Coconut Oil is Healthy. It Always Has Been Healthy
It’s a hot topic recently and the debate over coconut oil is hotter than ever.
My inbox is flooded with SuperLifers asking: “Is coconut oil healthy?” All because of a click-bait article by USA Today titled: “Coconut Oil Isn’t Healthy. It’s Never Been Healthy.”
Is coconut oil being shamed and pulled off all of the grocery store shelves? Not necessarily – but it’s possible that the journalist behind the recent USA Today article was hoping this would happen in order to get people to start using more highly refined and processed plant oils such as canola oils again – while avoiding the healthier alternative.
There’s a lot of discussion to be had around the power of “healthy fats” in our diet and there’s loaded language associating “coconut oil” with the term “saturated fat”. Pertaining to its reported risk behind our overall dietary cholesterol intake versus the cholesterol (LDL & HDL) present inside our body that has been linked to heart disease in the past.
The original publication from the American Heart Association is available HERE for your reference.
Here’s what you need to know:
Coconut oil is different from other types of saturated fat such as in vegetable oils, cheese, etc.
Whereas those fats are known as long-chain fats, about two-thirds of the fat in coconut oil are medium-chain fats, also known as a medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). That fact that these studies lump coconut oil in with all saturated fats without acknowledging the difference is irresponsible.
Coconut oil also digests completely different because of the MCTs it possesses.
Unlike other fats, MCTs don’t require bile or pancreatic enzymes to be digested. Once they reach your intestine, they diffuse through your intestinal membrane into your bloodstream. From there, they are transported directly to your liver, which naturally converts MCTs into ketones. Your liver then releases the ketones back into your bloodstream, where they are transported throughout your body.
It’s important to note that MCTs are not stored as fat within your body and are instead readily available and used for energy.
MCTs can even pass the blood-brain barrier and is one of the reasons coconut oil is thought to have positive effects on those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
As a perfect example, let’s look at the indigenous cultures like the Polynesians and Kitavans who have been enjoying coconut and it’s oils for centuries before Americans began using it: it has been proven time and time again that they do not have higher rates of heart disease. In fact, their risk is LOWER, most likely because of their decreased/lack of processed food and sugar intake in their diets. The fat in coconut oil is satiating. Other factors in nutrient poor SAD American diets are playing a roll in the heart disease crisis, not coconut oil.
The key thing to look for in studies showing links between saturated fat and heart disease is “a diet HIGH is saturated fat.” Keep in mind that having 1 TBSP in your morning drink or a smoothie is well below the American Heart Association’s Recommended Daily Allowance of 4 TBSP. You could still saute vegetables at another meal in the day and simply be at half the recommendation. Everyone’s talking about this article as if proponents of using coconut oil are drinking it by the gallon. News flash: we’re not. We’re using it as part of a varied, balanced diet.
Lastly, coconut oil is a high heat oil, which means you can cook with it at higher temperatures before it reaches it’s smoking point and starts to oxidize (not good!). This allows it to maintain it’s benefits up to temperatures of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It is an excellent choice over other oils that will oxidize and smoke more quickly.
These are just a few of the many reasons coconut oil is a great addition to a healthy diet, however it should not be your only choice for a balanced diet.
Health will not be discovered by using only one secret ingredient – it just doesn’t work that way.
Coconut oil will not solve all of your problems nor will it be the miracle diet pill you’ve been looking for.
You will find true health as soon as you develop a healthy relationship with food. This involves including a variety of fresh ingredients – rotating seasonally when possible and mixing in a few staples like coconut oil and other healthy fats such as avocados and olive oil into your routine.
Remember, I encourage each and every one of you to do YOUR OWN research on this topic.
There will always be new health advice and trends circulating and you need to be prepared to understand which ones to trust and which ones require some second guessing as you never know who may be behind the story, the research or the publication hoping to benefit for themselves. The USA Today article raises a lot of questions about the source and the funding of the studies it is citing. And, they shouldn’t be using scare tactics to talk about this subject.
Long story short: Your body needs fat, in high-quality, sensible amounts. This includes coconut oil.
Intrigued by the benefits of coconut oil to use in more areas than just your kitchen?
- Try this healthy hygiene habit and upgrade your ‘medicine cabinet’ with a jar of coconut oil too http://www.superlife.com/oil-pulling/
- Or make your own coconut milk using only two ingredients http://www.superlife.com/how-to-prepare-coconut-milk/ effortlessly in your own kitchen.