of the two.

Coconut Oil Vs. Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is made from sunflower seeds, while coconut oil is made from coconuts. Sunflower oil contains zinc, manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, folate, calcium, potassium and iron. It also contains vitamins B1, B6 and B5, thiamine and vitamin E. In addition, it also contains trace amounts of vitamin C and A. Coconut oil does not contain a lot of vitamins and minerals; it only contains small amounts of vitamin K and E, and iron. Coconut oil contains healthy medium chain fatty acids like Lauric acid, Capric acid and Caprylic acid that sunflower oil does not contain. Sunflower oil helps to prevent a few health conditions like headaches, high blood pressure and indigestion; coconut oil helps to prevent disease like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, HIV and Alzheimer’s disease. Coconut oil also helps to boost the body’s immune system, increases the body’s metabolism and energy levels, and supports a healthy heart and thyroid. When compared on a health benefits level, coconut oil is the sure winner. Coconut oil is also more versatile than sunflower oil is; sunflower oil is basically only used as a cooking oil, while coconut oil is used for cooking and baking, as a daily health supplement and as a skin and hair care product. Sunflower oil is considerably less expensive than coconut oil is.

Coconut Oil Vs. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a variety of different oils combined together; it may contain corn oil, olive oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil and other edible oils. Vegetable oil is the most commonly used cooking oil in North America, as it is the least expensive and has the highest smoke point. However, vegetable oil is also one of the unhealthiest of all the cooking oils. Unlike most coconut oil, vegetable oil is extremely refined and contains a large amount of chemicals, additives and preservatives. While being refined, vegetable oil is heated to extremely high temperatures, which removes any nutritional properties it once had. Vegetable oil is high in omega-6, and has been proven to make the thyroid function improperly and causes a decrease in energy levels. Unlike coconut oil that is very versatile in its uses, vegetable oil really only has one use, a cooking oil. Vegetable oil is much less expensive than coconut oil is, but coconut oil is far better for a person’s health.

Coconut Oil Vs. Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds of grapes, while coconut oil is extracted from the meat of coconuts. Unlike coconut oil, which is thick and rich, grapeseed oil is light and thin. Grapeseed oil contains linoleic and oleic essential oils, and vitamin E. Grapeseed oil has a moderate amount of antioxidant properties. Both grapeseed oil and coconut oil are very stable oils and do not go bad quickly. Both grapeseed oil and coconut oil make good cooking oils, and are excellent for both the skin and hair. As grapeseed oil is thinner, it is easier to apply to skin than coconut oil is. Grapeseed oil is also preferred for cooking by some people, as it does not have a strong flavor like coconut oil has. However, when compared on a nutritional level, coconut oil is a healthier oil than grapeseed oil is.

Coconut Oil Vs. Fish Oil

Both coconut oil and fish oil are used to help with weight loss and to help maintain a healthy weight. Both fish oil and coconut oil are also commonly used to help promote overall good health. Both contain healthy fatty acids that help to promote a healthy heart and cholesterol levels. They also both help to promote healthy brain function. To get the benefits of fish oil, people can buy fish oil health supplements or can simply add fish to their diet at least twice a week. The best fish to eat to get fish oil from is tuna, herrings, sardines, salmon and whitefish. To get the health benefits of coconut oil, people can take it straight or it can be used as a cooking oil or in baking. Coconut oil is also commonly used topically, while fish oil is not.

MCT Oil Vs. Coconut Oil

MCT oil is also known as Caprylic and/or Capric triglyceride oil, medium-chain triglyceride oil or fractionated coconut oil. MCT oil is coconut oil that is processed in a way that removes all the long chain fatty acids in it, leaving only medium chain fatty acids. MCT oil contains very high levels of Caprylic and Capric acids, but does not contain any Lauric acid. MCT oil contains very high antioxidant and disinfecting properties. Generally, MCT oil is used to make medicine, soaps, hair care products, massage oils and other similar things. It can be used as a cooking oil like coconut oil, but due to its high price it is not an extremely popular cooking oil. Both MCT oil and coconut oil are very healthy oils and can be used topically as skin and hair care products, be used in cooking and baking, and make excellent daily health supplements.

