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Coconut flour as metabolic medicine

by (17949)
Updated about 9 hours ago
Created March 10, 2011 at 6:32 PM

As it should be, anyone in the paleo community who reproaches the all-mighty coconut is instantly branded a heretic and crucified. We love coconut fat for its multiple nutritional benefits and coconut seems to be the solution to things that a paleo cook may be missing, such as milk, cream and flour. Coconut flour is beloved by all who have ever had the urge to make super-awesome paleo cookies or other delectable paleo baked goods.

But what of its medicinal properties? Why should we all consider adding coconut flour to our regular diet? Besides the fatty acids which are prodigious in their ability to boost important molecules like, adiponectin, HDL, and testosterone, Stephan has blogged many times about the virtues of an active colon that generates butyric acid and hosts a large and diverse floral population http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/12/butyric-acid-ancient-controller-of.html There are many many benefits of good (non-grain!) fiber if one cares to search pubmed.

Just 50 grams of coconut flour, a paltry sum contains 27 whopping grams of fiber. This looks like the ultimate choice for anyone who wants to get into super colon fun land and reap all of the metabolic and general health benefits of very high fiber, without having to eliminate any fat or protein from the diet. To put that into perspective you would have to consume about 800g of broccoli to get what is in 50g of coconut flour. I love broccoli but I can't do it.

I have also been eating chicory root for the inulin and getting a great deal of vegetable fiber. My fasting glucose is down, that's all I'm saying. Some paleo men used to get over a hundred grams of fiber a day as mentioned by Robert Lustig in the Sugar: The Bitter Truth video. Not that we need that much but it is something to think about. Fiber is metabolic bling bling.

Coconut flour also have appreciable amounts of protein and minerals as well. It=Win.

edit: more literature literature

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10483900 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9384528 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18418037 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19366864

  • Stephan + loads.

I think the fiber issue is the one aspect of nutrition where the vast majority of the raw vegan crowd has paleo beat. Your average person getting into paleo will eat tons of steak, eggs and fat of all kinds with some veggies and fruit, but the fiber seems to be seriously lacking. It need not be like that though!

Does anybody have objections or additions?

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46
1523 · July 07, 2013 at 4:20 AM

wow, id rather eat egg yolks and butter to help me poo than take fibers, maybe even try an eat more magnesium containing foods, but definitely not fiber, its pretty irritating

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · August 05, 2012 at 4:19 AM

Anthriel- You will find different foods listed in different places. The only way to know for YOU is by trial & elimination.

8e5829eb5dd0d1fd9ba1db4ee194658f
10 · August 05, 2012 at 2:40 AM

Ok, so where is it written that coconut is to be avoided on no FODMAP? I ask because I've been having quite a lot of coconut flakes and coconut flour. The pain I've been eating paleo / noFODMAP to avoid has not gone and was *horrible* the time I had coconut-flour cookies. But I've not seen anything about it being something to avoid! Help?

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5381 · June 21, 2012 at 7:16 AM

Then again, coconut has some fructan content, cant figure out how much....pity all this stuff is made up out of nothing. Tomatoes have fructans, and I do fine on them. Ive been eating coconut flesh and cream no problem. Soon as I eat sugar, or starch, i have a problem...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · June 21, 2012 at 7:01 AM

Coconut has been revised, or at least the milk and cream have - http://www.taste.com.au/kitchen/articles/three+c+s+are+they+low+fodmap+,425 - who knows about coconut flour.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · June 21, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Modern testing has re-assessed coconut, and its actually low fodmap. Not sure about coconut flower.." Later testing of coconut cream/milk found that the FODMAP content, or more specifically sorbitol, was so low that it was unlikely to be problematic for most people, and so it was removed from the high FODMAP list. " -http://www.taste.com.au/kitchen/articles/three+c+s+are+they+low+fodmap+,425

0eba2cda101e1ef460ca0291aeb2e975
120 · April 18, 2012 at 2:03 AM

My coconut flour has the same stats as your Brand A. Health Reflections?

9267cb2507141e9a72e9d7159a5ffb80
78 · March 26, 2012 at 11:20 PM

Yes the nutritional differences in coconut flours seem to be common. Also some are very high in carbs and some not.

9267cb2507141e9a72e9d7159a5ffb80
78 · March 26, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Yea can you please post the recipe :)

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2231 · January 06, 2012 at 5:27 PM

That makes coconut butter...

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · December 27, 2011 at 7:04 AM

yeah it's not for everyone, that's for sure. And actually since then I've revised my view on fiber. A certain amount is good, but tons of it is ultimately detrimental, the only good side is it backs you up so much that glucose absorbs more slowly and diabetes is better controlled. But if you have good insulin sensitivity I can't see more than 15g being beneficial. I may be wrong, but butyrate production maxes out around there.

