chinchin wrote: I know that it has a very high smoking point and cooking doesn't turn it into a horrible carcinogenic problem.
The smoking point isn't that high really, but unlike other oils, the unique composition of Coconut oil means that it is highly resistant to heat caused structural changes. Basically, even if it smokes and you blast it with insane heat, the extreme saturated fat content can resist the heat rather well. Most other oils, especially those with high poly-unsaturated fat content, have a very weak resistance to structural changes and many virgin oils don't even properly store for longer than a few weeks after being exposed to air.
Whether you believe coconut oil is healthy or unhealthy depends on whether you agree that saturated fat is bad for you or not.
The evidence that saturated fat is associated with heart disease is, in fact, pretty shaky. Personally, I think that the studies have not considered the context of the person eating a diet high in saturated fat - by which I mean that if they are also eating a diet high in carbohydrates, particularly junk foods, then how do you know whether it is the carbohydrate or the fat that caused the problem? Or, as I think, the combination of fat and carbs.
This paper, published in the highly prestigious journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, in March this year shows that eating saturated fat does not appear to increase the risk of heart disease: Association of dietary, circulating, and supplement fatty acids with coronary risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
And here is a commentary on the paper: Saturated fats and heart disease link 'unproven'
You'll notice that the researchers baulked at suggesting we should eat more fat though!
Indeed, the evidence that saturated fat is harmful is very shaky. The problem has got to do with the way most media outlets report scientific discoveries. Tell the media that you have found a link between saturated fat and health issues and they will broadcast to the world that saturated fat will kill you. Even if the research found nothing more than a fraction of a percentage of increased risk in monkeys, lol.
My understanding is as follows:
Saturated fat intake is greater in those who have a poorer diet overall and who are less health conscious, less active and don't exercise as much. So while you can indeed correlate saturated fat intake with poorer health - correlation does not equal causation. So it's not the saturated fat that causes poor health, it's just that those with poor health are more likely to also over-consume saturated fat. And over-consumption itself is by definition bad.
Also, one has to look at not only the amount of saturated fat consumed, but the amount of other nutrients. If you consume a ton of saturated fat and no plant based foods, no fiber, low amount of minerals and vitamins, is the poor health really caused by saturated fat intake? Of-course not - it's the lack of good nutrients from other foods that is the issue. But yet again, you would be absolutely correct to correlate that high saturated fat intake goes hand in hand with poor health.
Furthermore it is the way food is prepared that causes many health issues. Research has found that most foods high in saturated fat - like meats - are improperly cooked. Meat is cooked on very high heat and that causes structural damage to the nutrients and causes cancerous substances to appear. The proper way to cook meat is to cook it for several hours using low heat, steam etc. However, who has time for this? Most people don't. Even though many top-chefs in the world cook meat for more than 24 hours to achieve the perfect texture. A technique many of our ancestors also used and which just happens to also be very healthy.
So, in conclusion - when looking at the research, the evidence, it is so important to try to grasp the big picture. It's very hard, but so important. Instead of focusing on a single piece of the puzzle, trying to figure out where it goes, look at all the pieces together and try to set up an outline first, put in the corners and then start working on the details. You won't get very far if all you do is look at one tiny aspect and try to figure out where it goes. So we can't just look at saturated fat ripped out of context and decide if it is bad or good. Doesn't work that way. It's just one tiny piece of a multi-million piece puzzle.
CandiceMarie wrote: I have a gut feeling ( no pun intended) Caro@Carorees that the combo of carbo and saturated fat is harmful in the same way as the recent documentary looking at fat and sugar came to the conclusion that it's the combo of fat and sugar together that does the most damage.x
The context is more complicated though. The are many different forms of carbohydrates and even different types of saturated fats. And it must all be looked at together with lifestyle aspects like activity, exercise etc.
I have to admit, I'm having a hard time getting my head around eating more fat too! I read that if you're going to do it, it should be 70-80% of your diet (Volek & Phinney) and I just can't even imagine what that would be like. But that's my issue.
However, I have been using coconut oil for stir frying, baking and once or twice tried the coffee thing. I read that because its a MCT, it is better for your liver if you're diabetic, so that's why I started using it. Mostly like the results, but I am not ready to say it's helping me lose weight. My sugars are significantly better, but I really think that's 5:2 & lower carb consumption. Anyway, I am taking a little jar upstairs today for hair, feet and skin, the things I read on this thread are exciting
Tried oil pulling, eh - not my thing.
It's unlikely that MCT-s will help with weight loss to any noticeable degree, but it is probably helpful in the general sense and is a good part of any health conscious diet. The MCT-s are readily utilized in your liver, instead of being stored in the fat cells and that can help with greater energy and, as you speculate, somewhat better blood sugar management. Nothing major, but it's the small things that add up.