Coconut has gotten to be quite the trendy food, oil, water, etc. lately. Why the spike in its popularity? Well, according to Kris Gunnars of authoritynutrition.com and her evidence based research, coconut is a super food. Here's why:
- Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders.
- Plenty of populations around the world have thrived for multiple generations eating massive amounts of coconut.
- The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.
- The fatty acids and breakdown products in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, potentially helping to prevent infections.
- The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce appetite, which may positively affect body weight over the long term.
- The MCTs in coconut oil can increase blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in epileptic children.
- Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.
- Coconut oil can be applied topically as well, studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturizer and protecting against hair damage. It can also be used as a mild form of sunscreen and as mouthwash.
- Studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.
- Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Fat, Especially The Dangerous Fat in Your Abdominal Cavity
Wow - this sounds good right?! Well, not everyone things so. Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD recommends you hold back on coconut fat. Ms. Zelman, director of nutrition for WebMD, states that "the evidence that coconut oil is super-healthful is not convincing and these claims appear to be more testimonials than clinical evidence."
So what does a person believe? WebMD is unbiased and trustworthy right? Where as you can't always trust bloggers and health nuts, right?
Well, I have to put my trust in something. And I do know that the way I've been eating isn't helping me feel better
Further research led me to understand that the woman who wrote the article is a national speaker for the American Dietetic Association (now called the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics). She is also the director of nutrition for WebMD. What is interesting is that WebMD and the ADA get some of their major funding from companies such as Monsanto (major user and promoter of GMO seeds and products), DuPont, ConAgra etc. See here for further investors.
These particular investors are very interested in preserving and generating their businesses through the use of various crops, including soy, corn, cottonseed, etc. Of course they are going to say that these oils are better for the diet.
Further discussion with Janelle helped me to understand why these oils are not good for the diet. Here is what she said:
The manufacturing process, through heat and heavy metal catalysts, make these oils toxic (plus they are most/all GMO). In their original form, they could be ok, but the way they are processed and in our food supply, they are transformed into harmful and toxic substances. Additionally our food supply is bombarded with these oils, which are mostly Omega 6. We need to have Omega 3 with Omega 6 at a ratio of 1:1 (some say 1:3), but by consuming these modern oils many are eating in a ration that is closer to a ratio of 25:1 for some individuals. See here for more info on the ratios.
We do need poly-unsaturated oils (omega 6s and Omega 3s), but they need to be treated very gently with little exposure to heat and light. That is why something like flax seed is refrigerated.
The body needs saturated and mono- and poly-unsaturated fats in order to build healthy cell membranes, make quality hormones, and develop good prostaglandins for inflammation and anti-inflammation. The beauty is that our body wants these in balance. Quality sources of each are essential for homeostasis.
So, does it always come down to money and politics? Really!? In this case, maybe so… At any rate, I'm going "Ancestral" on this one and eating less/non-processed oils (and foods) as much as possible.
Thanks for checking in!