I am now down 31 lbs., and I feel great. My husband’s weight has dropped around 20 lbs. and he is loving it, too.
Not eating wheat is certainly a factor in my continuing weight loss and improving health, but I have also made two radical changes when it comes to dietary fats.
Firstly, I now eat at least three times the amount of fat I used to eat.
That’s right; I am eating more fat, not less.
Secondly, the fats I am consuming are mostly saturated, with coconut oil at the top of the list, closely followed by butter and lard.
After reading a number of books on alternative nutrition over the past few months, I have come to the conclusion that saturated fats are not the big, bad food wolf they are being made out to be.
Saturated fats are good for our brains, protect our livers from toxins, aid lung and kidney function, and are essential for healthy sex and stress hormone production. our bones need saturated fat to assist with the uptake of calcium, and saturated fats in our diets can reduce levels of C-Reactive Protein, an indicator of inflammation which is considered a predictor of heart disease. and they actually slow down the process that our bodies use to store fat.
So, the very fat we have been told is bad for our health might just be what we need to help it. Pretty wild theory, eh?
Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats and president of nutritional educators Weston a. Price Foundation, is one who is convinced we need to rethink the fat rules.
“Human beings have been consuming saturated fats from animal products, milk products and the tropical oils for thousands of years; it is the advent of modern processed vegetable oil that is associated with the epidemic of modern degenerative disease, not the consumption of saturated fats,” says Fallon in a paper explaining her position on the Weston. a Price website.
Fallon isn’t the only one who wants us to slather butter on our vegetables. Lipid researcher and Ph.D. in nutrition Dr. Mary Enig is also a saturated fat fan.
Enig co-wrote Eat fat, Lose fat with Fallon, a diet book which promotes saturated fat consumption, and speaks out against the polyunsaturated oils most diets recommend because of the way they are processed. She also puts forward a pretty convincing argument that consumption of saturated fat does not cause heart disease.
Butter, cream, lard, goose fat, and eggs have all been much maligned by low-fat advocates but coconut oil has had a particularly bum rap after a study in the 1990s linked the hydrogenated form to higher levels of cholesterol.
The key word here is hydrogenated. The process of forcing hydrogen gas into oil at high pressure and temperature turns the liquid to a solid or semi-solid, desirable for the food industry because they have a longer shelf life and can replicate the texture of shortenings like butter in baked goods at a fraction of the cost.
Not so desirable for good health, though, studies have shown that hydrogenated fats can lead to increased “bad” LDL cholesterol and decreased “good” HDL cholesterol, both of which are risk factors for heart disease.
Pure coconut oil is light years away from its nutritionally poorer, chemically altered hydrogenated cousin, and has become a mainstay of my weight-loss diet. I consume anything from 4 to 8 tablespoons a day – in my morning coffee, in baked goods like cookies and muffins, in mayonnaise, in stir fries, in salad dressings and in smoothies.
Coconut oil is pretty unique in the world of saturated fats. it is composed of medium-chain fatty acids, and they behave differently in our bodies, providing a kind of instant fuel. unlike other saturated fats, it doesn’t require insulin to be converted to glucose to be absorbed by the cells; it can be absorbed directly, giving our insulin-producing pancreas a rest.
Because of this easy absorption, coconut oil also increases the body’s metabolic rate, another bonus for dieters. Enig talks about the thermogenic effect of the medium-chain fatty acids, which require more energy to burn than they provide to our bodies. for this reason, coconut oil also benefits circulation and can help you feel full. it also has a low glycemic index and can help balance blood sugar.
Coconut oil is an excellent source of lauric acid, which the body converts to monolaurin, the same fatty acid found in mother’s milk. just like breast milk, it is a powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal.
Dr. Bruce Fife is a prolific author and researcher on the benefits of coconut oil. He is in full agreement with Enig when it comes to the immune-boosting and disease-fighting properties of coconut oil.
Both say monolaurin can destroy lipid-coated viruses like HIV, herpes and influenza as well as pathogenic bacteria like listeria, and protozoa like giardia.
Coconut oil is also a source of caprylic acid, which deals with systemic yeast infections like candida, as well as being an effective topical anti-fungal for conditions like ringworm, athlete’s foot and toenail fungus. it assists our bodies with getting the most out of fat-soluble vitamins like a, D, E and K and minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium.
If you want to start adding coconut oil to your diet, look for a non-hydrogenated product that smells and tastes slightly coconutty. start with ingesting a small amount and building up your tolerance, especially if you have been following a low-fat diet; it can have a laxative effect. it is available in most supermarkets (ironically in the health food section, an odd placement for something that’s supposedly bad for us).
If it hardens, put the container in hot water for a few minutes to melt it. Coconut oil is very stable; it does not require refrigeration and can be stored for years at room temperature without becoming rancid and forming free radicals.
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