‘Coconut oil,’ a medical dream or a cholesterol nightmare? The real truth behind coconut fat.

For decades coconut oil has been criticised for its saturated fat content, claiming it raises cholesterol and leads to heart disease. As a result, restaurants and food manufacturers removed coconut oil and replaced it with other vegetable extracted oils.

According to Fife in the International Coconut Forum, by the early the 1990s, coconut oil virtually disappeared from the diets of Australians, North Americans, Europeans and even Asians who had been using it for generations.

So why did coconut oil suddenly become a dietary nightmare? The short answer is….because coconut oil had been categorised as an ‘artery clogging saturated fat’ by misleading interest groups.

Fife explains further by claiming the attack on coconut oil was a cleverly designed publicity campaign sponsored by the vegetable oil industry in an effort to take over the tropical oils market. In the 1970s and early 1980s saturated fats in general were being criticised because of their tendency to raise cholesterol. The vegetable oil industry saw an opportunity to capitalise on this and capture the tropical oils market. They spent millions of dollars in an assertive publicity campaign that extended across the world, flooding the media with reports about the dangers of saturated fats.

Now that we have put some of the brainwashing behind us, it’s time to find the real truth behind coconut oil.

Coconut oil is a unique fat compared to other saturated fats we consume today. When it comes to fat, we need to understand the three types of saturated and unsaturated fats we consume.

The three categories are, short chain fatty acids, medium chain fatty acids and long chain fatty acids. The length of the carbon chain is significantly important since our bodies metabolise each fat differently depending on the size.

The saturated and unsaturated fats from animals and plants contain Long chain fatty acids(LCFA), therefore, the majority of the fats we eat, unless we eat alot of coconut, is LFCA.

Coconut is predominantly made of medium chain fatty acids(MCFA), which had been neglected due to the prejudice against saturated fats.

Fife states, since the 1950s, research has shown that MCFA derived from coconut oil contains unique medical nutrients. For this reason, they are added to IV solutions and baby formula and are recommended for use with a variety of health concerns.

The next issue is cholesterol. Many scrutinize coconut as the dangerous fat, responsible for raising cholesterol levels.

The only reason coconut is percieved as a negative impact on cholestoral is because of its high saturated fat content.

To understand this, we need to look into the to the two types of cholesterol that make up our cholesterol ratio. LDL(bad) cholesterol and HDL(good) cholesterol.

Another study research by the International Coconut Forum, explains that when people add coconut oil to their diets their total blood cholesterol levels either fluctuate up or down, in either case, HDL(good) cholesterol goes up. The study further explains that total cholesterol is not a very accurate measure of heart disease risk because it includes both LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol and you don’t know how much of the good or the bad makes up the total. This is why nearly half of those people who die of heart attacks have normal or below normal total cholesterol levels.

Our cholesterol ratio is the main determinant in whether or not we are at risk of heart disease.

Researchers consider a cholesterol ratio of 5.0 mg/ dL to be normal or average. A ratio above 5.0 mg/dL indicates a high risk of heart disease, while below 5.0mg/dL is low risk and 3.2 mg/dL or lower is optimal or very low risk.

So we ticked off cholesterol, saturated fats and their link to heart disease.

However, It’s not all happy healthy days from here on. I cannot say manufactured coconut oil is absolutely 100% good for you in everyway, otherwise I would be brainwashing you.

The problem we face today is the manufacturing of coconut oil. The difference between purchasing virgin coconut oil and refined coconut oil is crucial in determining whether you will reap the benefits of coconut oil or not.

Natural News released an article in regard to the manufacturing of coconut oil. Refined coconut oil is usually the cheapest oil on the shelves. This oil is processed from toxic chemicals used to help preserve the product for a longer period of time. Therefore, it is important you opt for virgin coconut oil to avoid the negative impacts other processed coconut oils can have on your health.

The manufacturing of coconut oil is one example of many health foods that have been purified of their health benefits from processing.

Manufactoring aside, there are plenty more health benefits from coconut oil, such as, positive impacts on blood sugar, cancer and diabetes. The list goes on.

If this does not convince you how beneficial 100% natural coconut oil is to ones health, then Charles Poliquin’s(world leader in health education) explanation may help influence you.

