Who’s Afraid of Coconut Oil? The Truth About Saturated Fats

During the last few decades, health care officials have been advising against the use of coconut oil. They claim that this product is full of saturated fats and is bad for you because it leads to a wide variety of health problems like obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Fast forward to the present time: many health experts are now praising and approving coconut oil, saying that it is beneficial to your overall health. What happened? Read on to find out.

Coconut Oil Was Vilified for Years Because of a Flawed Study

The truth is that all the negative talk about saturated fats and coconut oil started with a seriously flawed study by Dr. Ancel Keys in 1953.

This study, which was done on six countries, linked increased saturated fat intake to higher rates of heart disease. This was the reason why coconut oil was vilified in the United States and other countries, which were then forced to switch to vegetable oils.

However, Keys committed an “error” in his study – he conveniently left out data from 16 other countries that did not support his theory. Had he chosen these 16 countries, his findings will reveal that the increased saturated fat intake actually lowered the rate of death from coronary heart disease.

In fact, numerous studies conducted on Pacific Island people, who obtained 30 to 60 percent of their caloric intake from saturated coconut oil, showed nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease.

One study, conducted by Dr. Weston Price during the 1930s, noted that South Pacific islanders who consumed high amounts of virgin coconut oil and other coconut products were lean and healthy despite the high dietary fat in their body. They also had a very low risk of heart disease. Another study, conducted in 1981, found that two Polynesian communities, who mainly acquired their caloric energy source from coconuts, had excellent cardiovascular health and were extremely fit.

This means that natural saturated fats, especially from coconut oil, are actually good for your health.

Natural Saturated Fats versus Hydrogenated Saturated Fats

Here’s a fact: not all saturated fats are made equal. Some, like those in coconut oil, are naturally-occurring. Meanwhile, there are also saturated fats that are artificially manipulated and transformed into a saturated state through hydrogenation.

Hydrogenation is a man-made process that transforms vegetable and seed oils by adding hydrogen atoms and putting them at intense heat. This produces a rancid and thick substance, which is used to lengthen processed foods’ shelf life. Hydrogenation is an unnatural process that does nothing for your health.

The fats created through hydrogenation are called trans-fats. These are the unhealthy substances that you should beware of.

So Is Coconut Oil Really Healthy?

The saturated fats in virgin coconut oil provide you with a wide range of health benefits. Almost 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is made of lauric acid, which is converted into monolaurin. Monolaurin has antibacterial, antiviral, and antiprotozoal properties.

Coconut Oil Benefits

Photo Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/phuthinhco/7651679180/

Just take a look at these wonderful virgin coconut oil benefits:

  • Improves your metabolism
  • Helps support your immune system
  • Makes your body leaner, and helps with weigh management
  • Improves your thyroid health

Virgin coconut oil also contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCFAs are easily digested by the body, giving you ample energy and improving your metabolism. They are very different from the long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) or long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) found in vegetable oils, which are not broken down properly and get stored as fat.

You should not be afraid of natural saturated fats in coconut oil, which you should include in your diet. You will be surprised at how it will help improve your health naturally!

Emily Hudgens is a food and health blogger. She greatly believes in coconut oil benefits, which is why she is surprised by the many criticisms about this useful product. She now writes about the wonders of virgin coconut oil, hoping to educate consumers on the truth about this versatile oil. She herself takes two tablespoons of virgin coconut oil daily.

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