Coconut Oil and Tropical Fruits: Are They Safe?

Spread the love


In the 1980’s, a war against the importation of coconut and palm oil into the US was waged by edible oil associations. These groups campaigned that restrictions should be placed on the importation of these oils from the tropics because they increased the risk of heart diseases. The evidence for this was based on the semi-solid nature of coconut and palm oil at room temperature, a feature also found in fats. This attack was branded the “Tropical Grease Campaign.” Many producers of coconut and palm oil in the tropics suffered severely because of decreased sales of their products, both on the local and the international market.

History and good science however, have vindicated the use of these oils, as research has shown that these oils are in fact protective against heart diseases. Ironically the campaign against coconut and palm oil in the US resulted in the introduction of hydrogenated oils or trans-fats to replace the role these oils usually serve in the food industry. Trans-fats have been shown conclusively, to promote heart diseases. See

Another campaign is currently being developed to restrict the use of Tropical fruits and ground provisions. This campaign is been popularized by first world doctors and nutritionists and unfortunately, has been supported by some of our own local doctors and nutritionists. They argue that the increasing prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus worldwide is to be blamed on the consumption of food with high “Glycemic Index.” The Glycemic Index refers to the tendency of a food consumed to increase blood sugar and Insulin levels. The higher the Glycemic Index of a food the greater the glucose and Insulin elevation after consumption of that food. It is argued (believed) that this excess Insulin level is bad because this hormone increases your body’s growth tendency including fat retention. This fat retention along with the increased blood glucose increases the risk for Diabetes, therefore foods that have a high Glycemic Index should be avoided. These foods include Tropical fruits such as mangoes, pineapples and melons and ground provisions such as yams and potatoes. Thus fruits with low Glycemic Index should be encouraged including Temperate fruits such as apples and pears.
The argument suggests that we (suggestion to) avoid tropical fruits and ground provision is receiving much publicity by both foreign and local “experts.” It would not be surprising if in the next few years there is a considerable reduction in the export and sales of Tropical fruits and ground provision. Obviously there will be a commensurate increase in the sales of Temperate fruits. It is surprising that this belief is propagated since statistics show that Diabetes is far less common in countries that have a high intake of Tropical fruits and ground provision, than those with a low intake.

Unregulated excessive levels of Insulin will have a negative effect on the body just as the excess of any known thing you could imagine, including another hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol is produced by the body in a rhythmic pattern in which it is high at 8o’clock every morning. This hormone increases with stress and exercise, and unlike Insulin is destructive to the body resulting in the breakdown of protein and consequent acceleration of aging. With a little stretch of your imagination it may be a good idea if you harmonized the growth building hormone (Insulin) with the body’s destructive hormone (Cortisol), you would probably cancel out the negative effects of these two hormones and result in a more balanced and positive outcome. Sounds reasonable?
We need to realize that natural food we eat is not our enemy and recognize that the body demands that we have a certain responsibility with regard to the timing of our meals. Otherwise, the prevalence of Diabetes will increase and the likelihood that the “Tropical Glycemic Campaign” will succeed and damage our export and agricultural economy.


Leave a Reply