Because the word “fat” is associated with being overweight, many people go overboard and think that all fats are bad. But that’s far from the case. Some fats are necessary and … some fats are amazingly good for you.
What we talk about
A source of some of these amazing fats is coconut oil. These good fats are “medium-chain fatty acids” (or MCFAs). They are:
● Caprylic acid,
● Lauric acid, and
● Capric acid
One of the amazing things about these fatty acids is that they are much more easily converted into energy than many other fats. How much more easily? While most fats go through a process that entails twenty-six steps to be converted into energy, these MCFAs require only three steps. Because they are smaller than long-chain fatty acids, they’re relatively easy to digest. And because they’re processed by the liver, they become energy immediately after the liver does its job with them.
All the potential benefits of coconut oil are too long to cover in this podcast, so look up some of the references below this video if you want to learn more. But let’s start with four promising outcomes of integrating coconut oil into your diet.
1) It can contribute to preventing heart disease and high blood pressure. Coconut oil is full of natural saturated fats. This not only increases the amount of good cholesterol in your bloodstream, but is also actually helps to convert bad cholesterol into good cholesterol.
2) It can help brain function. When MFCAs are processed through the liver, a by-product of this process is ketones. Ketones are an alternative from of energy that your tissues and muscles can use for fuel. When your body doesn’t produce enough insulin to turn glucose into energy, the body can use ketones instead. This has great potential implications for brain health. The brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have generally lost the ability to create insulin. Ketones can step in and provide another source of energy to maintain brain function.
3) It can contribute to cancer prevention. Tumors use sugar to grow, but tumor cells are unable to derive energy from ketones. Producing more ketones through consumption of coconut oil gives the body the energy it needs for its healthy cells while simultaneously depriving energy from cancer cells. Pretty amazing.
4) It can help you lose abdominal fat. One study of 40 women with abdominal obesity found that they lost considerable amounts of fat after taking daily supplements of 2 tablespoons of coconut oil for 12 weeks.
The research on the benefits of coconut oil is still ongoing and it has a lot of calories per ounce, so it shouldn’t be used in excessive amounts. One of the easiest ways to integrate it into your diet would be to replace your standard cooking oils with coconut oil. But, keep in mind, coconut oil isn’t the best choice for high temp cooking (above about 350 degrees) other than that, it’s great tasting, so what have you got to lose, except bad fat?
Key Terms and Ideas:
Medium-chain and long-chain fatty acids: “Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are a unique form of dietary fat that impart a wide range of positive health benefits. Nevertheless, the potential anti-aging properties of MCTs have been largely unrecognized by many life extension enthusiasts. Dietary fats are molecules composed of individual carbon atoms linked into chains ranging from 2 to 22 carbon atoms in length. Long Chain Fatty acids (LCTs) ranging from 12 to 18 carbons long are the predominant form of fat in the American diet. MCTs, by contrast, are composed of only 6 to 10 carbon links. Because of their shorter chain length, MCTs have a number of unique properties which give them advantages over the more common LCTs.” (Nutrition Review)
Ketones: Ketone bodies, or simply ketones are substances produced by the liver during gluconeogenesis a process which creates glucose in times of fasting and starvation. There are three ketone bodies produced by the liver. They are acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone. These compounds are used in healthy individuals to provide energy to the cells of the body when glucose is low or absent in the diet. (Biology Dictionary).
One of the easiest ways to integrate coconut oil into your diet would be to replace your standard cooking oils with coconut oil.
LINKS & RESOURCES:
“Ask the doctor: Coconut oil and Health,” Harvard Health Publishing, August 22, 2018, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/coconut-oil, accessed April 2019.
Josh Axe, “20 Coconut Oil Benefits for Your Brain, Heart, Joints & More,” Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine, May 21, 2018, https://draxe.com/coconut-oil-benefits/, accessed April 2019.
Ward Dean, “Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs),” Nutrition Review, April 22, 2013, https://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/medium-chain-triglycerides-mcts/, accessed April 2019.
Kris Gunnars, “Top 10 Evidence-Based Benefits of Coconut Oil,” Healthline, January 11, 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil, accessed April 2019.
“What are Ketone Bodies,” Biology Dictionary, February 27, 2018, https://biologydictionary.net/ketone-bodies/, accessed April 2019.
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