Learn about why coconut oil is so good for you.
We are now finally learning the truth about dietary fats. Almost everything you have learned in the past 50 years about fats has been wrong. Deadly wrong. We learned saturated fat is the cause of heart disease. Wrong. We learned that polyunsaturated oils help protect against heart disease. Wrong. We were told that eggs were harmful. Wrong. We were taught that hydrogenated vegetable oils (loaded with trans fats) were safe. Wrong. We were told that coconut oil was one of the worst fats you could consume. Wrong.
We now know that there are good fats and bad fats but they are opposite of what we thought. No wonder people are confused. Fortunately we now have a legacy of scientific inquiry that has confirmed the benefits of fish oil, olive oil and now coconut oil. And what we have discovered is that the oils of history, that have been used for thousands of years as food for man are still the best oils. Modern refined vegetable oils and oil that have been hydrogenated are harmful. The FDA has just recently removed trans (hydrogenated) fats from the GRAS list. The are no longer Generally Recognized As Safe. I find this interesting as I have been preaching for 40 years that hydrogenated oils are harmful. The difference now is that there is compelling science that confirms that natural oils that have been consumed throughout history are better for our health.
In this interview Dr. Bruce Fife discusses some of the important benefits of coconut oil. Dr. Fife has written numerous books on the benefits of coconut oil and was one of the first to come out against conventional wisdom to declare that coconut oil was a healthy and beneficial oil. 15 years ago the medical profession was strongly against coconut oil. Dr. Fife was well ahead of the curve. Now we see coconut and coconut oil in a new light. His first book is The Coconut Oil Miracle.
“The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. The coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. On many islands coconut is a staple in the diet and provides the majority of the food eaten. Nearly one third of the world’s population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy. Among these cultures the coconut has a long and respected history.
Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil is of special interest because it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations. Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for all illness. The coconut palm is so highly valued by them as both a source of food and medicine that it is called “The Tree of Life.” Only recently has modern medical science unlocked the secrets to coconut’s amazing healing powers.
While coconut possesses many health benefits due to its fiber and nutritional content, it’s the oil that makes it a truly remarkable food and medicine. Once mistakenly believed to be unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content, it is now known that the fat in coconut oil is a unique from other fats and possesses many health giving properties. It is now gaining long overdue recognition as a nutritious health food. Coconut oil has been described by some as “the healthiest oil on earth.” That’s quite a remarkable statement. What makes coconut oil so good? What makes it different from all other oils, especially other saturated fats?
The coconut oil difference
The difference is in the fat molecule. All fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids. There are two methods of classifying fatty acids. The first you are probably familiar with, is based on saturation. You have saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Another system of classification is based on molecular size or length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid. Fatty acids consist of long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. In this system you have short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).
The vast majority of fats and oils in our diets, (including fish oil) whether they are saturated or unsaturated or come from animals or plants, are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Some 98 to 100% of all the fatty acids you consume are LCFA.
The size of the fatty acid is extremely important. Why? Because our bodies respond to and metabolize each fatty acid differently depending on its size. So the physiological effects of MCFA in coconut oil are distinctly different from those of LCFA more commonly found in our foods. The saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are predominately medium-chain fatty acids. Both the saturated and unsaturated fat found in meat, milk, eggs, and plants (including most all vegetable oils) are composed of LCFA.
MCFA are very different from LCFA. They do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and help to protect against heart disease. MCFA help to lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease. It is primarily due to the MCFA in coconut oil that makes it so special and so beneficial. There are only a very few good dietary sources of MCFA. By far the best sources are from coconut and palm kernel oils.” Excerpt from the Coconut Research Center.
About Dr. Bruce Fife, N.D
Dr. Fife is an internationally recognized expert on the health and nutritional aspects of coconut and related products. The Coconut Research Center (www.coconutresearchcenter.org/) is operated by Dr. Fife, Dr. Fife is the author of numerous books, including The Coconut Oil Miracle , The Palm Oil Miracle, Coconut Lover’s Cookbook, and Eat Fat, Look Thin. He is the publisher of the Healthy Ways Newsletter.