Coconut oil has been a part of our daily lives for a very long time, whether it be for hair care, weight loss, boosting immunity and overall health in general! All health and nutrition experts have also been pretty upfront about it’s health benefits due to it’s high fat, and medium chain triglyceride content.
However, a Harvard nutrition professor’s lecture has ignited a new front in the battle over coconut oil. In the video, professor Karin Michels at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, stated that coconut oil is one of the worsts foods you can eat.
So what is the truth?
Basically, coconut oil is just oil extracted from the meat of coconuts. It contains fats known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are metabolised differently than other types of fats (more on that later). Coconut oil can be utilised in various ways, by consuming directly, using for cooking, by applying on the skin etc.
Health experts believe that coconut oil can help you lose weight. It’s been found to boost fat-burning and provide your body and brain with quick energy. This was supported by a 2009 study in the journal Lipids, which showed that women who ate coconut oil over a 12-week period lost belly fat, while people who ate soybean oil did not.
Coconut oil is full of MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), a type of fatty acid that is rapidly absorbed and converted into fuel for the body. A 2014 study found that MCTs increased the hunger-regulating hormones in the body that make a person feel full, compared to long-chain fatty acids. The idea is that coconut oil could potentially increase satiety to fill you up faster, so you’ll be less inclined to mindlessly snack later in the day.
The bulk of Michels’ argument against coconut oil is that it contains a lot of saturated fat, which in excess has been linked to increased LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. But recent research has thrown longstanding claims about the dangers of saturated fat into question. Other factors, such as genetics and a history of smoking, are much more likely to increase your risk of heart attack or other cardiac events!
The fact of the matter is that any oil in excess, whether it be refined, wood churned, cold pressed, virgin etc will cause damage to the heart! Western science practitioners like most doctors and pharmacists are mostly afraid that coconut oil used in the right proportions with the right nutrients and trace minerals is actually repairing under-active thyroid glands, boosting liver enzyme health, working for better T3 and T4 conversion in the liver, boosting immunity and so much more! Not only this, a lot of studies done today are found to be funded by certain individuals and organisations with vested interests towards promoting their own business interestes.
The eminent professor, Dr BM Hegde, has said that coconut oil contains mono-lauric acid, the same fatty acid that mother’s milk has. Until the 1930s, even bread in the US was made using coconut oil. Things changed after that and the ghost of cholesterol was given birth to flourish today as the best business, Prof Dr Hegde says.
From our professional experience, we can also assure you that coconut oil is certainly not a bad food and has excellent benefits for the body! We have found that it brings down triglycerides, while increasing HDL without affecting the LDL levels, and hence bringing down the risk of cardiac problems! It is always important to consume it in moderation with under the eye of a nutritionist, and we have seen innumerable cases of it being immensely helpful in alleviating a number of health problems!
The problem today is that there is a lot of information doing rounds on internet. We should try not to get confused by this over-information and neither should we get blinded by it, but rather consult a nutritionist about the issue and make an informed decision!