Everyday Lifestyle Tips Concerning Health and Nutrition
Until recently coconut oil was deemed one of the worst fats to eat by major health organizations and nutritional experts around the world. Contrary to the experts, we have recently seen an abundance of talk show hosts and “wellness” experts praising coconut oil for its miraculous health benefits. So, whom should we believe? What is the truth behind coconut oil and does it have a profound effect on burning fat, boosting your memory, improving your heart health and even preventing sunburns?
The stigma associated with coconut oil is attributed to the high concentration of saturated fats, which makes up 92% of coconut oil and has been known to cause pulmonary issues such as clogged arteries, high cholesterol and heart attacks. Other oils such as soybean and olive only contain about 10-15% saturated fats. Although it is true that coconut oil contains saturated fats, most studies indicating the negative effects of coconut oil utilized partially hydrogenated oil for testing. There is a huge discrepancy in the nutritional effects of hydrogenated versus non-hydrogenated virgin oil. Partially hydrogenating the oil creates trans fats that destroy a majority of the good essential fatty acids, antioxidants and additional nutritional components that are present in virgin coconut oil. There is little scientific evidence supporting claims of the nutritional benefits from virgin coconut oil, however many scientists have stated that in moderation it should not have a negative impact on the body.
Proponents for virgin coconut oil claim it is the perfect substitute for butter when cooking or baking. It has a very nice taste and when whipped it creates a nice buttercream-like fluffy texture great for making pastries. There are also many health claims that it has positive effects on memory, particularly helping people with Alzheimer’s. As mentioned before there is no scientific evidence linking coconut oil with weight loss, improved memory or positively effecting heart health. In conclusion, it is a good substitute for baking, especially when cooking vegan, and eating virgin coconut oil in moderation should not have a negative impact on ones health. However, I would recommend macadamia nut oil as the best substitute for cooking and baking because it does not oxidize at 450 degrees which means you are getting most of the nutritional benefits even when heating the oil at high temperatures.
MCT’s are medium-chain fatty acids that are found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil and camphor tree droops. MCT’s are completely different from coconut oil because coconut oil contains short and long chains as well as medium chains. Coconut oil contains about 10-15% MCT’s where as the medical grade MTC oil contains 99% MCT’s. The more medium chains equals increased health benefits.
Chemically speaking, coconut oil and MTC’s are completely different oils. MCT’s are comprised of caprylic acid (8 carbons) and capric acid (10 carbons). Coconut oil contains Lauric acid (a 12-carbon chain) which is 45%-50% of coconut oil then there is caproic acid (6 carbons), myristic acid (14 carbons), palmitic acid (16 carbons), and stearic acid (18 carbons). As you can see most of the chains in coconut oil are either longer or shorter than those in MCT oil. MCT’s are metabolized much differently than fats with shorter and longer carbon chains. Shorter and longer chains are stored in the body as fat where as MCT’s are transported directly from the intestines to the liver to be converted into energy.
Overall, MCT’s are a better cooking substitute than coconut oil; however, there is limited evidence proving this oil has a dramatic impact on one’s health. In moderation medium chain fatty acids are definitely better than shorter or longer chains. When purchasing MCT’s you should make sure you are getting a medical grade product that is 99% MCT’s. This product can be found through many online retailers who sell health products.