Ghee Vs. Coconut Oil

Ghee is also known as clarified butter. Both ghee and coconut oil contain healthy fats and are safe for low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diets. Coconut oil is cholesterol free, while ghee contains 38 milligrams per tablespoon, so coconut oil is better for cholesterol levels. Coconut oil has more calories than ghee does so on the surface ghee is better for weight loss, but as coconut oil helps to promote healthy thyroid function and increases metabolism and energy levels, it also helps to promote weight loss. Overall, both ghee and coconut oil are healthy choices, but coconut oil offers more health benefits than ghee does. Coconut oil is also more versatile than ghee is; coconut oil is commonly used topically, while ghee is not.

Source: by Coconut Oil Facts
Full story: http://www.coconutoilfacts.org/coconut-oil-vs.php#

11 Reasons Why You Should Include Coconut Oil In Your Diet

Infographic by: bodyapplicators

Health Benefits of Coconut Cream

Research on Coconut Cream Reveals:
  • Nutrients: Minerals, Vitamins, Enzymes, Fat, Fiber, and Lauric Acid (a fat in mother’s milk that’s good for bones and brain)
  • Protection: Protects from free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative diseases, Removes heavy metals
  • Skin: Moisturizer, Exfoliant, Wrinkles, Dryness, Sagging skin, Age spots, Flakiness, Psoriasis, Eczema, Dermatitis
  • Fat loss: Thyroid, Increases metabolic rate, Reduces belly fat
  • Energy level: Increases energy and Endurance
  • Diabetes: Improved insulin secretion, Utilization of blood glucose
  • Cholesterol: Has no cholesterol, Does not increase cholesterol, Removes arterial plaque, Helps with heart disease
  • Tissues: Breaks up hardened tissues internally and externally
  • Bones: Increases absorption of Calcium and Magnesium
  • Teeth: Helps with infections, Decay
  • Anti-microbial: Anti-bacterial / viral / fungal / parasitic
  • Immune system: Increases immunity
  • Digestion: Constipation, Irritable bowel syndrome, Cystic fibrosis, Gallbladder, Ulcerative colitis, Stomach ulcers, Diarrhea
    Differences of Coconut Cream vs. Coconut Milk vs. Cream of Coconut

    Coconut Cream: Coconut cream is much thicker and richer than Coconut Milk. It is made from simmering four parts shredded coconut in one part water. The cream that rises to the top of a can of coconut milk is also considered coconut cream.

    Coconut Milk: Coconut milk has the liquid consistency of cow’s milk and is made from simmering one part shredded coconut in one part water.

    Cream of Coconut: Cream of Coconut is a sweetened version of coconut cream, and is often used for desserts and mixed drinks. Because of the added sugar, it is usually not interchangeable with coconut cream.

Health Benefits of Coconut Cream

Research on Coconut Cream Reveals:
  • Nutrients: Minerals, Vitamins, Enzymes, Fat, Fiber, and Lauric Acid (a fat in mother’s milk that’s good for bones and brain)
  • Protection: Protects from free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative diseases, Removes heavy metals
  • Skin: Moisturizer, Exfoliant, Wrinkles, Dryness, Sagging skin, Age spots, Flakiness, Psoriasis, Eczema, Dermatitis
  • Fat loss: Thyroid, Increases metabolic rate, Reduces belly fat
  • Energy level: Increases energy and Endurance
  • Diabetes: Improved insulin secretion, Utilization of blood glucose
  • Cholesterol: Has no cholesterol, Does not increase cholesterol, Removes arterial plaque, Helps with heart disease
  • Tissues: Breaks up hardened tissues internally and externally
  • Bones: Increases absorption of Calcium and Magnesium
  • Teeth: Helps with infections, Decay
  • Anti-microbial: Anti-bacterial / viral / fungal / parasitic
  • Immune system: Increases immunity
  • Digestion: Constipation, Irritable bowel syndrome, Cystic fibrosis, Gallbladder, Ulcerative colitis, Stomach ulcers, Diarrhea
    Differences of Coconut Cream vs. Coconut Milk vs. Cream of Coconut

    Coconut Cream: Coconut cream is much thicker and richer than Coconut Milk. It is made from simmering four parts shredded coconut in one part water. The cream that rises to the top of a can of coconut milk is also considered coconut cream.

