Coconut oil is all the rage in the media. It is touted as a medical miracle food. Claims such as heightened metabolism, weight loss, improved thyroid function and even suggested as a cure for Alzheimer’s and AIDS. These are just a few of the latest coconut oil myths. All these claims have been dispelled by the medical research community, due to lack of adequate research design and subject sample size.
The fat in virgin coconut oil is approximately 86% saturated fat. The highest amount of saturated fat in any fat. It is classified as a medium chain triglyceride MCT. These medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are not new to medicine and have been around since the 1950’s. Over the years they have had their place in total parenteral nutrition. During my training is the US Army Medical Corps, I was assigned to work on a CCU ward for 3 months and tend to the care of sick malnourished seniors. Feeding the appetite suppressed patients was one of many duties. I fed them several doses of Coconut MCT oil daily to control dramatic weight loss. it really worked! In some cases patients actually gained weight. So how it is that the media has blessed coconut oil as a weight loss miracle?
Coconut Oil Myths 1. IF YOU ADD COCONUT OIL TO YOUR DIET YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT!
Coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) which packs 8.3 calories per gram. Compared to animal fat which is a long chain triglyceride (LCT) which has 9.0 calories per gram, The difference is only a mere 0.7 calories. The only way you will lose weight is if you substitute your coconut MCT oil for all consumed Animal LCT oils. But if you’re simply packing in coconut oil MCTs to your existing diet of proteins and carbs, then you’re only adding in extra calories and negating any thermogenic effects! In other words you will get fat!
Coconut Oil Myths 2. COCONUT OIL IS A FABULOUS APPETITE SUPPRESSANT!
The farthest from the truth. Any high protein low carb diet produces ketones. Ketones are what create an appetite suppressive effect. If you’re like most people and eat a carbohydrate rich diet, the production of ketones will be diminished regardless of how much coconut oil you slam down your throat. Unless you’re on a very low carb diet don’t expect any appetite suppressive effect!
Coconut Oil Myths 3. WHEN CONSUMING COCONUT OIL, IT WILL BE USED ONLY FOR DIRECT ENERGY AND WILL NEVER BE STORED AS FAT!
Yes, MCT coconut oils are processed much differently in the liver than LCT’s from animal fat. Animal fats are stored and packaged for transportation into the lymphatic system. The liver is bypassed and fat is stored in fat cells. This of course is not good. This makes MCT coconut oil seem awesome, but if you’re like most human beings, you are probably eating a lot of carbs, proteins and other fat sources. You are not solely consuming MCT coconut oil! Remember, if you want to prevent weight gain, you must consume fewer calories than you burn. You can’t trick the body with MCT coconut oil. Your body knows better!
My goal is not to steer you away from coconut oil. On the contrary, I am simply placing a clear perspective on a topic that has not been thoroughly researched and over hyped by the media. Yes, using MCT coconut oil has some benefits.
It doesn’t get rancid like other popular cooking fats.
It’s not overly processed like other oils. For example soy bean oil.
It’s slightly less caloric by 0.7 calories compared to other fats
It tastes pretty good. Has a slight hint of sweet to it.
A big plus for vegans who steer free of dairy products
The Bottom line concerning Coconut Oil Myths:
Coconut oil is a saturated fat and it should be limited in the diet according to registered dietitians and physicians. Switching from saturated fats to unsaturated fats is still the healthiest medical decision. Your unsaturated oils include olive oil, canola oil and soybean oil. With all the unsubstantiated claims that I mentioned to you, you may want to consider the price points of your nutritional oil choices. 1 quart of coconut oil is $15, Olive oil is $7 and Canola oil is $3 per quart.
Rivak Hoffman is the Founder of Every Bit Fit Arizona LLC. He is a Master Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist, and nutritionist. Rivak is an avid writer whose mission is to dispel the myths in the health fitness and nutrition industry. For more information about Rivak Hoffman and Every Bit Fit Arizona click on the link. Everybitfitaz.com