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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 110

Sri Lanka commence large scale manufacture of virgin coconut oil

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 17 January, ( Sri Lankan Coconut Oil manufacturers just started their Virgin Coconut Oil manufacturing process to grab local and international markets. At present Sri Lanka have two mass scale virgin oil manufacturers who manufacture aiming the export market.

Virgin coconut oil is fresh natural premium grade oil pure & free of contaminants. Extremely stable & functional (Not to be confused with generic coconut oil (Copra based) nor with other natural oils.)

The manufacturers say at present they have good demand from USA and UK, but they also promote virgin coconut oil in the local market.

According to the local oil manufacturers, Virgin coconut oil is a nutritional oil and energy source. It is heat stable, hence ideal as cooking oil, and it gives distinct flavor and long shelf life to finished product. Medium chain triglycerides, a fraction of coconut oil have been identified as an important medically efficacious food. Medium chain triglycerides as a principle source of in infant & baby food formulations, nutritional supplements for critically ill children and invalids. Coconut oil is used in ice cream, frozen deserts & confectioneries.

As cooking oil it is resistance to heat, & has the ability to remain without losing its chemical composition despite exposure to high temperatures. (Coconut oil does not lose the properties that help the immune system respond in a beneficial manner, even when used for cooking.)

Virgin coconut oil reduces risk of cancer & other degenerative conditions, risk of atherosclerosis and related illness, helps prevent bacterial, Viral & fungal (including yeast) infections, Supports immune system function, Helps control diabetes, Promotes weight loss, Supports healthy metabolic function, Provides an immediate source of energy, Supplies fewer calories than other fats, Supplies important nutrients necessary for good health, Improves digestion & nutrient absorption, Helps keep skin soft & smooth, Helps prevent premature aging and wrinkling of the skin and Helps protect against skin cancer and other blemishes.
“The most commonly available oil and the oil you are most likely to find is Refined, Bleached & Deodorized [RBD] oil.

This oil is produced from dried coconut meat. Due to the drying process (often air or sun drying) the resulting oil must be refined, bleached and deodorized in order to make it suitable for use, said a spokeswoman of a local coconut oil manufacturing plant.

In this process, fresh coconut meat is grated and pressed to produce a coconut milk which is a mixture of oil, water, proteins, etc. This mixture is allowed to ferment for approximately 48 hours which causes the solids and water content to separate from the oil. he oil is then heated to remove the remaining moisture.

The oil must be heated at a high temperature and for a long enough time to reduce the moisture content to a point which will prevent rancidity. The fact that this oil is produced in small batches by many different individuals may result in considerable variation from one batch to another. The texture of this oil is medium to thick.

DME (Direct Micro Expeller) Like the oil described above, this is a village process, but rather than extracting the oil from coconut milk, the fresh coconut meat is dried and then pressed.

Premium Virgin Oil. This process produces oil with the least amount of processing so that the natural vitamin E, antioxidants and fresh coconut "essence" are retained. Fresh coconut meat is grated and expeller pressed to produce coconut milk. The coconut milk is then centrifuged using a proprietary process to separate the oil from the other components. This oil has a very light texture and since no heat at all is applied it retains all the flavor and scent of fresh coconut. This premium oil is available in the U.S.A. under the trade name Coconut Oil Supreme. Unlike many village process "virgin" coconut oils, this oil is produced under strict hygienic conditions. The facility producing this oil is ISO certified, HACCP certified and the oil is produced in a Kosher-certified facility. (Lauric acid content and fatty acid composition.) This oil has such a light and delicate flavor and aroma that you can literally eat it by the spoonful. Although many companies now claim to be selling centrifuged oil, only one facility in the world, located in Indonesia, is capable of producing Coconut Oil Supreme.

As a result of all of the misinformation, this has been spread about coconut oil over the past 30 years as well as the constant media, harping on the dangers of fat and cholesterol.

Coconut oil is rich in saturated fat, which is why many people bracket it with animal fat. It should be noted that coconut oil has no cholesterol, as the latter is a component of animal fat only. However, intake of saturated fat may result in the elevation of the blood cholesterol levels. But all oils are not the same. Coconut oil is a good food, as most of its saturated fatty acids are what we call medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). They account for nearly 64% of the fatty acids in coconut oil. It is only coconut oil and palm kernel oil, among all of the edible oils, which contain these good MCFAs.

All other vegetable oils and the animal oils contain long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), said a local scientist who is involved with the virgin coconut oil manufacturing researches. He said the only exception is butterfat, with 12% short chain fatty acids.

