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The Truth About Coconut Oil and Saturated Fats

Updated on July 30, 2011

Media Blitz for Polyunsaturated Fats

In the 1980s there was a media blitz telling everyone that they should switch to using polyunsaturated fats and oils in their diets instead of saturated fats. At the same time the American agri-business sector quickly became dominated by soy, safflower and sunflower oils. Most food switched at the same time to using polyunsaturated fats. Remember: “I can’t believe it’s not butter!”

Well it’s been 30 years since the developed world fell in love with polyunsaturated fats and hydrogenated oil, and has the expected decline in obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes happened? No. It is odd that at the same time, people in developing countries, especially those with a diet high in saturated fats such as coconut oil, continue to be lean and healthy people who rarely die of heart disease, cancer and other ‘western’ maladies. Instead these people die of diseases such as malaria, cholera, AIDs and from malnutrition.

Is this coincidence?

Magarine Goes Rancid Quickly

So What’s the Difference between saturated and polyunsaturated fats?

Firstly, saturated fats such as virgin coconut oil and butter do not go rancid for a long time. In contrast margarine and soy oil goes rancid in just a few hours. Before you have fully digested food containing polyunsaturated fats the fat has gone rotten or rancid in your body. This difference has lead many scientists to believe that coconut oil and butter etc. have an antioxidant property (Peat, Raymond, Ph.D., From PMS to Menopause: Female Hormones in Context). Coconut oil stays free of rancidity for over a year. The reason for the smell of stale food in fast food restaurants and other places is rancid polyunsaturated fats.

Thyroid Stimulation and Anti-Aging Effects of Coconut Oil

Research has shown that far from increasing cholesterol levels, coconut oil in your diet actually reduces cholesterol (IA Prior, F Davidson, CE Salmond, Z Czochanska. Cholesterol, coconuts, and diet on Polynesian atolls: a natural experiment: the Pukapuka and Tokelau island studies.). This might seem contradictory until you consider the importance of the thyroid gland. Whereas, polyunsaturated fats suppress the thyroid gland, coconut oil actually stimulates the thyroid gland. It is this stimulation that has many positive health benefits including lowering cholesterol levels in the body. Virgin or organic coconut oil helps create thyroid hormones that in large enough amounts is converted by enzymatic process to the anti-aging steroids pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA. These substances are required to help prevent heart disease, senility, obesity, cancer and other diseases associated with aging and chronic degenerative diseases.

Consider for a moment, Inuit people. They have a diet completely dependent on fish that is high in saturated fats. Yet it is these saturated fats that give Inuit people hyperactive thyroid glands. As a result they have very low cholesterol levels and near zero rates of heart disease in their communities.

Consider a different scenario: farmers in the USA in the 1940s used to feed their cattle on coconut oil but complained because their livestock remained lean. They then switched to corn and soybean feed. These feeds suppress thyroid activity and as if by magic the farmers have over-weight cows to maximize profits.

Another telling part of the equation is cancer. With suppressed thyroid glands we have lowered immunity to fight disease. An experiment was carried out on lab rats. They were injected with chemicals to induce cancer. Amongst the rats fed on corn oil 32% developed cancer, whereas amongst the rats fed on coconut oil only 3% developed cancer (Antigenotoxicity of Dietary Coconut Oil By Clara Lim-Sylianco, A.P. Guevara, L. Sylianco-Wu
University of the Philippines - Institute of Chemistry, College of Science Diliman, Vol 4, No 1,1992).

Coconut Palm

Coconut palms are sometimes called the 'tree of life'.
Coconut palms are sometimes called the 'tree of life'.

Anti-microbial Properties of Coconut Oil

Organic coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids, lauric (C-12), caprylic (C-10) and myristic (C-14) acids. 40% of the fatty acids in virgin coconut oil are lauric acid. This is the same medium chain fatty acid that is present in mother’s milk. The body converts lauric acid to a fatty acid derivative (monolaurin), which is the substance that protects infants from viral, bacterial or protozoal infections. This was recognized and reported in 1966 (Heath Oils From the Tree of Life: Nutritional and Health Aspects of Coconut Oil By Jon J. Kabara, Ph.D.). Work by Hierholzer and Kabara (1982) showed that monolaurin has virucidal effects on RNA and DNA viruses, which are surrounded by a lipid membrane. In addition to these RNA and DNA viruses, in 1978, Kabara and others reported that certain medium chain fatty acids, such as lauric acid have adverse effects on other pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, yeast and fungi.

Vitamin E

Adding coconut oil to your diet is a good way to keep vitamin E at healthy levels in your body. It is this property of coconut oil which even the most reactionary scientists acknowledge. And it is this property that makes coconut oil a popular skin moisturizing agent for beauty products.

The Truth about the Low Fat Diet

The most well-known advocate of the low fat diet was Nathan Pritikin. Actually, Pritikin advocated elimination of sugar, white flour and all processed foods from the diet and recommended the use of fresh raw foods, whole grains and a strenuous exercise program; but it was the low fat aspects of his regime that received the most attention. Adherents found that they lost weight and that their blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure declined. The success of the Pritikin diet was probably due to a number of factors having nothing to do with reduction in dietary fat—weight loss alone, for example, will cause a reduction in blood cholesterol levels—but Pritikin soon found that the fat-free diet presented many problems, not the least of which was the fact that people just could not stay on it. Those who possessed enough will power to remain fat-free for any length of time developed a variety of health problems including low energy, difficulty in concentration, depression, weight gain and mineral deficiencies. Pritikin may have saved himself from heart disease but his low fat diet did not spare him from cancer. He died, in the prime of life, of suicide when he realized that his Spartan regime was not curing his leukemia.

A Cover-Up

In a British study involving several thousand men, half were asked to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol in their diets, to stop smoking and to increase the amounts of unsaturated oils such as margarine and vegetable oils in their diets The other half were allowed to have a 'high fat diet', drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. It should be obvious what researchers were trying to prove with this study, but the results were an embarrassment to those conducting the study. After one year, those on the "good" diet had 100% more deaths than those on the "bad" diet. But in describing the study, the author ignored these results in favor of the politically correct conclusion: “The implication for public health policy in the U.K. is that a preventive program such as we evaluated in this trial is probably effective. . . ." (Rose G, et al, Lancet, 1983). In other words they lied; like Pritikin they could not prove that a diet based on low fat and polyunsaturated fat was good for you.

So wake up to the truth: polyunsaturated fats are bad for you. A low-fat diet is not healthy. If you want to live longer cook with either a saturated fat such as organic coconut oil or organic butter or a monosaturated oil such as olive oil. It will improve your immunity system, stop you aging and stop you becoming obese.


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    • Hendrika profile image


      5 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Thank you for saying it as it is. people simply will not believe me when I say margarine is poison.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image


      7 years ago

      Yes, I believe that coconuts are actually healthy for us despite its saturated fat. I also believe that real butter is better than margarine.

    • couturepopcafe profile image


      7 years ago

      Great information about coconut oil. People need to get off the big-agri bandwagon and start thinking for themselves. Thanks!


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