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56616 · December 27, 2011 at 3:39 AM

You can also make your own non-defatted stuff by buying non-defatted flaked coconut and putting it in the food processer.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
56616 · December 27, 2011 at 3:39 AM

You can use coconut flour as a sauce thickener for curries and other non-baked applications. Either way, Paleolithic humans definitely made flours.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
56616 · December 27, 2011 at 3:38 AM

Yeah, my mother is more FODMAP sensitive than I am and really has trouble with coconut flour.

306905a32e76b5c0764a663ea7e88426
1072 · July 27, 2011 at 6:27 AM

Could I possibly bother you for that rather awesome sounding recipe? I'm sure the community here would be grateful. :)

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17949 · June 18, 2011 at 7:07 PM

I think that some coconut flour can be a good thing for those who don't see any GI symptoms from it. Fiber than feeds gut flora is a good thing to a point, but then there is also the possibility of increasing inflammation in the gut with too much bad bacteria so there is going to be a balance depending upon the person.

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1634 · June 18, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Stabby - After several months of experimentation, and research, what do you think now?

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · June 01, 2011 at 4:02 AM

You could use non-refined coconut flour, it's brown. Dessicated coconut does have some fiber but not as much. Either is a good choice, I ended up deciding against massive amounts of coconut fiber, so dessicated is a viable option, then again so are a lot of things.

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15976 · June 01, 2011 at 2:37 AM

That rumble etc is exactly the reason I avoid coconut flour. Too much fiber, irritates the bowels. Veggies and potatoes give me any fiber I'd need. Id go so far s to say that if one consumes vegetation regularly they will have absolutely no need for "using" anything like coconut flour for its' fiber content.

D64a0ae059bb55a0881236bb60f81f7e
204 · March 15, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Thanks for the recipe. I will try the better better out some day.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · March 11, 2011 at 10:59 PM

Yes indeed, Stephan says that insoluble fiber does get eating somewhat by gut flora, it just doesn't become gelatinous and doesn't get consumed entirely.

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17949 · March 11, 2011 at 10:57 PM

It may not be that it gets digested completely but that's not to say that they don't chomp on it. Here there were clearly fermentation byproducts http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6W6D-4KSVG4V-1&_user=10&_coverDate=12%2F31%2F2006&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=gateway&_origin=gateway&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1675220161&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=da4fdec13110adf19040ad57ab89810d&searchtype=a

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · March 11, 2011 at 1:48 AM

Huh, well that's a downer. *sulk*

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198 · March 11, 2011 at 12:03 AM

Right Stabby. I also posted comment to the first post regarding insoluble vs. soluble fiber. Coconut fiber is insoluble. It won't ferment.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · March 10, 2011 at 11:49 PM

Blah I mean soluble. Soluble fiber is fine.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · March 10, 2011 at 11:48 PM

Are we talking soluble or insoluble? Grain fiber is bad but I wouldn't extrapolate it to insoluble, which feeds important gut flora, gets converted to butyrate and clearly prevents colon cancers and increases insulin sensitivity.

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76 · March 10, 2011 at 9:24 PM

Also Kwaśniewski seems to be down on lots and lots of fiber, in Optimal Diet, Ideal Diet.

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198 · March 10, 2011 at 7:45 PM

The fiber in coconut flour is insoluble, which is not fermented by bacteria in the colon. The fiber in broccoli is soluble which what bacteria can digest and do all the potential health benefits. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietary_fiber

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18671 · March 10, 2011 at 7:34 PM

Yeah, could be. You make a good point that the anti-fiber contingent conflates different types of fiber. I hadn't considered that.

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1303 · March 10, 2011 at 7:28 PM

I do love my coconut flour, but fiber actually screws up my digestion. I limit my coconut flour consumption for that reason- one small serving of anything made with coconut flour will screw up my digestive tract for about 2 days. For me, raw sauerkraut and yogurt (just a little of each) daily works much, much better than fiber.

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1502 · March 10, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Wow - does it really have that much fiber? I need a little fiber to keep my tummy happy, and don't like taking Metamucil. If it has that much fiber, I'll have to break out my can of coconut flour on a regular basis! Thanks for the tip.

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17949 · March 10, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Heh, well I suppose it has more to do with nutrient status, inflammation and adiponectin then, and we don't NEED fiber, but it clearly helps. And it likely has other benefits.

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18671 · March 10, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Just an n=1 counterpoint: I eat zero fiber and my fasting blood glucose was last measured at 71.

