By now you have likely seen the latest articles from USA Today and others saying that coconut oil is not healthy. While these articles are getting lots of hype and air time, they aren’t telling us anything that we don’t already know. Coconut oil is a saturated fat…yup, we already knew that….so why all the attention?
I won’t get into the details of why they are vilifying coconut oil or what these journalists (and the American Heart Association) actually got wrong. I have attached a link to an article from Dr. Mark Hyman and another from GreenMedInfo that explains this in detail if you are interested. Although, I found this study that Dr. Hyman mentioned to be quite fascinating. In his article, Dr. Hyman references a study of over 130,000 people who had heart attacks over 5 years. Their records showed that 75% of them had normal LDL (the bad cholesterol) and 50 percent had optimal LDL cholesterol, but only 10% had normal HDL (the good cholesterol). Says Dr. Hyman:
Cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, it is the band-aid that tries to repair the arteries when damage occurs from a low-fat, high-starch, high sugar diet.
We are learning more and more about saturated fat, cholesterol and their effects on the human body every day. Unfortunately, it seems that some journalists are not very thorough in their research….
SO…WHAT IS THE TRUTH about COCONUT oil?
What exactly is it about coconut oil that makes it so healthy?
COCONUT OIL IS SPECIAL
Yes, coconut oil is fat and contains the same 9 calories per gram as other fats….however, it is a special kind of fat called “Medium Chain Triglycerides” (MCTs). In fact, 65% of the fat in coconut oil is MCTs.
What makes MCTs unique is how your body metabolizes them. MCT’s are easily absorbed into the bloodstream by your gut, where they go straight to the liver and are burned for fuel or converted into “ketones.”
This metabolic process, unique to MCTs, is what sets coconut oil apart from other fats.
Ketones can be a great brain fuel and have been shown to help with several brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.
MCT oil has also been shown to reverse insulin resistance and improve cognitive function.
- by increasing feelings of fullness, which can lead to a natural reduction in the amount of food you eat;
- by boosting metabolism – because of their unique metabolic route, MCTs can increase the number of calories you burn. In fact, a few studies show that coconut oil may increase the number of calories burned by as much as 5% compared to the calories burned after eating the same amount of other fats; and
- some studies have shown that eating coconut oil can specifically help reduce belly fat.
…and if all that wasn’t enough….coconut oil is anti-fungal, anti-microbial and contains lauric acid that boosts immune function!
So….should you eat coconut oil? Absolutely!!
The key to adding coconut oil to your diet is not to add on to what you already eat, but to substitute it for some of the less healthy fats you may be eating now.
Coconut oil is extracted from the “meat” of the coconut. It is white and solid at room temperature (unless it is a hot day) and melts to a clear liquid.
How much coconut oil should I eat?
Many of the studies that showed increased fullness, increased metabolism, and reduced belly fat only used about 2 tablespoons per day.
What kind of coconut oil is the best?
There are so many coconut oil options available in grocery stores these days that it can make it difficult to know which to choose.
“Virgin” coconut oil is best because it is processed at lower temperatures. This process avoids some of the chemical solvents used in the refining process and helps to preserve more of the oil’s natural health-promoting antioxidants. “Refined” or “hydrogenated” coconut oils create inflammation in the body and should be avoided.
One thing you should also consider is that each oil has a specific high temperature that you should avoid surpassing (e.g. its “smoke point”). For virgin coconut oil, that temperature is 350F. That means you can safely use it on the stovetop on a low-medium setting, as well as in most baking.
Substitute some of the fat you eat with virgin coconut oil. It will help you lose weight and belly fat by naturally helping you to eat less while increasing your metabolism. Eating coconut oil will also boost your immune system, help stave off certain brain disorders and may even reverse insulin resistance.
….and a final, final thought…..
According to Dr. Bruce Fife, author of “The Coconut Oil Miracle” and director of the Coconut Research Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado:
“Asian and Polynesian people who rely on coconut and coconut oil as a part of their daily diet have the lowest heart-disease rates in the world. Some of these people get as much as 50 percent of their total daily calories as saturated fat, primarily from coconut oil.
If coconut oil caused heart disease, as some people used to believe, these islanders would have all died off centuries ago. Those populations who consume large quantities of coconut oil have remarkably good cardiovascular health. Absent are the heart attacks and strokes characteristic in Western countries where coconut oil is rarely used.”
Maybe they know something the AHA doesn’t??
Oh, and coconut oil tastes great too!