It’s about time you get acquainted with your new best friend, the coconut. Along with other healthy fats, coconut oil is the key to losing weight and maintaining a lean body once the weight is off. Coconut oil is one of the cornerstones of the diet for those of you living on Primal Island.
For decades saturated fats have been demonized in the media and by parts of the scientific community as being the cause of obesity and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The fact is that there is a large body of research showing the complete opposite. My blog on the Cholesterol Myth also touches on some of the false information that is considered fact regarding nutrition.
Over the last 25 years the French have maintained their trim physiques while consuming cheese, full fat cream, whole milk, butter, steak au poivre, and béarnaise sauce. During that same time Americans have been on a low- and non-fat crusade that has led to over 97 million Americans being classified as overweight (65% of the population), making us the fattest nation in the world. Rather than making you healthy and lean, avoiding healthy fats will undermine your health and weight loss goals because you need fats for countless body functions.
Maintaining a stable, low body fat percentage is a sign of good health. Good health can only be achieved with proper nourishment from your diet. So, despite the fact that you may be overweight, you are likely to be undernourished.
In addition to making you undernourished, yet overweight, eating a low fat diet can spark food cravings that lead to overeating and binging. When you eat the proper amount of fat you feel satiated. This feeling of nutritional satisfaction sends a signal to your body that food is abundant, so it releases fat stores.
Sidebar: Most low fat diets are also nearly always high carb diets. Eating high carb foods triggers the release of insulin, the hormone that causes your body to store fat.
Coconut Oil and other Saturated Fats
Saturated fats, such as those found in coconut oil, butter, cream and red meat can be good for you if they come from good quality sources. Out of the saturated fats, coconut oil is the most easily absorbed and burned by the body making it a metabolism super-charger and the most likely to aid in weight loss.
Coconut oil is unique because it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) shown to boost metabolism and stimulate weight loss. This has been proven over the last 14 years in research done in France, Italy, Canada, Japan and the United States.
The is what the research says…
- McGill University (1998) researchers discover that medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) actually use up energy when they are metabolized. You read the correctly. The amount of energy required to oxidize MCTs is greater than the energy they provide, making them a weight loss agent!
- A number of animal studies show that obesity levels in animals fed a MCTs decreased in direct proportion to the ratio of coconut oil in their diet.
- Report published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2000) shows that adult males burn off coconut oil three times faster than other common fats.
- Study published in Journal of Lipid Research (1996) shows that animals fed a diet consisting of at least 50% MCTs had significant weight loss despite no other diet changes. In contrast, the control group fed the same diet with the same number of calories, but consisting of 50% long-chain fatty acids, lost no weight at all.
- Study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1991) reports that humans who consumed meals containing high ratios of MCTs caused a significant rise in body temperature compared to those who at the same meal containing long-chain fatty acids. The rise in body temperature indicates increased metabolic activity caused by increased thyroid function. Coconut oil helps your thyroid boost your metabolism! Hypothyroidism (thyroid deficiency, resulting in low metabolic rate) affects an estimated 12 million Americans. In addition to causing weight gain it is also a precursor to other ailments, such as heart disease, breast cancer, and chronic fatigue. Coconut oil’s assistance could be huge for these people.
As you can see the benefits of coconut oil are immense, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I have more blogs planned for the future extoling the virtues of coconut oil and coconut milk. For now let’s recap with the following points.
- Healthy fats from quality sources are essential for longevity, health, weight loss and sustaining a lean physique.
- Coconut oil contains Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
- MCTs are quickly absorbed and burned in our bodies. They are not easily stored as body fat.
- Studies have shown that MCTs require more energy to digest than the provide making them a weight loss agent.
- Studies have also shown increased thyroid function thereby increasing metabolism when MCTs are added to diets.