Did you know you have to eat fat to lose body fat? For women, that may be the hardest idea to accept in their health-gaining, fat-losing efforts. When I say that, though, it leads to a ton of questions.
Last week a client told me this story. She said, “Shelli, I tried to tell one of my walking buddies that I use coconut oil for cooking and she couldn’t believe it. I suggested she try it too. I think she thought I was trying to kill her. She said her doctor told her to stop eating all saturated fat and that oils like coconut oil are fattening. How do I explain to her that it’s actually good for her?”
This is not uncommon because people have a really hard time believing that coconut oil is not “fattening” or “dangerous”. We have all been falsely led to believe that fat, especially saturated fat, is the cause of our weight gain and health problems. This is only half true. Some fats like hydrogenated oils and vegetable oils do contribute to heart disease and weight gain, but good fats like coconut oil, butter, and olive oil are actually great fats for our bodies. Think about how much healthier people were in the late 1800’s and very early 1900’s. Heart disease was almost unheard of back then.
So let’s tackle some of these MYTHS about coconut oil.
Myth #1 – Coconut oil contains a lot of fat so it must be fattening.
Truth – Not all fat makes you fat. Certain fats do cause weight gain, but other good fats will actually burn unwanted fat off your body and accelerate your metabolism. And most importantly, your body needs fat to survive and thrive!
Myth #2 – Coconut oil contains almost all saturated fat so it must be bad for you.
Truth – Saturated fat is not the cause of heart disease, weight gain, and high cholesterol. Saturated fat has been falsely accused and it is SUGAR that is the “enemy”.
Myth #3 – Coconut oil should be avoided by those who are at risk for heart disease.
Truth – The fat in coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils you can consume. It is rich in lauric acid, which is known for its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties and contains no trans fat. The saturated fat in coconut oil is different from many other oils in that it is of the medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) variety. The body digests MCFAs more easily and sends these fats directly to the liver, where they are immediately converted into energy. So coconut fat is actually fat that is used to make energy instead of storing fat on our bodies.
I highly recommend everyone use unrefined, organic coconut oil. 1-2 teaspoons for most cooking is more than enough. You can even use it raw if you like. I think it tastes great! I usually consume about 2-3 total tablespoons per day, which is a good amount for a fat burning eating plan. While it’s really good for you, there’s no need to overeat it.
Enjoy your coconut oil!