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Coconut oil: The facts behind 'pure poison' claim

Better on the skin that in your food

Health organizations tend to discourage the use of coconut oil.

The American Heart Association says it's better on your skin than in your food, and it recommends that no more than 5% or 6% of your daily calories come from saturated on - 13 grams per day. 

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Coconut oil: The facts behind 'pure poison' claim

Coconut oil: The facts behind 'pure poison' claim

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/08/22/health/coconut-oil-pure-poison/index.html

edition.cnn.com

5

Key Ideas

No clear benefits of coconut oil

There are many claims being made about coconut oil being some kind of superfood, wonderful for lots of different things, but we really don't have any evidence of long-term health benefits.

Better on the skin that in your food

Health organizations tend to discourage the use of coconut oil.

The American Heart Association says it's better on your skin than in your food, and it recommends that no more than 5% or 6% of your daily calories come from saturated on - 13 grams per day. 

Limiting coconut oil use

You don't have to absolutely avoid coconut oil, but rather limit the use of it or replace it.

The American Heart Association advocates replacing coconut oil with "healthy fats" such as polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, like those found in canola and olive oils, avocados and fatty fish.

Coconut oil and cholesterol

In relation to cholesterol: 

  • Coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, which has been associated with increased risk of heart disease.
  • Coconut oil also raises HDL, the "good" cholesterol, especially when replacing carbohydrates in the diet.

Coconut oil is calorie-dense

It is more than 80% saturated fat. And just one tablespoon has 120 calories. 

About the same as a large apple or four cups of air-popped popcorn.

This means that consuming large amounts without reducing other calorie sources can lead to weight gain.

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The Mediterranean Diet

The diet is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. 

It features fish and poultry—lean sources of protein—over red meat. 

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  • Improved weight loss
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How to change over to a Mediterranean Diet

Start small. Follow the strategies below, and make it a habit.

  1. Switch up your oil to extra-virgin olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. Drizzle it on finished dishes like fish or chicken to boost flavor.
  2. Eat More fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel. 
  3. Eat veggies all day long.
  4. Phase in "real" whole grains that are still in their “whole” form and haven’t been refined.
  5. Snack on nuts, like almonds, cashews, or pistachios. 
  6. Enjoy Fruit for dessert. Also keep fresh fruit visible at home to snack on.
  7. Sip (a little) wine.
  8. Instead of gobbling your meal in front of the TV, slow down and sit down at the table with your family and friends to savor what you’re eating.

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What causes food cravings

  • An imbalance or changes in hormones
  • Emotional issues (eating for comfort)
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Dehydration 

How to reduce cravings

  • Lower stress levels: stress promotes cravings for comfort foods.
  • Drink plenty of water: Dehydration manifests itself as hunger, so when you get a craving, drink water.
  • Get enough sleep: not getting enough sleep alters the hormonal balance.
  • Eat enough protein.
  • Avoid hunger: under-eating can make food cravings worse.

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Ketogenic diet

Unlike other low-carb diets, which focus on protein, a keto plan centers on fat, which supplies as much as 90% of daily calories. The keto diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat. 

Keto diet meals

Followers must eat fat at each meal:

  • Some healthy unsaturated fats are allowed: almonds, walnuts, seeds, avocados, tofu, and olive oil. But saturated fats from oils (palm, coconut), lard, butter, and cocoa butter are encouraged in high amounts.
  • Protein is part of the keto diet, but it doesn't typically discriminate between lean protein foods and protein sources high in saturated fat such as beef, pork, and bacon.
  • You can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables are restricted to leafy greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. 

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