How do you feel about coconut products such as sugar, oil, and flour? It seems like some are better than others. I’ve read that coconut flour is better to bake with instead of wheat flour because it has more nutrients and fiber. I’ve also read that coconut sugar has more micronutrients than regular sugar and breaks down differently, slower than regular sugar. I understand that oil has medium chain fatty acids that are better for your metabolism than other saturated fats.
Q: How do you feel about coconut products such as sugar, oil, and flour? It seems like some are better than others. I've read that coconut flour is better to bake with instead of wheat flour because it has more nutrients and fiber. I've also read that coconut sugar has more micronutrients than regular sugar and breaks down differently, slower than regular sugar. I understand that oil has medium chain fatty acids that are better for your metabolism than other saturated fats.
Let's discuss these coconut products one at a time.
Coconut flour contains no gluten and is much higher in fiber and lower in digestible carbohydrates than grains like wheat, corn, or oats. For instance, one quarter cup (1 ounce) of coconut flour contains 16 grams of carbohydrates that includes 10 grams of fiber, resulting in 6 grams of digestible carbs. By contrast, the same amount of whole wheat flour contains 20 grams of carbs, 3 grams of which are fiber, for a digestible carb count of 17 grams. Therefore, coconut flour will have much less of an impact on blood sugar than flour made from grains.
On the other hand, coconut sugar doesn't seem to provide much benefit for blood sugar control when compared to other sources of sugar. About 75-80% of coconut sugar is sucrose, or what we commonly refer to as table sugar, and the remainder is fructose. Although fructose doesn't raise blood sugar levels, it can promote insulin resistance. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that coconut sugar be considered equivalent to table sugar, since both provide the same number of calories and carbs.
Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are saturated fats that are shorter in length than most others and therefore metabolized differently by your body. These MCTs are rapidly absorbed and taken up directly by the liver, where they can be used for energy or converted into ketones, which can be used as an alternative energy source to glucose. Research suggests that consuming coconut oil boosts metabolic rate and may help reduce belly fat, although some studies found that these effects are temporary and last about two weeks.
Answered By dLife Expert: Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE
Certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian living in Southern California.
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