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    PeaceCorpsCaveMan's Avatar
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    Coconut oil as a treatment for diabetes in the third world?

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    I live in a small tropical rural town in Central America with access to reasonably priced coconuts. I would estimate that at least half of adult women where I live are diabetic and many more are at risk. I am interested in learning and teaching others how to process coconut oil, milk, and possibly flour. I am about to start processing some coconut oil from scratch for personal consumption. Through my research I have found some studies and articles advocating coconut oil as a way to mitigate diabetes by way of a couple of tablespoons before meals twice per day.

    I would love to make this recommendation to my community as a way to improve health and drive demand for this value-added product, but only if the claim has merit. People sell all kinds of snake oil all the time and people have actually been killed by lynch-mobbed on several occasions for selling people false "miracle cures" at extortionate prices. I have actually seen people selling "shark oil" claiming it cures EVERYTHING.

    My gut reaction is to be skeptical of claims online. It is not at all beyond the ethics of certain industries to falsify studies, anecdotes, and create biased "third party" websites to support their claims.

    Can anyone reference some good studies with solid unbiased science?

    Is the hypothesis that consuming coconut oil may help to mitigate diabetes valid?

    Does anyone have any suggestions on processing coconuts into oil and other bi-products? I have access to gas burners, blenders, and refrigeration, but the people I work with may not.

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    a couple of tablespoons of coconut anything are not going to cure or prevent diabetes. Sorry. Maybe it helps buffer insulin a little bit but you would be better off offering to help educate people on proper nutrition, via lectures, cooking classes and good spirited counseling. You could still make, sell and teach all about coconut stuffs, but you would do a lot more good and even reverse some diabetes with proper nutrition education. Try Pubmed.com for starters on coconut properties.

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    I do cooking and nutrition classes and I always do my best to promote healthy nutrition. However, I have to be careful not to preach too much against Uncle Sam's food pyramid as to not "bite the hand that feeds." I have read some pretty radical anecdotes about people having their conditions controlled or reversed by coconut oil, so I figured I'd get a more neutral opinion. Thanks
    Last edited by PeaceCorpsCaveMan; 08-08-2011 at 07:54 PM.

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    The fact is PeaceCorpsCaveMan is that coconut products are in demand, so there is nothing wrong in getting them to exploit that, there is a market for anything organic, and I know I get a warm feeling when I buy something that is from a co-operative.

    Do they eat coconut? If they are not eating a lot of coconut, I would ask them why...because I think you will find that someone has told them that is was too high in fat and no one has given them the update. Certainly in nutritional terms, if it is local then they should be eating it.

    Certainly the research shows that even in the food pyramid you are better to make up your fats in good fats like avocado and coconut than in other oils and fats.

    I cannot vouch for all the medical miracles either, but I do know, coconut milk and dried coconut was a real help when I first started PB as I was getting good fats and good low carb snack. I still find a glass of coconut milk the quickest meal when I do not have time. Look how popular it is on the site.

    From an economic point of view that people should try and be self sufficient, certainly. From the point of view if they are not eating as much coconut now as someone told them it was bad, certainly tell them the research has proved them correct.

    Hope this helps.
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    The high incidence of diabetes does not surprise me, given the predominance of beans, rice and tortillas in the Guatemalan diet. I suspect unless they eliminate the ongoing carbohydrate assault, adding coconut oil will not fix the problem.

    Check Diabetes Directory for information. Also download one of Bernstein's book on diabetes, charge it to your mother's Kindle account . He bucks the standard diabetes advice and advocates low carb, I sent the book to my buddy Raul in Brazil and it made a huge difference.
    Last edited by Adrianag; 08-09-2011 at 02:08 AM.

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    The beans, rice, tortillas, and TONS of sugar are one part of the equation, but the problem is exacerbated by the lack of saturated oils in the diet. I believe most of the diet advice in my town comes from the doctors in the town's health center or in nearby big cities who give the standard diabetic diet advice to primarily the female heads of household who cook for the rest of the family. The advice says as little fat as possible, no saturated fats, high fiber, no sugar, and the advice limits intake of refined carbohydrates to a few servings per day. People take this to the extreme and many eat as close to 0 fats as possible as household policy and they use this advice combined with chronic lack of income for food and many, diabetics especially, only eat meat a few times per year, while their conditions worsen. Also it's "common wisdom" in Guatemala that if you're "gordo" or fat, you are healthy, because if you are too poor to feed yourself or your children then you could be calorie deficient and thin.

    Given the almost complete absence of saturated oils in many people's diets, I'm wondering if in these cases they might see an effect. It's just so incredibly difficult to influence people here to do anything out of the ordinary. Being different is seriously shunned here. So strategy-wise I think it might be easier to get my foot in the door with some small incremental health improvement.

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