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183 · March 10, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Yes, it sounds like you'd get plenty of "action" after this. You get the "rumbles" for like an hour afterwards, lol. but at least it's good. I too make pancakes with the flour.

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17949 · March 10, 2011 at 6:50 PM

It is grain fiber that seems to be the problem. I just ate 40g of fiber in a sitting and I feel fine. The problem appears to be leaky gut or infections, and people should probably fix that first. But if they can swing it there are more benefits than downsides.

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17949 · March 10, 2011 at 6:47 PM

It includes a question of opinions. I am genuinely interested.

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1710 · March 10, 2011 at 6:45 PM

This isn't really a question, is it, Stabby?

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8 Answers

4d8545ba40148e982a5c891acbf20e76
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183 · March 10, 2011 at 6:40 PM

No objections whatsoever. I don't know what effects very high fibre has on the body, but i'm sure it's not bad. There's a good chance our distant ancestors consumed tons of fibre (any indigestable plant cellulose) in their diet. I have tried almond meal and flax meal, and i can say they are inferior, in taste and texture, to coconut flour. Coconut products are fantastic!

On a side note, i made coconut chocolate bars yesterday, using coconut oil, organic cocoa powder, 3 drops pure stevia, and coconut flakes. To put it simply, they were The best I've ever had and can't go back to buying chocolate from the store at $4.00 each.

9267cb2507141e9a72e9d7159a5ffb80
78 · March 26, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Yea can you please post the recipe :)

306905a32e76b5c0764a663ea7e88426
1072 · July 27, 2011 at 6:27 AM

Could I possibly bother you for that rather awesome sounding recipe? I'm sure the community here would be grateful. :)

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb
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6550 · March 10, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Some folks aren't all that crazy about fiber. See: http://www.gutsense.org/

I'm not sold on this view, but I recommend reading over it before you start eating coconut flour by the spoonful. It sounds like it would be very hard on your gut (I know that coconut flour hits me like a brick).

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46
1523 · July 07, 2013 at 4:20 AM

wow, id rather eat egg yolks and butter to help me poo than take fibers, maybe even try an eat more magnesium containing foods, but definitely not fiber, its pretty irritating

91487fa364848b52aad94002266aebc9
76 · March 10, 2011 at 9:24 PM

Also Kwaśniewski seems to be down on lots and lots of fiber, in Optimal Diet, Ideal Diet.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · March 10, 2011 at 6:50 PM

It is grain fiber that seems to be the problem. I just ate 40g of fiber in a sitting and I feel fine. The problem appears to be leaky gut or infections, and people should probably fix that first. But if they can swing it there are more benefits than downsides.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
2
32518 · December 27, 2011 at 3:10 AM

Ugh. FODMAP-city. No thanks!

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · August 05, 2012 at 4:19 AM

Anthriel- You will find different foods listed in different places. The only way to know for YOU is by trial & elimination.

8e5829eb5dd0d1fd9ba1db4ee194658f
10 · August 05, 2012 at 2:40 AM

Ok, so where is it written that coconut is to be avoided on no FODMAP? I ask because I've been having quite a lot of coconut flakes and coconut flour. The pain I've been eating paleo / noFODMAP to avoid has not gone and was *horrible* the time I had coconut-flour cookies. But I've not seen anything about it being something to avoid! Help?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · June 21, 2012 at 7:16 AM

Then again, coconut has some fructan content, cant figure out how much....pity all this stuff is made up out of nothing. Tomatoes have fructans, and I do fine on them. Ive been eating coconut flesh and cream no problem. Soon as I eat sugar, or starch, i have a problem...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · June 21, 2012 at 7:01 AM

Coconut has been revised, or at least the milk and cream have - http://www.taste.com.au/kitchen/articles/three+c+s+are+they+low+fodmap+,425 - who knows about coconut flour.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · June 21, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Modern testing has re-assessed coconut, and its actually low fodmap. Not sure about coconut flower.." Later testing of coconut cream/milk found that the FODMAP content, or more specifically sorbitol, was so low that it was unlikely to be problematic for most people, and so it was removed from the high FODMAP list. " -http://www.taste.com.au/kitchen/articles/three+c+s+are+they+low+fodmap+,425

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · December 27, 2011 at 7:04 AM

yeah it's not for everyone, that's for sure. And actually since then I've revised my view on fiber. A certain amount is good, but tons of it is ultimately detrimental, the only good side is it backs you up so much that glucose absorbs more slowly and diabetes is better controlled. But if you have good insulin sensitivity I can't see more than 15g being beneficial. I may be wrong, but butyrate production maxes out around there.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
56616 · December 27, 2011 at 3:38 AM

Yeah, my mother is more FODMAP sensitive than I am and really has trouble with coconut flour.

