I (Beth) follow a ketogenic lifestyle that mostly includes low carb veggies, moderate amounts of protein and a good amount of healthy fats. I also read research from many of the leading experts in these areas. One of my favorites is Dr. Mark Hyman
. He wrote a great article on saturated fats in coconut oils
. In the article, he shares why he believes they are so good for you! (We use coconut oil in our crisps and granola.). I wanted to share a few highlights here, and I would encourage you to read his entire article as well.
1. MCT OilOne thing that makes coconut oil unique to other oils, is that it contains what we refer to as MCT oil, or medium-chain triglyceride oil. Your body burns MCT for fuel while storing very little. These MCTs are truly amazing fuel for your cells and they support immunity and boost metabolism as part of the package. So, while the label on a jar of organic, cold-pressed, raw coconut oil shows that it is high in saturated fat, the TYPE of saturated fat is what makes the difference. This is very different than what you would find in your local fast food chain’s double cheeseburger!
2. Good vs. Bad CholesterolThe story of cholesterol is not a simple one. It isn’t as easy as “good” and “bad”, as we like to refer to HDL and LDL. It’s true that some fats can raise cholesterol, but the rest of the story is WHAT TYPE Of cholesterol is being raised. While the fats in coconut oil can raise overall cholesterol, they mainly increase HDL, which is “good” cholesterol. It is the ratio of HDL to LDL that ultimately predicts the risk for things such as heart attack, as opposed to the total cholesterol number. Countries with the highest intake of coconut oil also have the lowest number of instances of heart disease.
3. Lauric AcidThe main fatty acid in coconut oil, is lauric acid. Uses for lauric acid
include treatment of bronchitis, yeast infections and intestinal infections caused by a parasite called Giardia lamblia, and ringworm. That is because lauric acid provides antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral benefits.
While there is a lot of information out there, and it can be confusing, the bottom line is simple. If you combine healthy fats with a whole food diet that is low in processed carbohydrates, you can reduce your risk for heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and many other chronic conditions. If you follow these guidelines, quality saturated fats, such as coconut oil should not be a problem. In fact, the benefits may outweigh the risks.