[as seen in the Oxford Review March 29th, 2012]
We have been told for far too long that fat is bad.
The statement fat is bad is simply too simplistic and frankly dead wrong. We have, as a nation, been eating more and more low-fat food in the past 30 years than ever before in our history. And yet obesity, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s have skyrocketed. Something doesn’t add up. I am going to talk about coconut oil today. It is currently the only oil I cook with. It is a staple in my home. And I eat a lot of it. It is interesting to note that multiple studies on Pacific Island populations who get 30-60 percent of their total caloric intake from fully saturated coconut oil have all shown nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease?
The fact is – all saturated fats are not created equal.
Some saturated fats occur naturally, while other fats are artificially manipulated into a saturated state through the man-made process called hydrogenation. These are the bad fats – yes the ones we ourselves make. And yet coconut oil has been included in this group. Well not anymore!
How It Works
Many are surprise to hear that nearly 50% of the fat in coconut oil is of a type rarely found in nature called lauric acid. This a compound called a “miracle” by some because of its unique health promoting properties. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties.
Coconut oil is also nature’s richest source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. By contrast, most common vegetable or seed oils are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), also known as long-chain triglycerides or LCTs. When we look at MCTs being smaller there is a few things that they do: they are easily digested and are immediately burned by your liver for energy (without the insulin spike). MCTs actually boost your metabolism and help your body use fat for energy, as opposed to storing it, so it can actually help you become leaner. Coconut oil has actually been shown to help optimize body weight, which can dramatically reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Besides weight loss, boosting your metabolic rate will improve your energy, accelerate healing and improve your overall immune function.
Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s
Something that most people don’t know is that the brain is not an obligate consumer of glucose. What that means is that the brain can run on something else other than glucose. That something is ketone bodies.
Suzanne DeLaMonte, a researcher and professor at Brown University, has done some startling research on the causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Her findings suggest that Alzheimer’s could be a type of diabetes in the brain (this can be found on Dr. Oz’s website where he interviews her). If the brain has impaired insulin sensitivity and cannot feed the brain glucose then what do we do? To start with we need to take insulin out of the equation. But how do you do that?
Use coconut oil to feed your brain ketone bodies. This may sound simplistic but it works. While scientific studies are currently underway to validate the idea that brain neurons can be fed with ketones bodies in those with Alzheimer’s (and those without), I have personally heard from many many people that coconut oil has made a dramatic difference in the lives of their loved ones. It is worth a serious look and there is literally no downside to trying it.
I use the purest coconut oil I can find. I feel fortunate that I can find it right here in Woodstock (InsideU Health – 682 Peel St). It is called Nutiva and it is organic and cold-pressed virgin coconut oil. It has the most amazing marbly white colour and smells .. well like coconut! I use it everyday and I can say it has been the best addition to my healthy lifestyle since I discovered unpasteurized whey protein. But that is another story.