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a
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1074 · December 27, 2011 at 2:59 AM

i don't wanna be a spoiler here but coconut flour is not Paleo. flour is refined and it doesn't matter where its from its both processed with additives AND calorically dense but nutrient sparse compared to whole foods. also if you're trying to still eat pancakes on a Paleo diet, you're mentality is not correct. no biggie but i find ppl still craving coconut flour pancakes on a Paleo diet as not resolving their cravings.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
56616 · December 27, 2011 at 3:39 AM

You can use coconut flour as a sauce thickener for curries and other non-baked applications. Either way, Paleolithic humans definitely made flours.

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2231 · June 01, 2011 at 1:05 AM

umm....correct me if im wrong but isnt coconut flour defatted and processed? why would someone use this junk over dessicated coconut flakes

1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74
2231 · January 06, 2012 at 5:27 PM

That makes coconut butter...

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
56616 · December 27, 2011 at 3:39 AM

You can also make your own non-defatted stuff by buying non-defatted flaked coconut and putting it in the food processer.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · June 01, 2011 at 4:02 AM

You could use non-refined coconut flour, it's brown. Dessicated coconut does have some fiber but not as much. Either is a good choice, I ended up deciding against massive amounts of coconut fiber, so dessicated is a viable option, then again so are a lot of things.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5
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18412 · March 10, 2011 at 10:59 PM

"reap all of the metabolic and general health benefits of very high fiber"

Fiber is ok in moderate amounts. But most people would do better on zero fiber rather than lots of fiber, like Dr Monastyrsky. He wrote Fiber Menace. Too much fiber can be disastrous. Even the 'recommended daily amount' for men (35g) is too much.

Some people report that a bit of fiber helps with overall digestion and gut health, but overdo it, and look out. It will jack you up, ranging from constipation to bloating to diarrhea and everything in between, and these issues, if not addressed quickly, can cause a myriad of long term and even chronic health problems.

I like how Kent Rieske put it... "Fiber is a bad dude."

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · March 11, 2011 at 1:48 AM

Huh, well that's a downer. *sulk*

8021ea3940df66820628d5bc5c29377c
198 · March 11, 2011 at 12:03 AM

Right Stabby. I also posted comment to the first post regarding insoluble vs. soluble fiber. Coconut fiber is insoluble. It won't ferment.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · March 10, 2011 at 11:49 PM

Blah I mean soluble. Soluble fiber is fine.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · March 10, 2011 at 11:48 PM

Are we talking soluble or insoluble? Grain fiber is bad but I wouldn't extrapolate it to insoluble, which feeds important gut flora, gets converted to butyrate and clearly prevents colon cancers and increases insulin sensitivity.

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1710 · March 10, 2011 at 6:47 PM

I like to use coconut flour in making "paleo" "pancakes."

Batter: egg and water (or milk or almond milk or coconut milk, etc.), coconut flour, and almond flour.

Better Batter: Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix, Added Coconut Flour, Organic Shredded Coconut, Mashed Bananas, Egg, and some fluid.

Fry it in coconut oil!

You'll have some nice "action" in the bowels after these kinds of things.

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15976 · June 01, 2011 at 2:37 AM

That rumble etc is exactly the reason I avoid coconut flour. Too much fiber, irritates the bowels. Veggies and potatoes give me any fiber I'd need. Id go so far s to say that if one consumes vegetation regularly they will have absolutely no need for "using" anything like coconut flour for its' fiber content.

D64a0ae059bb55a0881236bb60f81f7e
204 · March 15, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Thanks for the recipe. I will try the better better out some day.

4d8545ba40148e982a5c891acbf20e76
183 · March 10, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Yes, it sounds like you'd get plenty of "action" after this. You get the "rumbles" for like an hour afterwards, lol. but at least it's good. I too make pancakes with the flour.

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4393 · March 10, 2011 at 10:23 PM

I have found that the fiber contents vary between brands. I've tried two brands;

brand A (per 100g): fiber 38g, fat 8.6g.

brand B (per 100g): fiber 10g, fat 15-20g.

I just add 5g or so to some coconut milk every now & again & drink.

brand A caused my stomach to rumble/churn. after a few uses, i threw it out. brand B did not have the same negative effects, but was also lower in fiber.

So the higher fat flour suited me better, maybe it was less processed than the lower fat flour?

0eba2cda101e1ef460ca0291aeb2e975
120 · April 18, 2012 at 2:03 AM

My coconut flour has the same stats as your Brand A. Health Reflections?

9267cb2507141e9a72e9d7159a5ffb80
78 · March 26, 2012 at 11:20 PM

Yes the nutritional differences in coconut flours seem to be common. Also some are very high in carbs and some not.

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