    Coconut Milk: Coconut milk has the liquid consistency of cow’s milk and is made from simmering one part shredded coconut in one part water.

    Cream of Coconut: Cream of Coconut is a sweetened version of coconut cream, and is often used for desserts and mixed drinks. Because of the added sugar, it is usually not interchangeable with coconut cream.

Health Benefits of Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener devoid of added chemicals/additives. It is unbleached and contains no preservatives. With a low glycemic index in its natural form, Coconut Sugar provides nourishing sweetness for the human body. Rich with nutrients and minerals, Coconut Sugar provides ‘slow-release’ energy which provides healthy sustenance for the human body throughout the day.

Coconut sugar has a low glycemic index and a low glycemic load. It is also all natural made from 100% coconut sap. No additives or any chemicals are needed in the manufacturing process. It is good for both diabetics and non-diabetics alike. By helping to maintain lower blood sugar and insulin levels, a low-GI diet may be useful in preventing and treating a variety of the health problems. Here are some examples of how eating low on the glycemic index can help promote excellent health:

Diabetes

Substituting low-GI carbohydrates (like thick-cut oats, pasta, and legumes) for high-GI carbohydrates (like processed cereals, white bread, and potatoes) can help lower blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. This is why the GI has been an integral part of medical nutrition therapy for diabetes in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Europe for many years. A low-GI diet may also help prevent diabetes from ever developing in the first place. Harvard University researchers who tracked the eating habits of over 100,000 men and women found that people whose diets are low in fiber and high in refined and high-GI carbohydrates are more than twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes, as are people who eat a fiber-rich diet with a low glycemic load. Cancer – Insulin is a cellular growth factor. Many studies have shown an association between high insulin levels and a variety of cancers including breast, colorectal, prostate, and pancreas. Other studies have shown links between diets high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, glycemic load, and cancer. This suggests that lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising, and eating a healthy low-GI diet may help protect against cancer at least partly by lowering insulin levels.

Cardiovascular Disease

As with type 2 diabetes, researchers have found that a diet high in refined and high-GI carbohydrates may substantially raise the risk for heart disease. These foods increase blood insulin levels, which in turn contribute to a higher blood pressure, higher levels of blood fats (triglycerides), lower levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and an increased tendency for dangerous clots to form and linger in the blood.

Hypoglycemia

People who have meal-related reactive hypoglycemia secrete too much insulin after eating. This causes the cells to remove so much sugar from the blood that they feel weak, shaky, irritable, plagued by headaches, unable to concentrate, and very hungry within a few hours of eating. Choosing low-GI carbohydrates can help prevent this type of hypoglycemia because eating foods that promote a gradual rise in blood sugar and a lower insulin response reduces the likelihood that blood sugar levels will drop too low.

Since low-GI foods are slowly digested, they provide a gradual and sustained rise in blood sugar. This keeps you feeling full and satisfied and delays the return of hunger between meals. Conversely, high-GI carbohydrates provide short bursts of energy that satisfy you in the short term but soon leave you hungry. Many of the fat-free and low-fat foods that have become popular over the last decade—such as bagels, processed cereals, rice cakes, crackers, snack chips, and cookies—tend to rank high on the glycemic index and may actually contribute to a pattern of overeating in some people.

Coconut Sugar: Amino Acids

Out of the twenty (20) amino acids that are needed to build the various proteins used in the growth, repair and maintenance of body tissues, enzymes, hormones and other vital body substances, sixteen (16) of these amino acids are present in the coconut sap.

Amino acids are essential to human metabolism and to making the human body function properly for good health. The highest amount of amino acid found in the coconut sap is Glutamic Acid, which converts to glutamine.

