The Coconut Oil Diet Review
Proponents of the coconut oil diet suggest that the coconut is the perfect food for those looking to lose weight. They suggest that coconut oil, made up of medium chained saturated fat, actually promotes fat burning. In today’s post dissect the coconut oil diet to determine if it’s fact or fake.
The Coconut Oil Diet Revives a Disgraced Fat
Many years ago, scientists placed rats on a coconut oil diet. Soon the researchers noticed that the rats developed high cholesterol and ultimately became riddled with heart disease.
The media quickly picked up on the story and began reporting that saturated fat, found in coconut oil, was the cause of our heart disease epidemic. There was one problem, however; the study wasn’t about coconut oil at all…
What Happens to Rats Who Are Deficient in Essential Fatty Acids?
The researcher’s intention in the study was to observe what happens to rats that became deficient in essential fatty acids such as, omega-6 and omega-3 fats. To do this, the researchers had to manufacture a fat that was totally devoid of polyunsaturated fats and could be incorporated into the rat chow. This is where the coconut oil diet enters the picture.
It Looks Like Coconut Oil & Tastes Like Coconut Oil, But…
Of all of the fats that the researchers evaluated for the study, the coconut oil diet was closest to the ideal meal plan for the rats. Unfortunately, natural coconut oil contains a small quantity of polyunsaturated fats (EFAs), which the researchers had to remove in order to make sure the rats became totally depleted of EFAs.
To achieve this, the researchers developed hydrogenated coconut oil, a coconut oil that is flooded with hydrogen in order to remove all EFAs. There was one problem…
Hydrogenation Produces Trans-fats!
During the course of the study, the researchers were setting up the perfect storm for heart disease to develop…They were inducing an essential fatty acid deficiency (bad for the rats) and simultaneously flooding the rat’s body with trans-fats (extremely bad for the rats). This hydrogenated coconut oil diet was the perfect path to heart disease.
Right Observation…Wrong Finding
The researchers concluded that essential fatty acid deficiency leads to high cholesterol and heart disease. The media concluded that eating a coconut oil diet, comprised of saturated fats, causes high cholesterol and heart disease. Due to the misinterpretation of this study, they began to propagate the belief that saturated fat is the causes of disease.
They rightly observed that feeding rats a coconut oil diet led to heart disease, but they wrongly deduced that the coconut oil diet was to blame. In fact, it was the hydrogenation of coconut oil and the EFA deficiency that ultimately led to catastrophic problems.
The Coconut Oil Diet Is Safe!
Numerous studies in recent years have proven coconut oil to be among the safest and most stable oils for cooking. In fact, it is the only oil that I use in cooking…it is even better than extra-virgin olive oil. Most studies suggest that coconut oil is neutral or even beneficial to heart health.
Why is the Coconut Oil Diet Useful for Weight Loss?
The coconut oil diet contains a large quantity of medium chained triglycerides (MCTs), a saturated fat with unique qualities.
- MCTs are transported directly to the liver after consumption, whereas other fats enter the blood stream later in the digestive process and circulate throughout the body prior to reaching the liver. This gives the longer fats more opportunity to be stored as fat.
- MCTs are immediately burned for energy and do not store as body fat.
- As these MCT oils burn they act as kindling to stoke the flames of metabolism…the result is collateral burning of the longer chained fats…the fats that are stored in your body
Applying the Coconut Oil Diet
Many manufacturers of coconut oil suggest that you supplement your diet with coconut oil, however, this is not what is meant by the “coconut oil diet”.
Most of the research performed on the coconut oil diet, replaced certain calories with coconut oil rather than simply adding it to the top of their current diet. Although coconut oil does seem to have fat burning qualities, it is likely best used as an alternative to cooking oil or other fats in the diet. Otherwise, you will simply be adding additional, unnecessary calories.
Coconut oil has a terrific flavor and can be used in most recipes. It is a solid at room temperature and melts at temperatures that are slightly above 73 degrees. I recommend the Nutiva Organic Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil, it is available in larger, more economical sizes.
The Bottom Line: Research suggests that it is healthy to incorporate coconut oil into your current food plan by replacing other fats. The coconut oil diet can be applied to your lifestyle to promote fat burning, as long as it is used as part of an overall strategy.