I am currently reading The Coconut Diet, by Cherie Calbom. "The SECRET INGREDIENT That Helps You LOSE WEIGHT While You Eat Your Favorite Foods."
At first glance... gimmick. The marketing cover sounds like a fad diet right in line with the twinkie diet! However, I was browsing the isles at Borders looking for an interesting and educational read on coconut oil when I spotted this book. I had been using coconut oil here and there for a little over a year and was re-intrigued by a client to give it a real go to make it a staple in my diet. Reluctantly, I picked it up and paid my $14.99 in hopes of expanding my knowledge of this controversial saturated fat.
I was pleasantly justified in my purchase after only a few short chapters. Although most of the information that Calbom gives falls nicely in line with everything that I teach to my clients regarding insulin regulation, I did pick up some specifics about coconut oil and some tasty recipes that I'll share with you. Coconut oil has many pros that will hopefully convince you to start adding it to your daily nutrition plan including metabolism boosting power, anti-cancer effects, antiseptic effects (think immune system on steroids) and a stability when cooking at high temperature that most oils do not have. I think the most relevant benefit that most people will be interested in is the weight loss catalyst that coconut oil can serve as.
Thyroid Health: Your thyroid is your body's metabolic thermostat. It produces the hormones that are responsible for normal operations in our cells, tissues and organs... particularly the operations that determine how well our body metabolizes food. Laymens explanation: How efficiently and quickly our body processes food and converts it to energy to be used instead of storing it as fat. Over 13 million people have under-active thyroids. This is the primary reason that some people might not be able to lose weight efficiently even while following the strictest of primal diets. The book states a dozen other conditions that poor thyroid function is said to have a part in including high cholesterol, fibromyalgia and even PMS, but what we really need to know is that we want our thyroid functioning properly for many health reasons and to kick start that fat-burning engine. Coconut oil and the properties of MCT's which we will cover below have a direct thyroid stimulating effect.
Stimulate your thyroid => improved metabolism => weight loss.
* Calbom recommends taking your resting body temperature for 4 consecutive mornings to see if you could possibly have an under-active thyroid. If you're below the normal range of 97.6-98.2, you might be at risk.
Saturated Fat. We've all been taught over and over that saturated fat is bad. We've been under-educated! Saturated fats fall into 3 categories, short-chain, medium-chain, or long-chain fatty acids. Coconut oil boasts the unique composition of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT's), unlike most other oils that are comprised of long-chain fatty acids (LCT's.) MCT's have the ability to be rapidly absorbed, transported directly to our liver and almost immediately converted into energy. LCT's must be transported through the entire body before they reach the liver. This slow metabolism of LCT's results in our body having a much easier time storing these suckers as fat. Not ideal. MCT's on the other hand produce a thermogenic response in the body. The difference between these two forms of saturated fat can be related to the difference between premium and unleaded fuel. Do you want the fuel you ingest to help your body run like a 1972 El Camino or a 2011 Diablo?
The Other Mother. Coconut Oil is comprised of 40% Lauric Acid, a highly anti-viral component that helps to destroy bacteria, fungus and viruses. We won't get into the science here but basically lauric acid is so powerful that it is present in breast milk to protect infants from viral and bacterial infections. There is no other substance that lauric acid is naturally found in other than mother's milk and coconut oil.
Lastly, coconut oil does not turn rancid like most all other oils at high temperatures, making it a great cooking agent. Coconut oil can be used in place of olive oil in all of your cooking endeavors and will yield a great tasting salmon or filet. I am replacing most of my fats with coconut oil over the next few weeks and will report back with energy levels and any body composition changes as I just started a strict Paleo Zone Rx for myself this week after being 80/20 unweighed and unmeasured Paleo for the last year. I would like to challenge everyone else to do the same and post back with thoughts, experiences and comments.