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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

Is Coconut Good for Diabetics?


Coconut is a versatile and nutritious food that can be enjoyed in many forms. It has some benefits for people with diabetes, but it also has some drawbacks. Here are some facts you should know about coconut and diabetes.


Coconut and Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body, but they also affect your blood sugar levels. People with diabetes need to monitor their carbohydrate intake and choose foods that have a low glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL). These are measures of how much and how quickly a food raises your blood sugar.


Coconut has a low GI of 42 and a low GL of 4 for a 55-gram serving. This means that it does not spike your blood sugar as much as some other foods. However, it also has 9 grams of carbohydrates per serving, which can add up if you eat too much. You should limit your portion size and count the carbs as part of your meal plan.


Coconut and Fat

Fat is another macronutrient that can affect your health. Some fats are good for you, such as unsaturated fats from olive oil, nuts, and fish. These fats can lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. Other fats are bad for you, such as saturated fats from animal products, palm oil, and coconut oil. These fats can raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease.


Coconut is high in saturated fat, with 11 grams per tablespoon of coconut oil. This is almost the entire recommended daily limit of 13 grams for people with diabetes. Saturated fat can also make your body more resistant to insulin, the hormone that regulates your blood sugar. Therefore, you should avoid or limit coconut oil and other products that contain it, such as coconut cream or milk.


Some studies have suggested that coconut oil may have some benefits for weight loss, insulin resistance, and cholesterol levels. However, these studies are small, short-term, and not conclusive. More research is needed to confirm the effects of coconut oil on diabetes and heart health.


Coconut and Other Nutrients

Coconut also contains some other nutrients that can have benefits for your body. These include:

  • Fiber: Coconut is rich in dietary fiber, which can help lower your cholesterol levels, improve your digestion, and make you feel full longer. Fiber can also slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes.

  • Vitamins and minerals: Coconut has some vitamins and minerals that are essential for your health, such as vitamin C, thiamin, folate, potassium, manganese, copper, selenium, iron, and phosphorus. These nutrients can support your immune system, nervous system, bone health, and metabolism.

  • Lauric acid: Coconut contains a type of saturated fat called lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties. This means that it can fight against bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause infections. Lauric acid is also converted into monolaurin in your body, which is a compound that can boost your immunity.


Summary

Coconut can be a part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes if consumed in moderation and in the right form. You can enjoy unsweetened coconut water or flakes occasionally as a refreshing drink or a snack. You can also use coconut flour as a low-carb alternative to wheat flour for baking or cooking. However, you should avoid or limit coconut oil and other products that are high in saturated fat and calories. You should also check your blood sugar levels regularly and consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.


Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)

Internal Medicine Specialist


Kify Hospital

Danavaipeta

Rajahmundry

Phone : 85000 23456

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