The health benefits of coconut oil are mentioned almost everywhere. Since changing to a Primal diet about 7 months ago, I've been eating a lot of coconut oil. Basically cooking with it three times a day and occasionally snacking on a tablespoon (or two). I'm sure coconut is healthy, but my conscious at one point (as when anytime I am eating a single food in large amounts), was telling me that too much of it is probably unhealthy. There are two incidences that led me to wanting to get a better understanding of if coconut oil is as healthy as everyone is shouting on the rooftops.
The first one is when I reintroduced olive oil into my diet. At first, and even now, I basically gorge down the stuff, the same as when I'm craving a particular food and my body is telling me to eat more of it. This led me to realize that eating all different types of healthy fat (saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated) is probably important. How important is it to eat both saturated and monounsaturated fat and in what quantities?
The second incidence is related to a post I just read, stating that coconut oil is a MCT (medium-chained triglycerides). With further Internet searching, I found something that would explain why I am having a very difficult time keeping and putting on weight.
"...as a source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), coconut oil isn't stored in the body as fat as readily as oils composed of long-chain triglycerides (LCT). Some research from McGill University in Canada suggests that this is true; MCTs also boost metabolism and satiety, and therefore may promote weight loss when they replace LCTs in the diet."
What I am wondering is, are different kinds of fatty acids (short-chain, medium-chain, long-chain) all equally important? Also, is there any truth to the above quote?
I do eat lots of grass-fed meat, some chicken, olive oil and will soon be rendering some tallow; but I would really like to know in what quantities coconut remains healthy, as well as get a deeper understanding of the different kinds of fats and fatty acids.
Anyway, I hope this stimulates thinking and good conversation.
Sure all fatty acids are important, but not equally. For example, omega6 is necessary but we all ingested too much of it in the past...
I like Peat's take on this : reduce PUFA as much as possible. And coconut oil is ideal for that.
It's always wise to differentiate your intake, also with oils. There are a number of oils which are good, get them all and use them when they are most useful: usually I like my hamburgers better with ghee (clarified butter), sometimes I want to smother vegetables with olive oil and if I want to have a coconut taste I use the delicious smelly coconut oil.
Don't over emphasize the intake of one particular type of food/oil 'just because it's so good'. Too much good is never a good idea, a variety is almost always better to get you healthy and protect you from disease. You need them all, saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated. Don't get too much of the latter PUFA's and you'll be allright.
To give specific guidelines for which oil to take, I think it's difficult because everybody is different; my body does better when I use oils sparingly, the SFA's will make me f*rt like hell, and so does olive oil, albeit a little less.. It probably won't be healthy for me or my surroundings to eat them a lot 'because they are good for you!'. ;)
just another thing to be aware of, the expeller pressed coconut oil is neutral flavor, lacking the coconut flavor and smell, where as the virgin coconut oil does have the flavor and smell. I much prefer to cook with the flavorless expeller pressed coconut oil, which makes a nice substitute for the flavorless seed oils such as soybean and canola.
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