Traditional Fats are Best
While we wait for science to catch up with the truth, here is a better idea.
Let's go back and eat the traditional fats our forefathers and other traditional societies have consumed for hundreds and even thousands of years, and were thought to be beneficial. These fats are rich in saturated fats, and include traditionally raised meat, dairy and eggs. In tropical climates, it includes coconut oil and palm oil. Coconut oil is unique in nature with medium chain fatty acids that are also found in human breast milk, with volumes of research showing that it helps to stimulate metabolism and weight loss.
Researchers now have found that weight loss associated with coconut oil is related to the length of the fatty acid chains contained in coconut oil. Coconut oil contains what are called medium chain fatty acids, or medium chain triglycerides (MCTs for short). These medium chain fatty acids are different from the common longer chain fatty acids found in other plant-based oils.
Most vegetable oils are composed of longer chain fatty acids, or triglycerides (LCTs). LCTs are typically stored in the body as fat, while MCTs are burned for energy. MCTs burn up quickly in the body. Coconut oil is nature's richest source of MCTs that help to stimulate metabolic rates and lead to weight loss. MCTs promote what is called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis increases the body's metabolism, producing energy.
People in the animal feed business have known this truth for quite some time. If you feed animals vegetable oils, they put on weight and produce more fatty meat. If you feed them coconut oil, they will be very lean.
There are many studies proving this concept of thermogenesis and MCTs in scientific literature. In 1989, a study was done by the Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University, at Nashville, Tenn. Ten male volunteers (ages 22 to 44) were overfed (150 percent of the estimated energy requirement) liquid formula diets containing 40 percent of fat as either MCT or LCT.
Each patient was studied for one week on each diet in a double-blind, crossover design. The results: "Our results demonstrate that excess dietary energy as MCT stimulates thermogenesis to a greater degree than does excess energy as LCT. This increased energy expenditure, most likely due to lipogenesis in the liver, provides evidence that excess energy derived from MCT is stored with a lesser efficiency than is excess energy derived from dietary LCT."8
In another recent study conducted at the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada, the effects of diets rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) or long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) on body composition, energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, subjective appetite and ad libitum energy intake in overweight men were calculated.
Twenty-four healthy, overweight men with BMIs between 25 and 31 kg/m(2) consumed diets rich in MCT or LCT for 28 days each in a crossover randomized controlled trial. Their conclusion: "Consumption of a diet rich in MCTs results in greater loss of AT compared with LCTs, perhaps due to increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation observed with MCT intake. Thus, MCTs may be considered as agents that aid in the prevention of obesity or potentially stimulate weight loss."9
Studying the Weight-Loss Effects of Coconut Oil's MCTs
Scientific studies have reported the fatty acids from MCTs in coconut oil are not easily converted into stored triglycerides, and MCTs cannot be readily used by the body to make larger fat molecules.
One animal feeding study evaluated body weight and fat storage for three different diets:
All animals were fed the selected diets for a period of 44 days. At the end of that time, the low-fat diet group had stored an average of 0.47 grams of fat per day. The LCT group stored 0.48 grams/day. However, the MCT group deposited only 0.19 grams of fat per day, a 60 percent reduction in the amount of fat stored. The authors concluded "The change from a low-fat diet to a MCT-diet is attended by a decrease in the body weight gain."10
This study points out two important facts: First, when MCTs are substituted for LCTs in the diet, the body is much less inclined to store fat. Second, when we eat sensibly, a diet containing MCTs is more effective than a low-fat diet at decreasing stored fat.
In a human study, researchers compared the metabolic effects of 400-calorie meals of MCTs and LCTs by measuring metabolic rates prior to and six hours following the test meals. The results showed that the MCT meals caused an average 12 percent increase in basal metabolic rate as compared with a 4 percent increase with the LCT meal. The authors concluded that replacing dietary fats with MCTs could "over long periods of time produce weight loss even in the absence of reduced [caloric] intake."11
Coconut oil is nature's richest source of MCTs. Not only do MCTs raise the body's metabolism leading to weight loss, but they have special health-giving properties as well. The most predominant MCT in coconut oil, for example, is lauric acid.
Lipid researcher Dr. Jon Kabara states, "Never before in the history of man is it so important to emphasize the value of Lauric Oils. The medium-chain fats in coconut oil are similar to fats in mother's milk and have similar nutriceutical effects. These health effects were recognized centuries ago in Ayurvedic medicine. Modern research has now found a common link between these two natural health products--their fat or lipid content. The medium chain fatty acids and monoglycerides found primarily in coconut oil and mother's milk have [amazing health benefits.]"12
Outside of a human mother's breast milk, coconut oil is nature's most abundant source of lauric acid and medium chain fatty acids.