For years, nutrition experts have been telling us that saturated fats are the enemy.
You have probably heard that they are contributing to our expanding waistlines, causing heart disease, high cholesterol, and a host of other problems ranging from Alzheimer’s to stroke.
What is strange about this is that research involving Pacific Island populations that get 35 percent to over 50 percent of their total calories from saturated fats have shown nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease.1
How is that possible?
Because one type of saturated fat is turning out to be a health miracle.
Research is now showing that some saturated fats help lower you risk of heart disease (more on that later)…
They can actually help you lose weight faster.
Here’s the proof…
In one study, researchers put 49 overweight men and women on a typical low-calorie diet. They also asked them to include in their daily diets, either:
- 4 to 5 teaspoons of olive oil (an unsaturated fat), or
- 4 to 5 teaspoons of (gasp!) saturated fats
Get this… after 16 weeks, the group that included the saturated fats lost over twice as much weight as the olive oil group! (Almost 6.9 lbs. vs. 3.1 lbs., respectively).2
What are these magical fats?
They’re called medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. They are shorter and more water-soluble than the fatty acids found in other oils, such as olive or canola.
While most oils are broken down into fatty acids that circulate throughout your body after you eat them, MCTs are more directly routed to the liver.
So, instead of being deposited and stored by fat cells, MCTs are burned for fuel straight in the liver.
How do we get these awesome fats? The best way is through coconut oil, which is, yes, over 90 percent saturated fat. But it’s mostly MCTs.
But What About Heart Disease?
The types of saturated fats found in coconut oil have a different chemical structure than most saturated fats. Therefore they work differently in the body.
For example, coconut oil is rich in a relatively uncommon MCT called lauric acid. While lauric acid can increase blood cholesterol, the bump is mostly in the good stuff, HDL-cholesterol.3
In short, it helps bring your Total:HDL cholesterol ratio into a more heart-healthy zone.
And, a recent meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that examininged data from almost 350,000 people, found no relationship between the intake of any type of saturated fat and the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.4
Capitalizing on Coconut Oil
There are lots of great ways to use coconut oil. Roast vegetables with a mix of coconut oil, lemon juice, thyme and pepper. Spread it on toast instead of butter. Pop corn kernels in a pan full of coconut oil when the nighttime munchies hit.
When choosing coconut oil, look for natural or virgin oils. Pass on any oils that have been hydrogenated.
The hydrogenation manufacturing processs produces dangerous trans fats that can clog your arteries and harm your brain. As with any oil you choose, look for label terms such as “no hydrogenation” or “non-hydrogenated.”
You can also find pure MCT oil at almost any health food store. It is a great ingredient to put in your RealDose smoothies.
Just add a tablespoon and a scoop of RealMeal GF, mix it up and you have a tasty fat burning shake.
Do you have any ways to get some coconut oil into your diet? I’m always looking for new ideas. Please share them here!
Steve Sisskind, M.D.
Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.
As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.
Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?
I have dedicated my life to answering these questions... And I share this knowledge with you every day here at RealDose Nutrition.
I invite you to connect with me by joining my free private community. I've helped thousands of people and I know I can help you too!
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1. Dayrit CS. Coconut oil and health. Philipp J Crop Sci. 1995;20(3):171-177.
2. St-Onge MP, Bosarge A. Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(3):621-626. PMID: 18326600.
3. Mensink RP, Zock PL, Kester AD, Katan MB. Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77(5):1146-1155. PMID: 12716665.
4. Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, Krauss RM. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(3):535-546. PMID: 20071648.