Source:

Coconut revival : new possibilities for the ‘tree of life’ : proceedings of the International Coconut Forum held in Cairns, Australia, 22-24 November 2005

International Coconut Forum (2005 : Cairns, Qld.) M. A Foale; Y. M. S Samosir; S. W Adkins; Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. 2006

Canberra, A.C.T. : Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, 2006

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Pooh Bars for school!

It has always been important for children in society to be aware of the benefits of healthy food. The five plus a day vegetable awareness campaign is a great example of promoting health awareness into young minds. The problem is alot of children are focused primarily on taste, especially at a time when their taste buds are more sensitive. This is great news for the fast food outlets, where MSG flavor enhanced foods are the most attractive food source on the lunch menu. In turn, low sodium foods like fruits, vegetables and oats become bland and repulsive, making healthy alternatives the last option to turn to.

After viewing the global statistics of child obesity in Australia and America, it is essential to constantly provide children with food awareness to ensure a healthy future.

According to the Daily News, kids’ cholesterol has significantly decreased due to transaturated fats being removed from processed foods. This does not mean we should all celebrate. We still face the issue of obesity because children follow the same lifestyle habits. There is no excuse that children should rely on fast food outlets as their food source, especially when innovations to processed foods have been made.

To help combat this problem, I created an easy homemade snack bar recipe that parents and kids can make to take to school. This can be a substitute for cookies, chips and chocolate bars.

This is a personal recipe by myself for liferoutine.

POOH BARS!!! a great tasting, healthy, take to school snack. These poo shaped oaty bars provide soluble fibre, antioxidants and  essential fats which will make any parent wonder how their kids became so health driven!!

They are very easy to make. If I can make them, so can you.

recipe in order:

-2 cups of rolled oats(preferably wholegrain, gluten free Oats)

-half a cup of honey(improvise)

-half a cup of 100% nuts peanut butter(improvise)

-half a cup of cocoa(once again, improvise)

-half a cup of low fat milk

Mix the ingredients together and roll into poo shaped bars on a tray or plate. Refrigerate overnight for best results.

I am definitely not a chef, but you don’t have to be to create something healthy.

For entertainment, here is the footage on ‘What Now’ kids show…

The Michael Phelps Olympic Diet 

When it comes to energy input and energy output, the most decorated Olympian in history shows us how to work for our calories. Michael Phelps consumes a whopping 12,000 calories a day! Phelps burns these calories with a 6 days a week, 5 hours a day training regime, swimming a minimum of 80,000meters a day.

Michael Phelps weighs 165 pounds and measures 6’4. An average man with the same measurements would need only 2470 calories a day to maintain his bodyweight. That’s almost five times less than the caloric intake of the Olympic champion.

Here is a sneak peak of the Phelp’s olympic diet. Notice that the quality of the calories is out of the question.

BREAKFAST

Michael eats a whole bag of pasta this size for lunch and then another one for dinnerMichael eats a whole bag of pasta this size for lunch and then another one for dinner

  • Three fried-egg sandwiches
  • Three chocolate chip pancakes
  • A five-egg omelette
  • Three sugar-coated slices of French toast
  • A bowl of grits (maize porridge)

LUNCH

  • Half a kilogram of pasta
  • Two large ham and cheese sandwiches covered in mayonnaise
  • Gallons of energy drinks

DINNER

  • Half a kilogram of pasta
  • Pizza
  • Energy drinks

In order for anyone to have excuse to chow down on this amazing food, we would probably have to emulate Phelp’s success and training regime. The fact that Michael exercises 6 days a week, 5 hours a day, his insulin sensitivity remains constant, creating windows of opportunities before and after meals to burn away refined carbs.

Just for entertainment, a special volunteer shows us how it’s done.

Meat and nuts breakfast-The ‘real’ breakfast of champions

For optimal desired lean body composition, a great dietary tip is the meat and nuts breakfast. This unfamiliar breakfast combination provides improved mental clarity, increased energy, better appetite control and reduced cravings throughout the rest of the day.

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels throughout the day is crucial for fat loss and mental focus.

Three scientific studies are used to add to our understanding of the benefits of this breakfast combination.

