I thought we were supposed to avoid coconut oil because of saturated fat?
Coconut oil got a bad name because of past flawed studies which used hydrogenated coconut oil. Hydrogenated oils contain trans-fatty acids, which we have known for a long time to be extremely detrimental to our health. This is also when corporate politics played a role by heavily promoting polyunsaturated fats like soybean, safflower, corn and canola oil. These oils however become rancid when exposed to light and oxygen, leading to damaging free radicals. These oils can actually cause aging, clotting, inflammation, cancer and weight gain.
Saturated fat as a whole has been blamed for a crime that it didn’t commit. In fact, before 1920, coronary heart disease was rare in America, and clogging of the arteries was rare. While coronary heart disease went up from 1920 to 1970, the percentage of saturated fat consumed went down. During this same time period, the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased 400% while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased 60%. A January, 2010 meta analysis from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition over 23 years showed no correlations of all saturated fat intake to heart disease and stroke.
The Benefits of Coconut Oil
Close to two-thirds of the saturated fat in coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid, which means it is antimicrobial, immune building and is easily digested by the body for quick energy. Recent research has that this fat leads to the normalization of body lipids and protects the liver from alcohol damage. It is true the coconut oil will raise cholesterol, however it raises HDL (the good cholesterol) not LDL. Prior et al (1981) had shown that islanders with high intakes of coconut oil showed “no evidence of the high saturated fat intake having a harmful effect in these populations.” When these groups migrated to New Zealand, however, and lowered their intake of coconut oil, their total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol increased, and their HDL cholesterol decreased.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid and capric acid. Lauric acid has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties and contains no trans-fat. Lauric acid converts to monlaurin in the body, which is antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria, including listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Capric acid has a similar function when converted to monocaprin in the body, which has been shown to have antiviral properties against HIV, herpes simplex, Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted bacteria.
Coconut oil does not require bile or pancreatic enzymes for digestion.2 People can digest coconut oil easily without overtaxing the body. People with IBS, Crohn’s disease and other digestive problems report great effects when using coconut oil daily. Those suffering from any malapsorption disorder benefit from the nutrients in coconut oil that may not get absorbed by other fats.
Biochemistry 101: Vitamins A, D, E and K are Fat Soluble
When we consume low-fat and non-fat versions of food, we are unable to absorb the extremely important vitamins A, D, E and K; all of which protect from the diseases that fat allegedly causes.
Low-Fat Diets, Sugar Cravings and Weight Gain
When fat is removed from food, it needs to be replaced for texture and taste that is lost. So what companies do is add fillers and thickeners. This can be corn starch, sugar, corn syrup, guar gum, sodium, artificial flavors, powdered milk, locust bean gum and others.
Fat in a meal is what makes you feel satiety and prevent sugar cravings. When you don’t have fat in meal, food is digested too quickly leads to low blood sugar. Chronic low blood sugar fuels the desire for sugar and excess carbohydrates in the body’s attempt to bring it back up quickly. This is when people binge on sugar and excess carbohydrates which leads to weight gain, diabetes and other health-issues. When fat is removed from food, it needs to be replaced for texture and taste that is lost.
We like Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil in glass.
2. Dr. Bruce Fife. Digestion Help from Coconut Oil. Retrieved July 2011.