There’s been a lot of buzz in the media lately putting down one of our favorite magic ingredients: coconut oil.
So we’re swooping in to set things straight 🙂
It’s super important to first note that not all coconut oils are created equal. When we talk about the coconut oil we love, we’re talking about that good 100% organic, raw extra-virgin stuff. Very different from all RBD processed oils – refined, bleached and deodorized… not so natural sounding eh… so that’s the version you really don’t need it in your life for health.
Now let’s dive into the major controversy:
Does coconut oil make you fat?
Well, do blueberries make you blue?
It’s kind of just as ridiculous an assumption as that.
The latest buzzing articles anti-coconut oil accuse it of being “high in fat” so consuming it is counter-productive to fat loss. Let’s look at the science.
One of our favourite studies from NYU langone has shown that the fat in coconut oil actually activates your metabolism, by stimulating uncoupling protein 1 expression.
Another amazing study monitored weight loss amongst two groups – all factors the remained the same from how many calories they cut to how much they walked each day. The results? ONLY the group consuming coconut oil daily experienced a statistically significant reduction in waist circumference – which is the most telling body fat measurement for determining health risks.
What about your heart? Doesn’t saturated fat increase cholesterol?
The latest buzzy articles say that coconut oil will “Raise LDL protein…which is extremely bad for your health”.
Back to the science. A major study recorded the health differences of participants after 12 weeks of consuming coconut oil vs. soy oil. The coconut oil group experienced a boost in the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, a reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an improvement in the HDL to LDL ratio. The soy oil group experienced the opposite.
Pretty amazing, no?
And study after study, you will find the same results. You can quote me on this: there is no statistical evidence showing any negative effects directly related to the saturated fat in coconut oil.
But yes, there is evidence showing the negative effects in heavily processed Twinkies and junk products that also contain saturated fat. But that’s not really relevant to us since we only eat real food 😉
It’s proven that these different forms of saturated fats react differently in your body. There are many types of saturated fats based on how many carbon atoms are in each molecule – and coconut oil surprisingly high in the type called ‘lauric acid’ which explains why it is so magic in its beneficial HDL effects, unlike twinkies. Natural and unrefined plant-based oils are more than just plain old fats. They’re so packed with antioxidants and beneficial compounds, that there’s so much more to be said about them than just their effects on HDL and LDL. It’a lot wiser to look at the whole picture – nothing functions in isolation, especially not in our bodies!
A natural whole food is a different thing entirely from processed chemicals. Science has a funny way of getting oversimplified and lost in translation sometimes.
So is coconut oil ever ‘bad’? With everything, we need to be realistic as there is always such a thing as “too much of a good thing”. If you’re downing spoonfuls of coconut oil by the hour, then yeah, just like any binge you’re not going to feel your sexiest or skinniest. It is extremely calorie dense, and there’s just no need to down it by the jar. Overdoing any food to an extreme will not benefit you, no matter how healthy it is.
If you’re concerned about the health of your heart – we invite you to do your own research on the matter and do what feels best to you. Don’t let the latest media blasts by the American Heart Association – an organization heavily sponsored by the countries major pharmaceutical companies – scare you until you do your own research. (Obviously, the drug companys’ goals are not to sell less drugs). And if you’re deciding between coconut oil in your coffee or a cup of AHA approved sugary breakfast cereals – the choice should be pretty clear!
We believe coconut oil can stay in your good books. Coconuts have been respected and loved as a food source for thousands of years by extremely healthy and vigorous cultures, and no article can change that history. Please feel free to continue to use it as normal in your smoothies, chocolates, cooking etc and at the very least, in your moisturizer, oil pulling, makeup remover, after-sun, hair masks… all of it.
Find it in our superfood smoothies too!
We promise you, science has your back and so do we 🙂