Coconut Oil: Is It Really Healthy for Me?
There are times when you look at the new trends in research, and it seems like a dizzying array of conflicting information.
Eat more whole grains
Eat less grains
Eat more fat
One of the casualties of these disputes has been the role of coconut oil and coconut related products. Much of it stems from the myth that all saturated fats should be eliminated from the diet. What does science say about coconut oil?
Right now, it looks pretty promising.
In epidemiological studies of cultures consuming high amounts of coconut oil, there is actually a decreased in heart disease. It also shows that when these same cultures switch to canola oil, their "bad cholesterol" goes up, as well as their triglyceride levels. (1, 2, 3)
In mouse studies, they find that biochemically, coconut oil actually stimulates fat breakdown. That's right, when mice eat coconut oil, they actually burn fat more and have lower cholesterol levels. (4, 5)
And a study in women with abdominal obesity, scientists wanted to see if coconut oil would increase cholesterol levels. What they actually found was coconut oil supplementation led to a decrease in abdominal obesity.
Ultimately, the key is to listen to what your body is telling you. Saturated fat is a necessary component to brain and nerve health. Without it, your nerves simply re-build or regenerate the way that they need to.
What's more important than saturated fat content is understanding where your food comes from. Real food provides real nutrition. Fake food and processed food will cause sickness, fatness, and obesity.
1. COCONUT OIL: Atherogenic or Not? (What therefore causes Atherosclerosis?) By Conrado S. Dayrit, MD. FACC. FPCC. FPCP. Philippine Journal Of CARDIOLOGY. July-September 2003, Volume 31 Number 3:97-104
2. Cholesterol, coconuts, and diet on Polynesian atolls: a natural experiment: the Pukapuka and Tokelau island studies. Am J Clin Nutr 1981 Aug;34(8):1552-61.
3. The role of coconut and coconut oil in coronary heart disease in Kerala, south India. Trop Doct. 1997 Oct;27(4):215-7.
4. Dietary coconut oil increases conjugated linoleic acid-induced body fat loss in mice independent of essential fatty acid deficiency. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Oct 15;1737(1):52-60. Epub 2005 Sep 13.
5. Dietary Conjugated Linoleic Acid Induces Lipolysis in Adipose Tissue of Coconut Oil-Fed Mice but not Soy Oil-Fed Mice. Lipids. 2011 Jun 4.
6. Effects of Dietary Coconut Oil on the Biochemical and Anthropometric Profiles of Women Presenting Abdominal Obesity. Lipids. 2009 May 13.
7. A diet rich in coconut oil reduces diurnal postprandial variations in circulating tissue plasminogen activator antigen and fasting lipoprotein (a) compared with a diet rich in unsaturated fat in women. J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11):3422-7.