It took a bad rap. Well, all saturated fat has in the last few decades. Funny how strong it is coming back. A few well placed studies, and the fired up group of wellness providers like myself who read it, and we quickly see the medical model as the culprit once again.
You might think it is the food industry that has hurt coconut and its oil, but the reality is that just like cholesterol, coconut oil and saturated fat have been hurt by the medical doctors of the world. Now, they are questioning that. For example, this article by Harvard Health opens with the statement – “It’s time to end the low-fat myth. That’s because the percentage of calories from fat that you eat, whether high or low, isn’t really linked with disease. What really matters is the type of fat you eat.” Sadly, the article goes on to say all the wrong things in the next few bullet points, but I would expect nothing more from a school who is funded more by large corporation money than anything else.
The other day I had a patient tell me that I am a genius. She said so because I have been saying EAT FAT for a number of years now. The sad truth however, is that the genius’ are those who have blazed the path with the studies. Honestly, I think those who discovered omega 3’s for what they really were, and then published out of The University of Minnesota Medical School in 1929 (George and Mildred Burr) the importance of these as EFA’s, (Essential Fatty Acids), were the first to turn the tide. But if they were turning the tide in favor of fat, why did low fat begin to win the argument, 4-5 decades later?
A need for medication. Drug companies wanted to attack the heart disease world, and they didn’t have much of a direction, but as early as 1960, there were signs of the anti-fat movement coming from pharmaceutical and big food company supported resources. The sad reality, is that today the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association – ADA) is the primary driver of poor nutrition information, and it is From this Authority Nutrition article –
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is “the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals” and formerly known as the American Dietetic Association….
Who Sponsors The AND?
It is scary that this highly influential health organizations, which educates Registered Dietitians (RDs) and grants them their licenses, is heavily sponsored by companies that sell the unhealthy foods that are making people fat, sick and diabetic.
The corporate sponsors of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
- The Coca Cola Company
- General Mills
- Abbott Nutrition
- National Dairy Council
The real pressure against cholesterol began when the first statin drug, pushed out to the market in 1987 by Merck, was born. Mevacor – you wonder why none of these drugs have ever actually reduced the incidence of heart disease. You should definitely question the value of any statin drugs, for any level of cholesterol concern. Which brings us into this discussion of saturated fat.
Coconut is perhaps the best source of saturated fat. The medium chain triglyceride (or medium chain fatty acid), is of great value to the body as a source of boosting metabolic function and rate (wikipedia - Some studies have shown that MCTs can help in the process of excess calorie burning, and thus weight loss. ). Bodybuilders have been using coconut oil as a means of burning off excess fat for decades, and the anecdotal evidence is significant.
These benefits are great in that they induce ketogenesis (creating ketones due to fatty acid breakdown), which most people need a boost in. Depending on your metabolic function, this could be the key to getting you over the hump of switching from a sugar burner to a fat burner. Something that we spoke about in the first Fat Module in this series. In addition to ketogenesis, their has been promise of MCT’s in their ability to assist nuero-degenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This evidence is highly anecdotal at this time, but the theories behind it are sound. Which makes this writer recommend you eat more coconut oil.
Most saturated fat comes from sources other than vegetarian, in the typical American diet. Cream, cheese, butter (dairy basically), as well as meats. In addition to coconut, you can find saturated fat in cottonseed, palm oil and chocolate. I am very fond of the value of pasture raised dairy, as well as coconut oil. This is simply because a pasture raised cow (grazing on grass is what you should think of when you hear “pasture raised”), produces medium chain fatty acids as well as a high volume of omega 3 fatty acid. This moves dairy from the category of questionable and inflammatory, to healthy and valuable in many disorders. It still might be contraindicated for some people, and possibly unhealthy for others (lactose and casein issues), but for most has great value.
So your next step should be to incorporate some coconut oil into your diet. It does well at medium high heat, so cooking with it is a good first step. I mix it with almond butter and simply eat it straight, I add it to smoothies, and even enjoy it in some coffee every so often. But be sure to eat it, regardless.
Be well and Be blessed! - Dr. E