Unfortunately those who equate coconut oil with other saturated fats do not know that there are different varieties of saturated fats. Coconut oil is, therefore, different from all other oils containing saturated fatty acids. Being a MCFA oil, coconut oil has certain definite advantages over other LCFAs.

The digestion of coconut oils is faster and starts almost in the mouth itself and undergoes complete digestion in the stomach and upper intestine not requiring the pancreatic juice lipase for its digestion. It also has better solubility in biological fluids, getting absorbed directly into the portal blood and carried to the liver directly to undergo rapid oxidation to release energy.

Other oils and animal fats containing LCFAs need pancreatic lipase for their digestion and do not easily mix with biological fluids, and so are absorbed after being re-esterified inside the intestinal cells into triglycerides. They are first incorporated into large insoluble particles called chylomicrons by the intestinal cells. These then go to the liver via the lymphatic and the circulatory system, thereby going round all parts of the body before going to the liver for final oxidation. They are, therefore, more likely to get deposited as fats and also change the blood fat content. Coconut oil, therefore, does not produce any significant change in the circulating VLDL [very low density lipoprotein], which is supposed to be bad for vessel thickening.

The excerpt below is taken from the book The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil by Bruce Fife, N.D. and relates to the beneficial effects of coconut oil for diabetics.

"The biggest culprit, however, seems to be polyunsaturated oil. Studies have shown that when polyunsaturated fats from the diet are incorporated into cellular structure, the cell's ability to bind with insulin decreases, thus lowering their ability to get glucose. In other words, the "locks" on the cells, which open the door for glucose to enter, degrade when too much polyunsaturated oil is consumed in the diet. Insulin is then unable to open the door. Polyunsaturated oils are easily oxidized and damaged by free radicals. Fats of all types, including polyunsaturated oils, are used as building blocks for cell membranes. Oxidized
polyunsaturated fats in the cell membrane can adversely affect the cell's function, including its ability to allow hormones, glucose, and other substances to flow in and out of the cell. Therefore, a diet high in refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils promotes diabetes. A diet low in such oils helps alleviate symptoms. Because all fats also promote weight gain, it's best to avoid them as much as possible, he said.

"There is one fat that diabetics can eat without fear. That fat is coconut oil. Not only does it not contribute to diabetes, but it helps regulate blood sugar, thus lessening the effects of the disease. The Nauru people consumed large amounts of coconut oil for generations without ever encountering diabetes, but when they abandoned it for other foods and oils the results were disastrous."

"As mentioned earlier, coconut oil puts less of a demand on the enzyme production of the pancreas. This lessens the stress on the pancreas during mealtime when insulin is produced most heavily, thus allowing the organ to function more efficiently. Coconut oil also helps supply energy to cells because it is easily absorbed without the need of enzymes or insulin. It has been shown to improve insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose. Coconut oil in the diet enhances insulin action and improves binding affinity compared to other oils. The Journal of the Indian Medical Association has reported that Type II diabetes in India has increased as the people have abandoned traditional oils, like coconut oil, in favor of polyunsaturated vegetable oils which have been promoted as "heart-friendly." The authors comment on the link between polyunsaturated oils and diabetes and recommend increasing coconut oil consumption as a means to prevent diabetes.

"One of the consequences of diabetes is a lack of energy. This is due to the inability of cells to get needed glucose. Without the glucose to power cellular activity, metabolism slows down and the entire body becomes tired."

"Exercise has been recommended as a means to help diabetics control blood sugar. One of the reasons exercise is beneficial is that it increases metabolism. A faster metabolic rate stimulates increased production of needed insulin and increases absorption of glucose into cells, thus helping both Type I and Type II diabetics."

"Another advantage of increasing metabolism is that more calories are burned. Coconut oil raises metabolic rate causing the body to burn up more calories and thus promoting weight loss. Yes, you can actually lose excess weight by adding coconut oil to your diet. The MCFA in coconut oil are sent directly to the liver for conversion into energy and not into body tissues as fat."

A question which we are frequently asked by people who are new to using coconut oil is whether or not coconut oil contains any trans fats. Natural (non-hydrogenated) coconut oil does not contain trans fats. "Trans fat (also known as trans fatty acids) is a specific type of fat formed when liquid oils are made into solid fats like shortening and hard margarine."

The available studies show that trans fats are so harmful to health that there is really no "safe" amount which can be consumed.

The tremendous concern about public health and the dangers of tropical oils turned out to be based not on health but on the bottom line of the vegetable oil industry and market share. Unfortunately, the campaign against tropical oils was so effective that most people are still misinformed, he explained.

- Asian Tribune -

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