Another Coconut Bashing-By Dr Harold Gunatillake

Harold Gunatillake

Dreams come true on a sandy beach in Sri Lanka, under the shade of coconut trees and coconuts


The present onslaught on coconut oil comes from research studies from the tropical island of Sri Lanka, where coconut palm trees are seen swaying gracefully along the coastline in the white sandy beaches, the locals and
the tourists seen sipping that fruity nutrient water out of coconut to chill there way on a hot sunny day, and the
local’s staple food being rice and curry, consuming at least using a coconut per family per day. Each coconut is scraped, squeezed by adding warm water to turn into milk- and used for thickening and flavoring of curries. Besides, the coconut oil -extract of the dried coconut kernel called copra being used for frying and
temporizing curries.

A delicious appetizing spicy coconut mixture with chili powder, Maldivian dry fish pierces, chopped onions and
added salt- called ‘Pol Sambol by the natives, is almost a daily preparation to go with hoppers, flat bread made
with added scraped coconuts called ‘Pol Roti’ and with accompanying curries with rice.
Sri Lankans love pol sambol bread sandwiches with a layer of butter, and that would be mouth watering It is a very nutritious mixture. Coconut: total (serving size 2’x2’x05’piece) –total fat 15.1g: Cholesterol nil: Total carbs 6.9g: dietary fiber 4.1g, protein 1.5g: calcium 6.3mg: potassium 160mg- calories 159 The Maldivian fish gives the omega-3 component, Chili powder and lime gives vitamin C requirement, and further its fiber content is high with low carbs suitable for diabetics to enjoy ad. Lib.
In every Asian home coconut oil, having a high smoking point is used for frying, baking and so on.
Will people in Thailand consume any soup or curry without coconut milk in them? The answer is that Thai food is so tasty because they use plenty of coconuts in their cuisine.
Let us take the Pacific basin and the thousands of people in those islands where coconut trees thrive. Do those
strong big made people die of heart disease? Coconut oil has been consumed by populations in the Pacific islands for thousands of years without ill effects.
Think about it!

Lot of coconut scrapings are used to make sweetmeat such as kavuns, kokis, athiraha and many others prepared for traditional events resembling the Thanksgiving in the United States.
Most of these delicacies are fried in hot coconut oil.
The present study finding is that, “coconut oil is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases” like heart attacks and stroke in South Asia including Sri Lanka, a research paper published recently by a team led by Prof. Ranil Jayawardena, Professor of nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, assisted by a team-Hasinthi
Swarnamali and Dr. Priyanga Ranasinghe The first beating occurred during the late fifties when Ancell Key from Pennsylvania concocted data on the death from coronary heart disease and fat consumption from 22 countries, but he selected 7 countries which supported his theory that animal fat was the main cause of coronary heart disease. The truth about Ansel Keys was that we have got it wrong

Ansel Keys did an awful thing. He published a study about different countries that made it look like heart disease
was associated with fat intake. But the truth was that he started out with 22 countries and just tossed out the
ones that did not fit his hypothesis! When other researchers analyzed his data using all the original countries, the
link between fat and heart disease totally vanished. Keys were a fraud.
Popularity of coconut oil and the meat or kernel, for some reason has resurged during the past few years and its
health and other benefits to mankind have been exemplified.
In fact, Bruce Fife Naturopathic doctor living in Philippines, the pioneer producer of Virgin coconut oil states that recently Scientists have discovered a powerful new weapon against heart disease. As surprising as it may seem, this new weapon is coconut oil. Yes, ordinary coconut oil. Eating coconut oil on a regular basis can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack!
So, the second bout of attack has started by journalists for their survival and gain. Recently in the USA Today appeared an article, “coconut Oil Isn’t Healthy. It’s never been Healthy” This claim is on the assumption that
saturated fats in certain foods cause heart disease and not the unsaturated fats. We are beginning to understand
that low fat and low-cholesterol diets do not seem to be the answer to avoid heart disease.
It is known that many on low fat and low cholesterol diets have had heart attacks, and in fact 60 percent of cases
who have had heart disease have low cholesterol levels in their blood. Multiple studies in the recent past have
shown that saturated fats are not linked to heart disease.

It was the American heart Association that gave the bad advice for years that saturated fats cause heart disease
and recommended to go on a low-fat diet and to eat as much carbs as possible. According to Prof Ranil Jayawardena, coconut oil consumption significantly increases cholesterol LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL -good cholesterol. That is true. But is the LDL cholesterol in coconut oil a risk factor for cardiovascular episodes when it is used little daily?
Eating fatty foods with high carbs seems to be the real culprit for heart disease and other noncommunicable
It is observed that the Sri Lankan women, including the domestics use little coconut oil in their daily cooking. For temporizing and for frying they restrict the oil usage to 2-3 tablespoons of oil. This has been shown to benefit
weight, reduce belly fat and improve other health markers.
Eating 2 tablespoons (30ml) of coconut oil per day is a reasonable amount that leaves room for other healthy fats
in your diet like olive oil, and there seem to be no risks for cardiovascular episodes and there are more health
Coconut oil is popular in several trending diets including ketogenic and Paleo diets.

Coconut oil though a mainly saturated fat contains no cholesterol, and only traces of vitamins, minerals, and
plant sterols.
In another onslaught coconut oil is labeled as ‘pure poison ‘by a Harvard professor Karin Michel.
She says, “I can only warn you urgently about coconut oil, this is one of the worst foods you can eat”
Epidemiological studies find that groups of people who include coconut as part of their natives diets e.g. India,
Philippines, Polynesia, Thailand, and other Pacific basin islands have low rates of cardiovascular diseases
compared to the people in the Western world who do not include coconut in their diets have much a high risk of
cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular diseases are the number 1 cause of death globally, and most of those cases have never eaten foods prepared with coconut oil. There are so many other factors as described earlier and the causes are multifaceted.
The bottom line is that Sri Lankans and other Asians including Polynesians and other countries along the tropical belt, do use small amounts of coconut oil in the cooking processes, and though it has high levels of LDL bad cholesterol, more than even butter should not be considered a risk factor for heart disease.
It is true that coconut oil being a saturated fat will raise the bad cholesterol in your blood, but test of time for
centuries have shown us that the risk of cardiovascular disease no higher than those who do not use coconuts in
their diets.
The only tree that was destroyed or uprooted during tsunami in 2004, in Sri Lanka was the coconut tree that
provided the inhabitants with shelter and the main ingredient in their cuisines, a blessing.
Those swaying palms are giving us a positive message. So, do not feel guilty, eat coconut in any form in your daily diet, as test of time has proved it is not a risk factor for heart disease.
Hope this video talk was useful.
Take care and goodbye for now.


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