Glutamine is involved in more metabolic processes than any other amino acid.Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (building block of protein) in the body. The body can make enough glutamine for its regular needs, but extreme stress (the kind you would experience after very heavy exercise or an injury), your body may need more glutamine than it can make. Glutamine is important for removing excess ammonia (a common waste product in the body). It also helps your immune system function and appears to be needed for normal brain function and digestion. Glutamine helps to protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract known as the mucosa.Athletes who train for endurance events (like marathons) may reduce the amount of glutamine in their bodies. It is common for them to catch a cold after an athletic event. One study showed that taking glutamine supplements resulted in fewer infections.Source: University of Maryland Medical Center

Coconut Sugar: Vitamins

Aside from containing amino acids, coconut sap also contains various vitamins, including twelve (12) of the essential vitamin B complex.

All B vitamins help the body to convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is “burned” to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, also help the body metabolize fats and protein. B complex vitamins are necessary for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. They also help the nervous system function properly.

Source: University of Maryland Medical CenterThe highest amount of vitamin found in the coconut sap is Inositol.

Inositol (Vitamin B8) functions as one of the primary components of cell membranes. It is important for growth of cells in the bone marrow, eye membranes, and intestines.It is a milder fat emulsifier – helps metabolize fat and cholesterol by breaking down fats into smaller particles that are easier to remove, and reduces fatty build-up in the body organs, especially the liver.Inositol has a calming effect as it is involved in the production and action of neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit messages between nerve cells).Source: Health Supplements Nutritional Guide

Coconut Sugar: Minerals

Coconut Sugar contains minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sulfur. The human body does not produce minerals and they must be provided from food sources. Vitamins have little function without minerals. Minerals enable the vitamins to effectively accomplish its purposes.

The highest amount of mineral found in the coconut sugar is potassium.

Potassium is important for regulating nerve transmissions and muscle contractions. It is also needed for heart function and rhythm.

Intake of potassium-rich foods helps to maintain the body’s pH (acid alkaline) balance. It is involved in synthesis of protein from amino acids; needed for metabolism and storage of carbohydrates for normal body growth and muscle-building.

Source: Health Supplements Nutritional Guide

Macro-Nutrients Health Benefits Provided by these Nutrients

  • Nitrogen (N): helps to treat cardiovascular diseases
  • Phosphorus (P): Important for bone growth, kidney functions and and cell growth
  • (K): Reduces hypertension, helps regulate blood sugar, helps control cholesterol levels and weight
  • Calcium (Ca): Vital for strong bone and teeth, and for muscle growth
  • Magnesium (Mg): Essential for metabolism, nerves and stimulates the brain (memory)
  • Sodium (Na): Plays a key role in the functioning of nerves and muscles
  • Chloride (Cl): Corrects the pressure of body fluids and balance the nervous system
  • Sulfur (S): Important for healthy hair, skin and nails, also helps maintain oxygen balance for proper brain function.
  • Boron (B): Essential for healthy bone and joint function, enhances body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium
  • Zinc (Zn): Called the “nutrient of intelligence” is necessary for mental development
  • Manganese (Mn): Has antioxidant, free-radical-fighting properties, is important for proper food digestion and for normal bone structure.
  • Iron (Fe): Vital for the quality of blood, mental development and the immune system
  • Copper (Cu): Helps to release energy, helps in melanin production in the skin, helps in the production of red blood cells and aid in the absorption and transport of iron.

Health Benefits of Coconut Water

Coconut water provides the body with various health benefits, including re-hydration, a remedy for digestive system disorders and cholera, it is useful for intravenous hydration, as well as controlling hypertension, lowering cholesterol levels, and protecting the heart.

