The Mighty Coconut Fails
to prove it’s power. Just read some science-based information proving to me that this fatty fad hasn’t measured up. It’s about saturated fats!
In my nutrition school, they never really addressed this specific issue or trend. While countless coaches touted the virtues of the mighty nut, no one offered concrete proof that consuming coconut oil could cure everything from obesity to chronic illness to gum disease. While the claims grew, there were no numbers to support the claims. No control groups. No scientific evidence.
Laura Thomas, PH,D. in Nutritional Science, offers some scientific evidence and professional thought on the mighty nut. In her Huff Post article, The Death of the Coconut, she raises many of my concerns. Laura has validated my suspicions. Kudos to her for doing that research. The gist of it is this: Eat fat, raise cholesterol count. Lower fat, lower cholesterol.
Surely there’s more to it, I once thought. How can so many of my colleagues be touting high consumption of this particular fat. It defies logic. Eat it to cure chronic illness, increase brain function, lose weight, clean your teeth, cure dry skin, heal cuticles, and lower inflammation? Every time I asked someone to provide proof, they proved they didn’t have any. While Costco sells huge containers of the trendy fat, people are buying it like crazy. It’s kind of nutty.
Let’s make logic out of the darling coconut super food:
It’s high in saturated fat – 14 G per tablespoon (edited this as I first wrote cholesterol and many thanks to Dan Beck for that correction)
It’s from the tropics.
If you follow, you already know that eating pure fat isn’t considered healthy. You are aware of a need to keep your cholesterol below a certain level due to many health risks. Life threatening health risks which are highly documented and irrefutable. It’s a hugely controversial subject that defies most logic. The educators in health are touting eat local, eat what the natives of your region eat, stay away from processed and packaged foods, eat higher fiber… there are so many good tips it’s impossible to ignore. But then the same people are saying eat 3 tablespoons of coconut oil a day.
While the coconut oil of the modern era is not the same as the dangerous stuff put into junk foods in recent history. The health foodies claim its better. The doctors claim it’s still having a net effect of raising LDL (aka bad) cholesterol. Mom? She would simply say that it’s a fat, there is no nutritional value, and it just adds useless calories. Use it sparingly. Calories? If you follow the numbers, one tablespoon is 117 Calories and 14 G fat. Nothing else. (And yes, calories matter.)
Truth: It’s packaged, processed, imported, and well.. its FAT.
Remember the days when we focused on a balanced diet. Consume fresh, healthy, foods. Eat a lot of produce – fruits and vegetables, whole grains and leaner proteins. When the high carb revolution set in, Mom and I talked about how normally active people didn’t need to load up on carbs. It was just flour and water, maybe a little egg. Normally active people were suddenly focused on high carb diets because endurance athletes aka marathon runners needed the energy. The thing was, normal active people started reducing their protein and fat intake, and balanced menus went out the door. And then they started to gain weight.
Trending now: Focus on Fats. Popular books on Amazon scream for us to eat fat to lose weight:
Eat Fat, Get Thin is Mark Hyman, MD’s latest book. Mark is a well-known doctor who teaches, writes, and lectures on healthy eating.
Anne Louise Gittleman has several books based on her original: Eat Fat, Lose Weight
Smart Fat by Steven Masley, MD addresses smarter choices.
Sure thing, boss. But what fat and why? Isn’t it really just the same as the Atkins diet which proved wrong when Dr. Atkins diet of fat related illnesses?
I don’t really know. I have tried to ingest more fat just to see if I could be a good guinea pig. A teaspoon of coconut oil in my coffee means I eat less other food. A teaspoon in afternoon tea staves off hunger and I eat less for dinner. But — does it make me healthier? Does it change my health risk? I doubt it. Does it lower inflammation? Not a bit. Does it do anything good?
Let’s say it’s 4 PM and you are feeling hungry. You can have an apple. You can eat a bowl of berries with a little yogurt. You can eat a little left of chicken and vegetables. You can make a cup of tea and add a dollup of your favorite fat. WHAT?
Or go the BulletProof Lifestyle and butter your coffee!!! WHAT? Make coffee, put in blender, Add a Dollup of fat and whir it all up.
Dave Asprey came up with this plan after years of personal investment and research. I have no idea. I know some people swear by it. I also know it defies logic. BulletProof or BS ? You can check it out and let me know what you think.
EAT MORE FAT? Seriously? There is no protein, no fiber, no carbohydrate. It’s FAT. And most people need more whole healthy fresh local foods than they do fat. Not everyone is obese. But everyone wants to look and feel better.
It makes more sense to look at overall food consumption and balance things out. Every time you eat with balance in mind, you get some healthy fiber, phytonutrients, protein and maybe a little carbohydrate. It needs to be happy food — food that makes you happy to look at it, and happy to eat it. Not Comfort food, Happy Body Food. There is a science to it, but the gist is you can be satisfied by eating a balance of substance.