Coconuts: tropical LCHF

Cayman Islands Coconuts

Many people who eat LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) like coconut fat. It’s absolutely healthy – and almost only saturated fat.

Coconuts do not contain saturated fat to poison you, on the contrary people in the tropics eating lots of them were traditionally fit and almost free from western diseases. So, why are coconuts full of saturated fat? An explanation is coming shortly…

As our LC-cruise stopped at the Cayman Islands last week I had a closer look at these nuts.

Toward Grand Cayman

Since our gigantic cruise ship could not anchor at the pier we had to take a small boat to shore. As usual, the ceiling was low:

Cayman Island Coconuts


As you arrive ashore from the cruise ship you are of course welcomed by lots of people trying to sell you stuff. However, this was interesting:

Cayman Islands Coconuts

These green coconuts are not quite ripe yet. The good thing about this is that they have coconut water inside that makes a nice tropical drink on a hot day. There is a tiny amount of sugar in it but hardly any compared to a soda.

One end of the coconut is chopped off with a machete and it’s a miracle someones finger is not chopped off as well. I decided just to pose with one:

Cayman Islands Coconuts

Above you can also see a coconut with one end chopped off and a straw added.

When you are finished drinking the rest is opened:

Cayman Islands Coconuts

The white stuff is the coconut meat. Full of fat. In a ripe coconut (brown, not green) there is more coconut meat and less water.

The fat in coconuts is 90% saturated. As I wrote, the reason is not so that they can induce heart attacks in tourists, although a few badly updated professors might still think so. No, this is real food, healthy food.

Warm climate

The fat in coconuts is probably saturated because it gives it a good consistency in a tropical climate were temperatures can be, like, 100 degrees F. Polyunsaturated fat (such as canola oil) would be very runny in this heat and couldn’t build the structure of a coconut.

Now, consider for a moment what temperature your body has. Your body and its myriad of cells, all partly constructed with saturated fats.


LCHF för beginners

Earlier cruise reports

Why Americans are fat

Why Americans are fat, part 2

VFF + Suit. A new trend?

The definitive cruise report


  1. I TOTALLY had a coconut with the ice cold water when we were in the Grand Caymans.
  2. Me too Jimmy ;) ! So yum!
  3. Excellent post!
  4. Margaretrc
    I grew up on tender coconuts (what we called the green ones in India.) Nothing quenches thirst--or re-hydrates better--after a long, hot hike or other form of exercise like the juice inside and the tender meat tastes delicious and is very sustaining. I still carry the juice in cans around in the car with me in case I need some after tennis or whatever. And if I do drink it, I include the carbs in my allowance for the day. And as to the "unhealthy" saturated fat from coconuts. Saturated or not, I believe it is one of the healthiest fats one can consume and I get so angry every time I think about how the soybean interests in the USA made us trade it in for the very unhealthy partially hydrogenated frankenfats.
  5. Margaretrc
    Credit where credit is due: "Frankenfats" is Tom Naughton's word, not mine, but I like it.
  6. Brian Scott
    Hello Dr. Eenfeldt, I'm over here from Mr. Naughton's blog. I live in the Cayman Islands. I hope you had a good stay.

    I've recently started to learn how to cook, so maybe I'll try to render out my own coconut oil one day. Some of our traditional recipes have coconut milk in them (essentially, the liquefied meat), and I've always heard people wondering how our great grandfathers didn't have heart attacks with much as they may have used. :)

  7. Joanne
    We are so lucky that most all of the Caribbean islands sell young coconuts to tourists so we can taste that wonderful milk and eat the coconut meat. It's the best thing on a hot day and not that difficult to do at home if you can find them in the stores. Our local Whole Foods sells them and I've learned how to safely open one for a nice sweet nutritious treat.
  8. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD Team Diet Doctor
    I had a great day at the Caymans. Snorkelling and saying hello to the sting rays...
  9. I LOVE any/all coconut products - the water like you had, as "flour", unsweetened & shredded, as a butter, a "cream" (I get Coconut Cream from the local Latin market packaged in these little sealed plastic bags in a cardboard box - tacky as all get out, but who cares when it's that delicious, low carb & high in fat) - and, of course, Coconut Oil. I was amazed when I read how it can ameliorate the effects of Alzheimer's disease, so I make sure to try and have at least 1-2 tablespoons a day. Pity that the mainstream Powers-that-Be have demonized such an amazing superfood as the coconut.
  10. Dana
    I lived in the Philippines from '78 to '81 when the U.S. military bases were still open there, and I never saw a coconut with the outer hull brown. They always came off the trees with green hulls. When you take off the green hull, there's the brown shell underneath. And yep, there's liquid inside. I remember thinking for pretty much all my childhood that that was the "coconut milk" part of the coconut. Then a few years back, coconut water became a health fad here in the U.S.

    I use coconut oil in cooking now. It's amazing stuff.

  11. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD Team Diet Doctor
    Fred #3,
  12. Simon
    Hi Andreas,

    Can you suggest what a good amount of raw coconut to consume on a daily basis is?


  13. Lea Ann Norris
    I am back to being strict on my diet, I have type 1 diabetes and an incurable Leukemia (in remission) I tell ya-coconut oil is the way to go, but if you are a big breakfast eater- you may want to hold off on your coconut oil until after you've enjoyed breakfast. Coconut oil, for me at least, will stave off hunger for 2-3 hours, so if you typically eat lunch at 12 on the dot, and you have a Tb of coconut oil around 10:30 or 11:00, you likely won't want to eat until 2 or after! I have noticed that coconut oil not only gives you the satiated feeling but it lowers my glucose level as well, I swear by the stuff :) I have been into running all my life, and now my Oncologist has said that "vacation is over and it's time to hit the track again so you will be ready for your next round of chemo,"( as we don't know how long remission will last) At my age 53, I must be in health as best I can. Coconut oil somehow gives me a feeling of strength and an "I feel great about what I'm eating" awareness - even if its just a placebo thing, that's fine by me :) Thank you Dr Andreas E for helping so many!!!
    Lea Ann
  14. Michelle Doroshuk
    Hi Andreas! Is Coconut water a good source of Electrolytes for physically active individuals? I am LOVING your website and how I feel on the Ketogenic diet!!!!! So thankful :)


  15. Deb
    Will it raise blood sugar? I don't eat fruit anymore except for avacodos and tomatoes and olives, but going on a cruise in Febr and no I don't cheat, so need to know if a coconut is ok?
    Reply: #16
  16. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor
    Coconut meat and water may be more appropriate for someone following a more moderate or liberal low carb program and may be too high carb for someone eating a ketogenic diet. If you have concerns about a specific food, you can always test your blood sugar. Here is a link to our guide on fruits.

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