  • Coconut water is a very refreshing drink to beat tropical summer thirst. Its liquid is packed with simple sugars, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish dehydration conditions inside the human body.
  • Research studies suggest that cytokinins (e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water found to have significant anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic (anti-clot formation) effects.
  • Coconut water has been generally offered to patients with diarrhea in many tropic regions to replace the fluid loss from the gastrointestinal tract and to reduce the need for hospitalization. The osmolarity of tender coconut water is slightly greater than that of WHO recommended ORS (Oral Rehydration Therapy) solution. Presence of other biological constituents like amino acids, enzymes, minerals, and fatty acids may account for this higher osmolarity. Nonetheless, unlike WHO-ORS, its water is very low in sodium and chlorides, but rich in sugars and amino acids. This well-balanced fluid composition, along with much-needed calories, would be an ideal drink instead of any other kind of soft drink beverages available in the markets to correct dehydration conditions.
  • Coconut water is composed of many naturally occurring bioactive enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, diastase, peroxidase, RNA-polymerases etc. In effect, these enzymes help in the digestion and metabolism.
  • Despite being very light in consistency, its water proportionately has better composition of minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc than some of the fruit juices like oranges. (Compare the mineral composition of oranges).
  • Its liquid is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pyridoxine, and folates. These vitamins are essential in the sense that the human body requires them from external sources to replenish.
  • Coconut water carries a very good amount of electrolyte potassium. 100 ml of water has 250 mg of potassium and 105 mg of sodium. Together, these electrolytes help replenish electrolyte deficiency in the body due to diarrhea (loose stools).
  • Further, fresh coconut water has a small amount of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid); It provides about 2.4 mg or 4% of RDA. Vitamin C is a water-soluble ant-oxidant.

Source by: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/coconut-water.html

