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WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH COCONUT OIL?

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WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH COCONUT OIL?

A quick navigation guide fad diet tips

More often than not, it seems, the fad diet items that are touted as the cure-all heath product one week are demoted to your worst nightmare fat loss faux-pas the next time you turn on the morning news!  Every food has their roller coaster, we all remember eggs, bacon, avocados, peanut butter, being put through the ringer!  So what’s this news about coconut oil being just as bad as crisco?  A little diving shows the past and present research about coconut oil and what brought it into the health food scene and why it’s being booted out.  Here’s a brief overview of some peer reviewed studies on coconut oil and its effects.

A few studies have been published showing positive effects of consuming coconut oil over other oils, promoting a rise in good cholesterol (HDL-C)(Cardosa et. al, 2015).  A study looking at the risk of heart attack in women showed that there was no difference between coconut oil and olive oil but that ultimately coconut oil was much less satisfying potentially leading to overeating (Valente et. al, 2017).  One study from earlier this year tested a group of obese teens on how using coconut oil compared to corn oil could alter metabolism and found that it coconut oil did not effectively increase metabolism or satiate hunger over food using corn oil, making it potentially ineffective at promoting weight loss (LaBarre and St-Onage, 2017).  Another study this year found that meals cooked using coconut oil were less likely to satiate a person than using medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT oil *I know, I had never heard of it either*) leading to people eating more than they would have thus impeding weight loss (Kinsella et. al, 2017).

So where does this all leave us?  A quick PubMed search does not show a promising future for coconut oil in the health world; while potentially increasing good cholesterol, it will not increase your metabolism, promote weight loss, or make you feel full at the end of a meal.

As for other fads: when faced with health foods that have been ducking in and out of fashion, the best tip is to do your own research when it comes to these new fancy diet hacks; if you find a web page that says “studies show” but doesn’t have those studies attached, go look for them.  If it says “a recent study has shown” don’t trust it until you can find multiple peer reviewed sources that verify it!  And the number 1 tip is to ALWAYS check the year on any article you read; if it’s older than about a year or even getting close to a year, chances are there are many more current articles about it that will be much more relevant and informative.  It can be difficult to navigate what seems like an endless rock between “This is the best thing you can eat!” and “This is your dietician’s worst nightmare!” but if you spend the time to look things up for yourself it will lead to a healthier and better informed life!

Sources:

Cardosa et. al, A coconut extra virgin oil-rich diet increases HDL Cholesterol and decreases waist circumference and body mass in Coronary Artery Disease patients. Nov. 2015, Insights into Nutrition and Metabolism

Valente et. al, Effects of coconut oil consumption on energy metabolism, cardiometabolic risk markers, and appetitive responses in women with excess body fat. Apr 2017. European Journal of Nutrition.

LaBarre and St-Onage, A coconut oil-rich meal does not enhance thermogenesis compared to corn oil in a randomized trial in obese adolescents. Apr 2017. Insights into Nurtrition and Metabolism.

 

Kinsella et. al, Coconut oil has less satiating properties than medium chain triglyceride oil. Jul 2017. Physiology and Behavior.