Last week we spent some time in California.
A little work in the Santa Cruz area and then ALL play in Sonoma. Some wine tastings, olive oil tastings, beautiful weather and great for a little R & R.
While we were in Santa Cruz, I was giving a talk on omega-3 fats and healthy fats in general. We were at the Nordic Naturals HQ (the #1 omega-3 fish oil company) and at the end of the presentation, I was asked about the health benefits of coconut oil.
Last week we talked about the potential health benefits of coconut water. Now, we’re moving on to coconut oil.
Coconut oil has traditionally gotten a very bad wrap because it is mostly saturated fat. And it’s been shown through research that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease. Put those two sentences together … and in the most simplistic terms, it means too much coconut oil can cause heart disease.
But then some research started to emerge, looking more closely at the type of saturated fat that is in coconut oil (primarily lauric acid, for other nerds like me). And proponents started to point at the longevity of some populations in tropical areas who have been eating coconut oil for centuries as evidence that it should be part of the diet. Others, not surprisingly, also started to suggest coconut oil has some magical "cure all" health properties … of course there’s always two sides to every story.
We’ll let the research do the talking instead of what you’ll find with a simple google search.
We’ll save you the complicated biochemistry, but just know that the different types of saturated fats seem to make a difference in terms of their health properties. This hasn’t given governing bodies the "go ahead" however to start recommending coconut oil.
Many still suggest it’s saturated, so it’s therefore "bad."
From our point of view and scouring over the research, though, we like coconut oil. But here’s the most important point of this entire email …
…we like it as a replacement for less healthy, processed saturated and trans fats. We’re not suggesting you buy tubs of coconut oil and eat it by the spoonful. It’s not about "adding" coconut oil to a junky diet. It’s about replacing. That’s the key.
And when we’re talking coconut oil, it’s the unprocessed, extra virgin coconut oil we’d suggest. Processed or partially hydrogenated coconut oil is just as bad for you as other processed fats (or any sugar, for that matter, but today we’re focusing solely on fat).
So the general recommendations still stand ring true — keep saturated fat to under 10% of your overall fat calories. But then within that recommendation, focus on the saturated fats that aren’t processed, which is exactly where unprocessed, extra virgin coconut oil falls into play.
Yes, it can all be very confusing.
Here are 3 take away points from ‘Coconut Oil — A Healthy Saturated Fat.’
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