Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Does coconut oil or saturated fat cause heart disease?

Many people are very confused.  One moment you hear that coconut oil is good for you, then the media will refute that to say that coconut oil is bad for you, because can cause heart disease.  Whom should you believe?  Nutrition has become a bit of a religion.

There is no evidence to show that low fat and low cholesterol diets will prevent heart disease.  NO evidence.  75% of the cholesterol that we have is produced by our liver, it’s not even from the diet!  The whole low fat diet for heart disease was flawed.  This led to a 2015 revision by the USDA on dietary fats and cholesterol.  New Zealand has also revised its food pyramid.  It is widely recognised that the recommendation of eating 6-11 servings of bread, pasta, rice and grain products daily (the broadest base of the food pyramid) and focusing on a low fat diet has not seen a decrease in cardiovascular diseases in the last 30 years.  In fact to the contrary!  The revised base of the food pyramid is now lots of vegetables and water.

So, what’s the story with coconut oil if it cannot be related to heart disease?  The statin and pharmaceutical industry has educated us that high LDL cholesterol cause heart disease. This is wrong! We should be focused on the protective cholesterol that will prevent us from getting heart disease and that’s HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).  And the fact is that coconut oil raises HDL!  We need good saturated fat like what we get from coconut oil to make good cell membranes, cholesterol, sex hormones and brain cells. However, combining saturated fats, including that from coconut oil with a high sugar, high starch and low fibre diet will cause inflammation and heart disease.

So is coconut oil good?  Coconut oil increases HDL, which decreases the Total Cholesterol to HDL ratio, which is a good predictor of heart disease.  Coconut oil improves the quality, size and type of cholesterol.  Cholesterol is dangerous if it is small and dense, but is fine if it is large and fluffy.

The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil (MCT) boosts metabolism and improves cognitive function.  Lauric acid in coconut oil is antimicrobial and antifungal.  Another good source of lauric acid is breast milk – which is 24% saturated fats! 

I would recommend using a combination of coconut oil and olive oil in your daily intake.  Coconut oil is great for anything that needs to be heated up and olive oil in your salad dressings and low heat cooking or cold food.  Olive oil has been used widely in the Mediteranean and this region is known for its heart healthy food intake.  And do not take coconut oil with high sugar and high starch.

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