I've recently received numerous questions about cooking oils and what the benefits of one over the other is. Well for those who know me, it's no surprise that coconut oil is one of the top on my list. From the way it tastes to its countless uses, coconut oil is not your typical fat.
Keep reading below for more info:
Fat has long been touted as our waistlines enemy. No matter what the source, all fats have pretty much been viewed the same – as the reason why we can no longer fit into our skinny jeans.
However, over the past several years the thought process has changed, at least in regards to healthy fats and oils such as Omega-3s, olive oil, avocadoes, etc. Nevertheless, eat too much of them, even though they are from healthy sources, and you are sure to become fat – or so we have been taught.
Welcome coconut oil to the line-up! There is a new fat in town, one that is actually proven to help with weight loss – not the other way around! Ok, well maybe it’s not so new, but the popularity of it as a weight loss “supplement” sure is!
People all over the world have long used coconuts as one of their main sources of nutrition thanks to the meat, juice, and milk they provide. Full of fiber and highly esteemed for their antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, and soothing properties, coconuts are also used for a plethora of health benefits including, hair and skin care, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, stress relief, help in maintaining cholesterol levels, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, dental care, and bone strength (www.coconutresearchcenter.org).
But here in the United States, coconuts have often got a bad rap due to their high fat content, especially of the saturated variety. Yet thanks to new research, coconut oil has not only gained popularity as a nutritional powerhouse, but as a weight loss supplement as well!
How could a fat help you lose fat? It’s due to the way they are formed and the way the body processes them. Here’s a quick rundown: all fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids, which are classified based on their saturation level: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Fats are also classified based on their molecular size: short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA).
The vast majority of fats and oils in our diets (a whopping 98-100% of them), are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Coconut oil, on the other-hand, is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). Mainly due to this fact alone, coconut oil has begun to rise up in popularity.
Unlike other fats that the body stores for later use, MCFAs do not circulate in the bloodstream, but are sent directly to the liver. Here they are broken down similar to carbohydrates, and used for energy. Furthermore, the MCFAs in coconut oil actually have a negative effect on cholesterol and help to lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease. This, coupled with the fact that coconut oil is said to increase metabolism, and it’s no wonder coconut oil is all the rage!
Plus, it tastes amazing! And due to its butter-like consistency (soft at room temperature and hard when refrigerated), it can be used in pretty much anything (and in my household, is).
I use coconut oil in everything from stir-frys to baked goods, to a replacement for butter on toast. And while it does still have the same calorie-content as traditional fats, the fact that it can actually help speed up your metabolism should really make you rethink this fat-burning oil!