It has been recognised that not all fats are the same and most now agree that, while intake of saturated fats from animal source should be kept to a minimum, saturated fats from some vegetable sources, such as Organic extra virgin (Raw) coconut oil, have many properties and actually are good for health, and should be – in measure – incorporated in the diet.
When studies are made to discredit oils such as coconut oil, "researchers" usually opt for the highly-processed version, which is as bad as refined seed oils.
When any oil is assimilated and stored in body tissues, they are more exposed to oxygen and warmth than they would in the seeds, and so their tendency to oxidise is much greater. Such oxidative processes can damage cell membranes and other parts of cells, and especially their ability to produce energy.
Because coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it is more stable and does not burden the body with oxidative stress like seed oils do. While seed oils are made of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, coconut oil does not need to be broken down by enzymes. It is quickly assimilated— and, in a way, boosts metabolism.
Recently, a Harvard professor, Dr Karin Michels, has raised claims that coconut oil is pure poison, and it appears that such statements are made following the most erroneous advice in human history, that fad is bad for health, and saturated fat even more so.
Not all saturated fats are made equal and plant-based saturated oils do not have the same action on the body than animal fat.
Since then, it has been unveiled that the research on which such statements were made were biased and unreliable, and that fat is necessary for health. It is for great reasons that fats are also called essential fatty acids, because they are indeed essential to our well-being.
Considering that our brain is made principally of fat, that each of our cell membrane is made of fat, and also cholesterol, avoiding fat makes no sense and it may also be the reason for the health pandemic that is killing the entire world, slowly but surely. It is true that sugar is now the new enemy, but again, a healthy diet is all about balance and not about blindly cutting out food from the diet.
Fat and carbs are essential to our health, so is protein, the main macronutrients the body relies upon for energy and to sustain life. There must be balance and there must purpose. Too much carbs, especially sugar, is bad to our health. Too much fat is bad to our health. FGor the simple reason that calories must be replaced by something else, and when the diet is void of good fat, the solution is always packing up on the carbs!!!
It makes sense, however, to spread a message of caution. People who consume large amount of saturated fat from animal source may burden the body even more by regularly consuming coconut oil. As with all food, a balanced diet is the key and a sensible intake is the key.
Extract from my Spring Edition Part 1 2013:
Coconut Oil - is there really more to it?
COCONUT OIL, coconut water and saturated fats have been the subject of many con- troversies, discussions and disagreements; however, it seems that, as discussed in our previous newsletter (Winter Newsletter Part1), many voices in the nutritional world echo what they have heard or read without tangible evidence.
When it comes to establish fact, clinical trials are most often necessary and are quite expensive. Until, those are done, it is then crucial to use common sense.
ALL FOOD have nutritional values and specific properties that have direct, or indirect, consequences on our body. Some nutrient-dense foods are branded little miracles (such as Sprouts, Barley Grass, Blueberries, Goji Berries, Aloe Vera and... Green Coconut. Although, it is important to stress that only Organic versions are only taken into consid- eration), but are they really?
After years of research, western medicine has just recently confirmed the profound healing properties of coconut, dispelling decades of misleading information. According to the results of these findings, coconut’s unique form of saturated fat actually helps prevent heart disease, stroke and hardening of the arteries. Unlike other oils and fats, coconut oil contains a large amount of the fatty acid known as lauric acid, which is the predominant fatty acid found in mother’s milk.
LAURIC ACID makes breast milk easily digestible. It strengthens the immune system and protects against viral, bacterial and fungal infections. Studies have shown Coconut Oil’s effectiveness with detoxifying the liver, helping to build lipoproteins, hormones and bile, which is necessary for digestion.
Further research is needed to really understand Coconut Oil and its properties. An article of the daily mail regarding Coconut Oil and the claims that it may ease Alzheimer’s, by implementing it strategically in the diet, may prove that Coconut oil may indeed be a
“What has made the difference, is a tea- spoon of coconut oil twice a day mixed with [his] food”. (Read more: http://www. dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2258665/Alzeim- ers-Can-coconut-oil-ease-Families-whove-given- loved-ones-swear-it.html)
Alzheimer’s, together with Parkinson’s and dementia, are on a dramatic rise and it seems the pharmaceutical companies, General Practitioners and families are altogether ill equipped to
face it all.
