11.24.2008

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts . . .

Ah yes.  But, just how lovely are they . . . really?  Not long ago, I posted a recipe here on SkinnyLink for Raw Organic Chocolate Macaroons.  After having heard about all the health benefits of raw cacao (antioxidants galore) and the surprising benefits of coconut oil (it promotes weight loss, it's filled with potent antimicrobial agents), I really wondered if maybe I'd found the recipe for Manna. 

How I wish things would just stay clear and simple.  But, not in this world.  If you look beyond all the articles posted on sites trying to sell you coconut oil you'll find that there is some controversy over just how healthy coconut oil really is.  The controversy seems to be swirling around the molecular structure of fatty acids. In coconut oil, these fatty acids are "medium-chain" --which, supposedly, makes them good for your body. And that may be true.  But here's the rub: no matter how long or short those chains may be, the fatty acids in this oil are still saturated fatty acids.  And that's bad.
  
So. Though people (as in some Hollywood and naturopathic types) swear by this yummy oil's weight loss and anti-microbial attributes, there are also some pretty credible medical folks (i.e. Dr Oz--it's amazing to me that he's been able to overcome the silliness of that name.  Just shows ta go ya how far a pretty face and a nimble brain will take you. . . but, I digress.  Where was I?  Oh yes, medical types) who are stepping up to remind the public that all saturated fats have legitimately earned their bad rap.  And this is the part that I find scary.  Since I've already mentioned (and digressed with) Dr. Oz, I'll use a blurb from his site to tell you the rest of the story (this is  l-o-n-g  so I'll hi-light the parts you speed readers don't want to miss):

[Coconut oil] has more saturated fat than pretty much any food out there. How much? A mind-boggling 87%. Compare that to 63% in butter or 38% in a burger and you get the picture.

Okay, yes, there’s still some scientific debate about whether the type of saturated fat in coconut oil raises cholesterol as much as that found in animal foods. But even if it doesn’t, there’s plenty of proof that sat fat is a major health hazard in lots of other ways. For one thing,
all sat fat speeds up aging. It does this by turning on a potentially harmful family of genes that we docs call RAS genes. They tell your body to churn out inflammatory proteins that cause heart disease, stroke, wrinkles, impotence, and immune system slipups.

Feeling older yet? Well, we’re just getting started.
Sat fat doesn’t do pretty things for your memory, either. It decreases a chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor that’s responsible for recall and learning. It also increases inflammation in the brain. When researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina fed rats a diet enriched with either coconut oil or soybean oil, the rats who scarfed down the chow laced with coconut oil not only developed more inflammation in their gray matter but also made more mistakes on memory tests. . . 

No surprise, as
many studies reveal the ugly secret that if you feast on foods rich in saturated fat, you are much more likely to develop dementia. Period, exclamation point.

So there's the Skinny.  Pick your poison.  Me, I'd rather be fat (the UNsaturated version) and still able to remember my name, thankyouverymuch.   Sorry for getting you all excited about the cookies.  Lovely bunch of coconuts indeed.

4 comments:

shelly said...

To think I've been dreaming of those things...ahhh! Why must they always dash our dreams with reality??

Annie said...

Yea Shel. Maybe the dozen Snickers bars would have been the healthier choice.

Shelly L. said...

Happy Thanksgiving Mushky. I'm thinking about you.

Also, Morty eats tons of Coconut oil and is skinny. So does John Gray who swears by it. Who knows? There is a Dentist named Weston Price who studied cultures all over the world and in his book he talks about the virtues of coconut oil. Sally Fallon too. Hope this doesn't confuse you further.
hugs and love
Shelly

Frederick said...

Hello Shelly! No need to feel sorry about the cookies. You were on the right track all along! Coconut oil truly is healthy! Let me comment on some of the following points:

"...no matter how long or short those chains may be, the fatty acids in this oil are still saturated fatty acids. And that's bad..."

- Not true! Medium chain fatty acid MCFA-rich coconut oil is very very different from long chain fatty acid oils like soybean oil, canola oil, etc.

For one, MCFA-rich coconut oil goes straight to your liver to help power metabolism, while LCFA oils travel great distances in your body and are much much more likely to contribute to being overweight, just to name one. In a nutshell, MCFA-rich coconut oil is PRO-Energy, NOT PRO-Fat.

MCFAs are so so different from LCFAs! Their absorption, transport, metabolism and uses are completely different.

Coconut oil is so safe, Shelly, that the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has included coconut oil on its exclusive GRASS (Generally Regarded As Safe) list.

I believe in the saying, "everything in moderation." I think that for every negative point thrown at saturated fats, there's a corresponding one for UNsaturated fats.

So called "experts" say that saturated fats are bad and unsaturated fats are good. Well, did you know that polyunsaturated oils are the sources of inflammatory prostaglandins, allergic leukotrienes, blood clot inducing thromboxane and when partly hydrogenated, are transformed into transfatty acids that are even more atherogenic.

Saturated fats are so stable that they are not vulnerable to oxidation and free radical formation as unsaturated fats are. Food manufacturers have known this for decades. Since they're much more stable, saturated fats are ideal for cooking, especially for frying.

I can go on and on but I really have to stop. Sorry for the long comment... Appreciate it.

Cheers,
CoconutOilGuy
www.coconut-oil-central.com
Your Drugstore in a Bottle