Countless well-known facts have eventually become accepted as general knowledge over time.
For instance, we all know that if you swallow your gum it will take seven years to digest, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, mother birds will abandon their babies if you touch them — and so the list continues. We listen, consume, believe, share, then repeat. Powered by the force of trusted sources and our search engine of choice we can confirm these claims as truth… right?
Actually, false. None of the “facts” stated above have any validity. According to Dr. Richard Desi, a gastroenterologist, the digestible ingredients in gum do not take any longer than other foods to digest and the indigestible portion does not “stick”. The top of Mount Everest is higher above sea level than the summit of any other mountain, but Mauna Kea in Hawaii is the tallest when measured from base to summit. Birds will not reject their young because they “smell humans” for one thing, birds don’t even have a great sense of smell.
So before we falsely accept the fact that coconut oil is bad for us we asked Dr. Chris for some clarification, his response is as follows.
Recently there has been some controversy, especially among advertisers, about coconut oil. While I was doing my morning work out the other week and listening to the news my attention was caught as the announcer stated that new studies showed that coconut oil was indeed bad for you! That was shocking since I had recently studied coconut oil and its makeup and found that approximately 1500 studies found it to be very healthful. So which is it?
I don’t think that we need to take a long time on this one. A quick visit to Pubmed or one of the other sites that publishes research will quickly dispel any doubt about this wonderful superfood, coconut. The oil in the coconut is mostly, about 62%, made up of medium chain fatty-acids. The designation alone would indicate that there are long chain and short chain fatty acids, which are the constituents of fat. All of them good and bad points depending on which aspect of physiology we are discussing. But since we are looking into coconut oil for this article let’s focus on the MCFA’s.
Unlike long-chain fatty acids found in plant-based oils, MCFAs are:
- Easier to digest
- Not readily stored as fat
- Antimicrobial and antifungal
- Smaller in size, allowing easier cell permeability for immediate energy
- Processed by the liver, which means that they’re immediately converted to energy instead of being stored as fat
- Help to reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol) making this a very heart-healthy food
- Antimicrobial helping to rid the gut of unwanted flora
Because MCFAs are not as plentiful in our diet as the others forms of fatty acids and are very desirable for liver and brain function, this plentiful source is a blessing and a true superfood. But keep in mind that fat in general is a very energy dense food and should not make up greater than ⅓ of our total calories for the day. That would include foods such as fish, raw nuts and seeds, grass fed beef and more. So, enjoy!