However, if we, again, keep in mind that food is medicine, and respect a healthy lifestyle,
then it may come as no surprise that food such as Coconut Oil can assist us in being and staying healthy.
Extract from my Christmas Edition 2012:
Coconut Oil and Saturated Fats
And you thought that you knew it all about saturated fats, well think again...
Somewhat, we all worry about saturated fats (butter, animal and hydrogenated fat, etc...) so it’s worth knowing that, contrary to NHS advice, some scientists argue that we needn’t be as worried about saturated fats as we have been for the last sixty years. It’s even suggested that saturated fats might reduce the risk of heart disease and could actually be beneficial to many organs, the nervous and immune system.
Truly, there is a general misconception between saturated fats from meat sources and from natural sources such as Coconut oil. Many still suggest it’s saturated, so it’s therefore “bad.”
In this article, I will only mention Unprocessed, Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, for processed (bleached and heat extracted) and hydrogenated Coconut Oil is as bad as the rest of the processed food category, such as refined sugars, flours, breads and Pasta... and should be banned completely from your diet.
I would like to recommend it, like many others, as a replacement for less healthy, processed saturated and trans-fats. It does not mean that you should go buy tubs of coconut oil and eat it by the spoonful. It’s not about “adding” coconut oil to a junky diet but about “replacing”.
Saturated fat should still be limited to 10% of the daily calorie intake.
Dr. Joseph Mercola, Physician and author, writes in The Huffington Post, December 24, 2012: “Did you know that multiple studies on Pacific Island populations
who get 30-60 percent of their total caloric intake from fully saturated coconut oil have all shown nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease?1
The fact is, all saturated fats are not created equal. [...] Some saturated fats occur naturally, while other fats are artificially manipulated into a saturated state through the man-made process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation manipulates vegetable and seed oils by adding hydrogen atoms while heating the oil, producing a rancid, thickened substance that really only benefits processed food shelf life and corporate profits -- just about all experts now agree, hydrogenation does nothing good for your health.
These manipulated saturated fats are also called trans-fats -- and you should avoid them like the plague.” He adds: “Nearly 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is of a type rarely found in nature called lauric acid [...]. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. 2
Coconut oil is also nature’s richest source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. By contrast, most common vegetable or seed oils are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), also known as long-chain triglycerides or LCTs. LCTs are large molecules, so they are difficult for your body to break down and are predominantly stored as fat. But MCTs (7) , being smaller, are easily digested and immediately burned by your liver for energy - like carbohydrates, but without the insulin spike. MCTs actually boost your metabolism and help your body use fat for energy, as opposed to storing it, so it can actually help you become leaner.” He concludes: “And several studies have now shown that MCTs can enhance physical or athletic performance.3
And finally, as we have already discussed, coconut oil is incedibly good for your heart. The truth is this: it is unsaturated fats that are primarily involved in heart disease and too much sugar and processed foods, not the naturally occurring saturated fats, as you have been led to believe.4”
Because of its stability, it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidity, lasting up to two years. Using little at a time, one tub should, therefore, go a long way. You can also try coconut oil for the following purposes:
- Cooking & Baking. Suitable for all types of cooking, baking and high temperature frying. Perfect for all Asian dishes.
- Salad Dressings & Smoothies. Use as an alternative to other oils in salad dressings or as a base for smoothies and desserts
- Dairy free spread. Coconut oil can be used to replace butter, margarine or other spread. It’s got a fantastic flavour and makes a great dairy free spread.
- Hair & Body Care. Can be used externally to nourish skin and hair.
- With its Anti-fungal Action, you could even try massaging between your toes if you are prone to athlete’s foot.
1. Kaunitz H, Dayrit CS. Coconut oil consumption and coronary heart disease. Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine, 1992;30:165-171
2 . Isaacs CE, Litov RE, Marie P, Thormar H. Addition of lipases to infant formulas produces antiviral and antibacterial activity, Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 1992;3:304-308.
3. Fushiki, T and Matsumoto, K Swimming endurance capacity of mice is increased by consumption of medium-chain triglycerides, Journal of Nutrition, 1995;125:531. www.coconut-connections.com/hypothyroidism.htm 4. Barry Groves, PhD. Second Opinions: Exposing Dietary Misinformation: The Cholesterol Myth, parts 1 and 2
Registered Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Iridologist, Lecturer, NLP practitioner and Personal Performance Coach.