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Coconut oil

8/17 8:50:55

Question
Hi,
I have been reading that coconut oil is great for cooking and nutrition. Plusses all the way along. However, years ago whilst working in the Seychelles, there was  concern over the locals' health - many heart problems - due to their eating and cooking with a lot of coconut. Was there any truth in this? Are there any real caveats in using coconut oil?

Thanks in advance
Chris

Answer
Hi Chris,
There is a lot of dispute over coconut oil related to its health benefits vs. saturated fat content.
Coconut oil is about 80% saturated fat, however it is is a medium-chain triglyceride. They are directly absorbed after ingestion and quickly used as an energy source. Long chain fatty acids on the other hand usually travel through the blood and have a much slower ascription process meaning they aren't as readily used and get stored in the arteries which is not a good thing. There is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to fat. Everything sort of gets lumped into one big negative category. Fat just like carbs seem to get dirty looks and misjudgment by people with a limited view of nutrition.

medium-chain triglycerides  or MCTs which are what is found in coconut oil are transported to the cells and used up for energy. Remember fat is a fuel source in the body.
Studies have also found that eating MCTs can help with fat metabolism thus aiding in weight loss.

Lauric acid which is found in coconut oil can also raise the good HDL cholesterol.

A level of saturated fat is actually needed in the body and saturated fat can also be of benefit to males as they age by helping with testosterone production.

The main thing to look at is what kind of coconut oil is it? Virgin coconut oil is pure form  pressed from the fruit itself. Now hydrogenated coconut oil is modified and ends up as a trans fat which is deadly. Avoid any modified fats.

So pretty much it is a matter of misunderstanding. Overall extra virgin olive oil is still the king but using coconut oil in moderation won't hurt you and has health benefits.
I wouldn't pretend to be a doctor but I find that at times doctors and medical experts aren't always overly versed in proper nutrition or the complexity of it.  
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