We have been told for decades by the FDA and the media to avoid coconut oil and all other items with saturated fats like the plague. Well, guess what…seems they may have been mistaken and should have been warning us to stay away from refined carbohydrates and sugars. Check out the article (“Almost) Everything You Know About Saturated Fat is Wrong” at here.
In this article, Associate Professor of medicine at Harvard University, cardiologist Dariush Mozaffarian, is one of the many health professionals rewriting the dietary guidelines on saturated fats among other things. The professor explains that saturated fats in moderation are healthy and that refined carbohydrates and sugars have been the leading contributors of this country’s epidemic of heart disease.
Saturated fat does raise LDL cholesterol “bad” cholesterol, but it raises the good cholesterol and lowers triglycerides. LDL, HDL and triglycerides are all biomarkers looked at when predicting heart disease. So saturated fats gain 2 positives and have 1 negative when it comes to measuring their role in heart disease.
Here is information that is VERY interesting. There have been 3 groups of researchers who have weighed data from all available large long-term studies that tracked saturated fat intake and heart attacks or strokes. All 3 of the groups found no association between saturated fat and heart attacks or strokes! The researchers found that people who consumed the most saturated fat had about the same rates of heart disease as the people who consumed the least. That is mind-boggling considering how badly saturated fats have been demonized since the 1960s.
Mozaffarian also states that there is growing evidence that fats do not play a major role in obesity, which this country has a HUGE problem with. Two-thirds of this country is either overweight or obese. The State of Colorado has the lowest percentage of obesity in America and their obesity rate is above 20%! Missouri maintains the highest obesity levels at 44%. In the healthiest state in America, over 1 in 5 people are obese. Sounds like something is wrong with the way we are living…don’t you think? Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Back to Dr. Mozaffarian – he states that the main culprits giving way to our country’s obesity are starches, such as potatoes, refined carbohydrates and sugars aka poor quality carbs. So what does this mean to us? Well, cut out the potatoes (not sweet potatoes), cereals, breads, buns, etc that have been part of “healthy” meals. I believe you can still eat these food item if you truly feel you must, but please for your health, make it only for special occasions. Or find high carbohydrate foods that are least processed. This DOES NOT mean Butternut bread made using enriched flour. No, no. This is not what I mean. You see enriched products are highly processed, aka refined, and then vitamins/minerals are added in. This is not natural and very processed. Just because vitamins and minerals are added into a product does not mean your body will be able to utilize or absorb these. Think about it…Do you think your body would be better equipped to absorb and utilize vitamins and minerals found naturally in your food or processed vitamins and minerals that have been added in a mechanically processed way? I think we know the answer.
So when you are looking to replace your high carbohydrate foods, look for foods with minimal ingredients. Yes, please always read the ingredient labels! I recommend reading ingredient label over nutrition label because when reading the nutrition label your mind may revert back to information taught by FDA food pyramid. Purchase whole produce – beans, nuts, quinoa, amaranth, millet. If you need bread, try Ezekiel bread by Food for Life. They make many bread products, ranging from cereals to english muffins – check their website out here. When you are grocery shopping and you see “2% of less of the following ingredients” on the ingredient label, put that item down. You do not want anything to do with these highly processed (usually harmful) ingredients.
An interesting fact I have found in coaching people away from traditional unhealthy, highly processed, refined diets is that as they lower their intake of carbs and raise their intake of fats (via nuts, seeds) the person will not only feel better, they slim down. One client would not allow herself to have more than 40 grams of fat per day. She just could not shake this. It had been ingrained in her head so long that she had a difficult time drinking almond milk over skim milk, among other things. With consistent coaching and her being able to see living proof via my personal diet, she has finally completely replaced her skim milk intake with unsweetened almond milk (homemade). She says her cravings have decreased drastically as she is consuming less processed foods. Her energy levels are very steady throughout the day, rather then the ups and downs she was experiencing with her highly refined processed diet. She no longer fears using oils in cooking. This was tough to break for her and many others I have worked with.
One of my favorite oils to cook and bake with is unrefined coconut oil. I use Nutiva Extra Virgin Coconut oil, which can be found at Whole Foods, online at herb.com, amazon or directly at http://nutiva.com. I buy many food products online at iherb.com. Great prices, customer service and shipping. Check out iherb here and use coupon code NOW718 for up to $10 off your order.
I will write an upcoming post exclusively on the benefits of coconut oil. Do not believe all the hype – but there is truth to some of it. More on this later!