Source: by www.healthandhealthyliving.com

55 Benefits of Coconut Water

  • Coconut water is a good source of the major minerals like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chlorine and sulfur. These minerals are hard to find in therapeutic levels in a normal diet (even a healthy one), which is why drinking coconut water daily is a great way to get them.
  • Contains a variety of trace elements such as zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur, manganese, boron, molybdenum that act as antioxidants in the body.
  • Antioxidants protect the body from damage by toxins, keeping you young and vibrant.
  • Coconut water is relatively low in sugar compared to other juices and drinks. It also contains minerals which balance blood sugar. This makes coconut water a great beverage for those with blood sugar issues.
  • Because of the complexity of the nutritional content of coconut water, its electrolytes are readily absorbed into the body for use. This is why you can feel its benefits so quickly.
  • Coconut water does not contain artificial sugar or colors, high fructose corn syrup, caffeine or chemical preservatives that are found in commercial sports drinks. This makes it “nature’s Gatorade” – effective without harming the body.
  • Due to its hydrating nature, coconut water is effective in treating dehydration and heatstroke.
  • In traditional cultures, coconut water is used as a remedy for gastroenteritis, urinary stone dissolution and coronary heart disease.
  • Coconut water contains natural antimicrobial peptides that can be effective in fighting bacteria such as E.coli, B. subtilis, S. aureus and P. aeruginosa. E. coli is a multi-drug-resistant bacterium and universal inhabitant of human digestive tract. S. aureus and B. subtilis cause food spoilage and poisoning. P. aeruginosa is a potential human pathogen found inhabiting milk products, vegetables and meat.
  • Coconut water is one of the most effective ways to rehydrate the body from dehydrating conditions such as diarrhea, vomiting, a fever or kidney complications.
  • Coconut water contains vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system, heal wounds and protect the skin from damage.
  • Coconut water is believed that coconut water can be used for intravenous hydration due to its close resemblance to human plasma. .
  • Coconut water has cardio-protective effects attributed to its rich content of mineral ions, especially potassium. It may prevent myocardial infarction.
  • Regular consumption of coconut water may be effective in bringing about the control of hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.
  • Coconut water contains cytokinins, which are a class of phytohormones that show significant anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects.
  • One of its cytokinins, kinetin, has shown in studies to have strong anti-aging effects on human skin cells. It can delay the onset of several cellular and biochemical characteristics associated to cellular aging, in particular those associated with photo-damaged skin.
  • Kinetin has demonstrated anti-cancer effects and can potentially act as a treatment for myeloma, heptamoa, and mammary carcinomas.
  • Kinetin has effective anti-platelet properties, and may be a potential therapeutic agent for treating arterial thrombosis and preventing blood clots.
  • Coconut water contains another cytokinin called trans-zeatin. Recent studies showed that trans-zeatin can be a potential drug to treat neural diseases. In particular, it can be effective in Alzheimer’s disease or related neural dysfunctions, such as dementia.
  • Coconut water contains yet another cytokinin called gibberellins (GAs). A recent study showed that gibberellin derivatives have anti-tumor bioactivities.
  • Coconut water aids in the proper metabolism of amino acids, lipids and carbohydrates, improving the distribution of nutrients received from food.
  • Coconut water can replenish the electrolytes of the human body excreted through sweat, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. This makes it an essential part of post workout recovery.
  • Coconut water contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7 and B9 (folate).
  • B1 improves brain function, protects the nerves, improves cardiovascular functioning, ensures eye health and is needed for energy production.
  • Coconut water contains inorganic ions that are required for normal cellular function and are critical for enzyme activation.
  • Coconut water’s inorganic acids play a role in bone formation.
  • Coconut water’s minerals are utilized for hemoglobin function, ensuring healthy blood.
  • Coconut water’s high inorganic acid content plays a critical role in gene expression.
  • B2 can prevent migraine headaches, minimizes the effects of cancer-producing carcinogens, is used to prevent anemia, and breaks down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and helps produce energy.
  • B3 is useful in reducing cholesterol, managing blood sugar levels and treating arthritis.
  • B5 supports adrenal glands, reducing stress, and helps to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • B6 is used for physical and psychological disorders, from heart disease and mental depression, to kidney stones and memory loss.
  • B7 improves metabolism and is used for tissue maintenance, healthy skin, weight loss, and relief from heart problems.
  • B9 or folate is necessary to create healthy fetuses. It also may reduce osteoporosis and heart disease. It also releases serotonin, improving mood.
  • Coconut water helps dilate bloods vessels and improves blood flow.
  • Coconut water contains dietary fiber and amino acids. These help moderate sugar absorption and improve insulin sensitivity. This makes it beneficial for diabetics.
  • Animal studies show that coconut water consumption improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad, and reduces plaque formation in arteries.
  • Some clinical evidence shows that it may improve health in those with kidney and urethral stones.
  • Rich in magnesium, coconut water can alleviate muscle cramps, and restless leg syndrome.
  • High in electrolytes, coconut water can help normalize heart rhythms.
  • Coconut water improves digestion, and may normalize bowel movements.
  • Coconut water benefits those suffering from stress, and may reduce panic attacks and anxiety.
  • Coconut water promotes a good night’s rest, and can be helpful for those with insomnia.
  • Coconut water quickly improves energy by flooding the body with easy-to-access nutrients including glucose.
  • Coconut water helps neutralize acids in the body, keeping the body alkaline.
  • Coconut water increases oxygen in the body tissues, therefore improving athletic performance.
  • Coconut water promotes the clearance of toxins from the body.
  • Coconut water strengthens the bones and may help to prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis.
  • Coconut water helps regulate fluid levels in the body and may prevent edema and the occurrence of water weight.
  • Coconut water assists in nervous system functioning and the transmission of electrical impulses in the body, and may help ease symptoms of nerve pain and tingling.
  • Coconut water is composed of many naturally occurring enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, diastase, peroxidase and RNA-polymerases. Enzymes are used to construct tissues, generate energy and to breakdown harmful growths.
  • Coconut water contains GABA, a neurotransmitter that has a relaxing, anti-anxiety, and anti-convulsive effect on the body.
  • Coconut water contains the amino acid alanine, which helps convert sugar into energy, and helps eliminate toxins from the liver.
  • Coconut water is rich in glutamic acid, an amino acid that is important for learning and retaining memory.
  • Coconut water is naturally high in chlorine, which works closely with sodium and water to help the distribution of body fluids.
  • Coconut water contains malic acid, which may help treat fibromyalgia when paired with magnesium, and may assist with the breakdown of gallstones.

Source: Alleyne, T., et al. The control of hypertension by use of coconut water and mauby: two tropical food drinks. West Indian Med J 2005;54:3-8.

Macalalag, E.V. and Macalalag, A.L. Bukolysis: young coconut water renoclysis for urinary stone dissolution. Int Surg 1987;72:247.

Lauren Felts CN, The Chalkboard Mag.com

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