The first study was published online in June 2011 by the journal Diabetes Care. The lead author Dr. David Jenkins, conducted a 2011 study on type 2 diabetics. Subjects were divided into 3 groups. One group received 75 grams of nuts to be included in their daily diets, another group received the protein-fortified whole wheat muffin, and the third group received a half serving of nuts and a half serving of muffin. After three months, the results showed that the full nut group had significant improvements in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol compared to the other two groups. Furthermore, the important blood sugar control marker HbA1c showed significant improvement in the full nut group.  In a nutshell, “eat the smart fats to beat the fat.” Nuts not only support the blood sugar balancing effect, but improve cholesterol.

Since nuts are known to be high in calories, one must be mindful of the caloric intake of nuts if one is focused on weight loss. Therefore the adequate morning intake of nuts can range from 15-25grams depending on bodyweight.

Another tip to add to the benefits of nuts, variety is necessary if one is to achieve the best results from these fats. Opt for almonds, walnuts, pecans and macadamias rather then the least beneficial pro-inflammatory peanuts.

The second study focuses on the benefits of eating a high protein breakfast.

Ever hear your health teacher tell you that breakfast was the most important meal of the day? If he or she mentioned it was a high protein breakfast, than your chances of success in the gym and in your career would be significantly enhanced because it will set you up for superior brain function all day long.

The International Journal of Obesity shows us how important a high protein breakfast really is. In this study, young students who routinely skipped breakfast were split into three groups. One group was allowed to skip breakfast like normal, one group ate a normal protein breakfast of buttermilk pancakes (18 g of protein, 95 g of carbs, 7 g of fat), and one group ate a high-protein breakfast of whey pancakes (49 g protein, 62 g carbs, 7 g of fat). Calories were equal for the breakfasts.

The students who ate the high-protein breakfast reported they felt more full and satisfied for a longer period than the other two groups, and they registered less hunger at all measured time points throughout the day. They also freely chose to eat 130 calories less at lunch than both of the other groups. The hormonal profile of the high-protein group indicated better appetite control and regulation of metabolism than both other groups.

Interestingly, in the group that ate the normal protein breakfast, calorie intake at lunch was the same as in the breakfast skippers. The group that at the buttermilk pancake breakfast were equally as hungry as the breakfast skippers by lunch time, indicating the ineffectiveness of this meal profile if you want to lose weight and manage cravings or feelings of hunger.

This begs the question, why eat a solid piece of meat first thing in the morning when you can have a liquid protein shake for convenience? It is not uncommon to be repulsed by a meat breakfast, however, the third study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in July 2011 shows the importance of protein rich beverage vs protein rich solid meal. Given the fact that both food sources contained 38 percent of their energy from protein, two groups of teens were studied and were given either the drink or the whole-food breakfast; four hours later both groups were given an all-you-can eat lunch buffet. While both groups expressed similar levels of satiety after breakfast, the teens who received the protein drink ended up consuming 33 percent more calories at lunch than the teens who had eaten a solid-food breakfast. In a nutshell, this shows the appetite controlling effects of whole-food meals, and also proves why the Meat and Nuts Breakfast is your best choice for optimal results rather then the whey protein shake breakfast.

Realistically, if you have no time to prepare a meat and nut breakfast first thing in the morning, then a whey protein shake will not kill you. It’s better to have your high protein breakfast than no breakfast at all.

In relation to solid meat choices, It is crucial to opt for lean meat, such as chicken breast, turkey breast, salmon and 5 star beef mince rather then processed meats, bacon and sausages. The last thing we want to deal with is a breakfast contributing towards colon cancer.

As weird as this breakfast innovation seems, it wont hurt to try it out.

Sources

Leidy, J., Rcki, E. The Addition of a Protein-Rich Breakfast and its Effects on Acute Control and Food Intake in “Breakfast-Skipping” Adolescents. International Journal of Obesity. 2010. 34, 1125-1133.

Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Banach MS, Srichaikul K, Vidgen E, Mitchell S, Parker T, Nishi S, Bashyam B, de Souza R, Ireland C, Josse RG. Nuts as a replacement for carbohydrates in the diabetic diet. Diabetes Care. 2011 Aug;34(8):1706-11. Epub 2011 Jun 29.

Leidy HJ, Bales-Voelker LI, Harris CT. A protein-rich beverage consumed as a breakfast meal leads to weaker appetitive and dietary responses v. a protein-rich solid breakfast meal in adolescents. Br J Nutr. 2011 Jul;106(1):37-41. Epub 2011 Feb 15.