A fruit juice made from coconut oil may be better for your health than sugar, according to a new study.
The study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, found that coconut oil’s natural sugars can be fermented into sweetened fruit juice.
The findings may mean people can reduce the amount of sugar they consume or reduce the sugar in their diet if they follow a sweetener-free diet, said lead author Dr. Tiana Mair.
“If you take a very low-calorie diet, you may want to switch to coconut oil because it can have a lot of natural sugars, so you’re going to have more control over your health,” she said.
Mair and her colleagues found that when researchers fed two groups of rats with diets high in coconut oil, one group of rats drank a sweetened coconut oil juice and the other group drank a regular diet.
The sweetened juice contained about 30 per cent more sugar than the regular diet, but the rats’ liver enzymes were also significantly higher in the coconut oil group.
“It’s a really interesting finding because it’s the first time that we have really demonstrated that these two groups, these two kinds of food, actually interact,” Mair said.
“The way that these animals were treated with the coconut juice was quite different.
So, the question is, is it the coconut that is really doing this or is it what they’re feeding to their animals?”
The researchers used a system that mimics the liver’s sugar production to monitor how much sugar was in the diets of the two groups.
They found that the sweetened food made by the rats fed coconut oil had higher levels of sugar in the liver than the sugar-free food.
“There are other ways that coconut can interact with our body that we don’t really understand,” Mairs said.
The researchers say their findings suggest that coconut’s natural sugar, when fermented into juice, can actually be beneficial in helping to control inflammation.
“I think it’s a great thing to have because it has so many benefits,” said Mair, who is also a member of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Manitoba.
“One of the things that is so exciting about coconut oil is that there are so many other things that can be extracted from it, and that’s why you might not think about consuming it all the time.”
So we’re going in the direction that we’re trying to get there, which is finding a way to make more and more coconut oil and extract more and the more we extract the more beneficial it is,” she added.
The research was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institutes of Health.
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