Not All Coconut Fat Is Created Equal
Recently there has been an onslaught of information about coconuts and their oil, and how they can enhance your health. For many decades we have been advised to keep away from them, as researchers thought that all saturated fats were the same. Suddenly their status has changed, and we're being encouraged to consume their oil and products made from them.
Fortunately Udo Erasmus discovered that coconuts had beneficial properties and added these special fats to his unique blend years ago.
Coconuts contain saturated fat
Coconuts fall into the category of saturated fats. However, they are different to saturated fats that come from animals or animal products, because the structure of the fat molecules is different. These special plant saturated fats are called medium chain triglycerides (MCT's), whereas the fats in animal products are called short chain triglycerides (SCT's).
Tropical or plant forms of saturated fats behave differently in the body when compared to how animal saturated fats behave. When researchers looked at the health of people who enjoyed coconuts as a major part of their diet, they saw that they were not only very healthy, and slim, but they also had low levels of cholesterol and had great immune systems. They realized that not all saturated fats are equal.
One of the great benefits of these MCT's is that they are used by the body very efficiently to produce energy, and are not stored as fat.
Other plant forms of saturated fats
Palm kernel, cocoa and shea nuts also fall into the category of saturated plant fats. Along with coconuts, these products have been used, as fresh dietary staples by the people who live in those regions, for time immemorial. And these products contain protein and fresh 'good' fat, as well as fibre, and some minerals, and vitamins, such as a specific type of Vitamin E, and beta-carotene, which is the foundation of Vitamin A.
The processing of these good fats
They are all therefore healthy, tropical saturated fats, if they are eaten fresh. However when they are processed, the tropical fats can change, leaving them less healthy and maybe even dangerous to your health.
The first problem is that when these fats are exposed to heat, light and oxygen, they will become damaged. Although they are different in structure, and therefore handle these elements much better than do the Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's), they still change. They lose a lot of their Vitamin E and beta-carotene. Furthermore, oxidation, which occurs due to the exposure of the fat to heat, light and oxygen, leads to free radical production.
When manufacturers of processed coconut oils and flesh produce the end products that consumers want, they may employ refining and deodorization methods, just like the manufacturers of vegetable oils do. This results in damaged products, which contain trans fats as well as other damaged and damaging fat molecules.
Hydrogenation of coconut oil
When coconut oil is hydrogenated, which involves the pumping in of hydrogen atoms to keep the oil solid at room temperature, which leads to a shelf-stable product, (hence no loss of income to the manufacturer,) the product ends up containing trans fats . All the benefit of the fresh flesh and oil is lost, as the Vitamin E, beta-carotene and other minerals are destroyed. Unfortunately, traces of nickel and aluminum are also added to such products, as these heavy metals are used to turn the oil into hard fat.
Fats and oils are made up of a combination of different types of fat molecules. Over the years, manufacturers have perfected the science of separating various types of specific fats from within different varieties of fats, including coconut oil. Palmitic and myristic acid, both of which are found in coconut oil, when separated, seem to increase cholesterol levels. And some people find that coconut fat leads to weight gain.
Copra is a product that is made from dried coconut flesh, and further processing leads to a low-grade coconut oil. Obviously heat, light and oxygen exposure will result in a damaged product.
Organic nuts are always best
The coconut oil in our Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) oil blend is organic, as well as being extracted in a low heat, light and oxygen free environment, so no damaged fat molecules are present. So, you get the benefit of coconuts, without the damage that occurs with most coconut oil processing.
It is the processing that has the potential to either produce a wonderful or damaging product. Manufacturers, producing a shelf-stable product, for consumers who do not know these facts, are producing a damaged product, which, when consumed, leads to the incorporation of these damaged fat molecules into our cell membranes.
Palm Kernel oil is bad for the environment …
Unfortunately, palm kernel oil is also experiencing a surge of interest, and although it is a healthy, plant form of saturated fat, containing a lot of beta-carotene, which is why it's orange in color, it's also responsible for the destruction of the biodiversity of the areas where these trees are being planted. Orangutans are losing family members, as well as their habitat, and the environment where these trees are planted is being changed irrevocably. There is no reason to use this oil, as you can easily obtain enough beta-carotene from other vegetable sources, such as carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
Read the small print to find the truth
So, once again there is more to the story than media hype and health-store product placement. Be sure to eat fresh coconuts, and make sure that any coconut oil you purchase is organic, cold-pressed and unrefined. Otherwise, you're once again simply consuming a product that contains damaged fat molecules, which will lead to ill health. Furthermore, consuming an organic Essential Fatty Acids (Essential Fatty Acids's) oil blend, will provide you with all the benefits of these wonderful nuts, in an undamaged form.