The last several years have seen the growing presence of coconut oil, on the selves of health food stores. How can coconut oil, which contains more saturated fat than lard or butter, be considered a health food?
Melissa Clark of The New York Times, wrote an article in early 2011 regarding the emergence of coconut oil on the health food scene. In her article, she interviewed Dr. Thomas Brenna of Cornell University. Dr. Brenna is a professor of nutritional sciences, and an expert on coconut oil.
Dr. Brenna has concluded many studies involving research on coconut oil are flawed. He stated:
“Most of the studies involving coconut oil were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which researchers used because they needed to raise the cholesterol levels of their rabbits in order to collect certain data…”
Dr. Brenna further stated:
“Virgin coconut oil, which has not been chemically treated, is a different thing in terms of health risk perspective. And maybe it isn’t so bad for you after all.”
The partial hydrogenation process destroys the quality of most of the antioxidants and essential fatty acids (EFAs) present in virgin coconut oil. Additionally, this process leads to the creation of trans fats. At issue, are the negative effects trans fats have on reducing your HDL “good” cholesterol, while at the same time increasing your “bad” or LDL cholesterol. All of which increases your risk of heart problems.
Dr.Bruce Fife, ND, is a naturopathic physician practicing in Colorado. Also, Dr. Fife is a certified nutritionist. He’s the author of several books, including The Coconut Oil Miracle.
In the following video, Dr. Fife explains his opinion on the improvement diabetics may see in their condition, by adding virgin coconut oil to their current health regime. This video is courtesy of ihealthtube.com.
Dr Fife’s strong opinions are based on his research and interactions with his patients.
From my own research, most experts see nothing harmful with taking organic or virgin coconut oil, as long as you do in moderation. However, I found a wide range of what’s considered moderate usage.
Dr. Fife suggested 2 to 3 “spoonfuls” per day in his video. But, I’ve found other experts suggesting anywhere from 1 tablespoon to as many as 14 tablespoons daily. This concerns me because there appears to be no clear agreement, on what amount of coconut oil should be taken on a daily basis.
“One tablespoon of coconut oil contains 117 calories, 14 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat and no vitamins or minerals.”
So, if you’re obese or overweight, consuming too much coconut oil may hinder your weight loss goals. You must talk with your doctor or other health practitioner, before taking any coconut oil.
The Bottom Line: It appears virgin coconut oil may benefit some people with certain health conditions. However, don’t go it alone. Discuss your interest in and concerns about coconut oil with your doctor. Also, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. What may be good for one person, may not be good for another.
It’s your life, live well.