I’m a strong believer in that anything provided by nature is not bad for you, as long as it hasn’t been tampered with, modified or sprayed with nasty chemicals, (excluding anything naturally poisonous to us of course!) I’m also a strong believer in the rule of everything in moderation because extreme portions of anything, even vitamins is bad for you.
So, in truth, I wasn’t overly surprised when the ‘fat doesn’t make you fat’ myth was debunked.
First up, calories in fat are no different to the calories in protein and carbohydrates, and fat is not automatically shifted into storage anymore than protein is used to make muscle. Fat does contain more calories, but they are by no means ’empty’ calories. Saturated fat is needed to form cell membranes, function a good immune system as well as build and produce hormones and provide us with energy.
All calories are the same in a laboratory when you burn them in a vacuum. However, your body is not a laboratory. It is an intricate, interconnected organism that simultaneously juggles thousands of duties.
Researchers have found that, while it’s true that lowering saturated fat in the diet may lower total cholesterol, it’s actually lowering the good kind of cholesterol, the light, fluffy, buoyant HDL that’s not a problem. When people eat less fat, they tend to eat more starch or sugar instead, and this actually increases their levels of dangerous cholesterol, the small, dense cholesterol that causes heart attacks. Eating a diet with good quality fat and protein prevents and even reverses diabetes and pre-diabetes. It’s eating sugar and refined carbs that cause ‘diabesity’.
Food controls everything. Food affects the expression of your genes that cause or prevent disease. In other words, food literally turns on health genes or disease genes. It tells those genes to store or burn fat. Food influences your hormones, your brain chemistry, your immune system and even your gut flora.
Calories from a pastry, for example, are different than calories from an avocado in how they affect your hormones, your metabolism and even your appetite. Eating fat actually helps you burn more calories!!
Kevin Hall, from the National Institutes of Health, studies mathematical systems and biology. He found when you measure every ounce of food, every movement, every breath and every calorie burned, you find that those who ate more fat compared to an identical amount of carbs burned over 100 more calories a day! Over a year, that amounts to about a 10 lb weight loss from doing no more exercise.
Hall also reported studies on brain imaging and brain function that found eating more fat actually shuts off your brain’s hunger and craving centers. Eating healthy fats improves things like food intake, taste preferences and even your metabolism. It’s also key to remember that when you try to restrict calories and exercise more – the typical solution to lose weight – your body becomes alarmed, fearing you’re starving. That makes you tired, so you move less to conserve energy. It makes you hungry, so you eat more. This makes sense because until you find sufficient fuel, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy. It’s actually a good idea to see it as – feed the fire – keep that metabolism burning and would explain why people see results on the 5:2 diet. Doing weights instead of cardio makes sense because if you build muscle, these cells contain more mitochondria – the metabolism powerhouse of the cell. Muscles also generate heat for the body, so will burn more calories than other cells.
Less than 10 percent of people who lose weight can keep it off for a year. You can walk around hungry and tired for a bit, but not for long. By not eating enough food, you place your body into a starvation mode.
The best solution is to manage your refined carbs and sugar intake and increase you good fat and protein intake for nutrients and satiety.
Here are some of the best sources of good fat:
- Nuts — walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts, but not peanuts
- Seeds — pumpkin, sesame, chia, hemp
- Fatty fish, including sardines, mackerel, herring, and wild salmon that are rich in omega-3 fats
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Enjoy grass-fed or sustainably raised animal products
- Coconut products are a great plant-based source of saturated fat that has many benefits.
I use coconut oil for all kinds of things; baking, frying, oil pulling and my natural homemade personal care products, but you can even put it in your coffee and smoothies too. I also use coconut milk instead of dairy, but tend to vary it with hemp, almond and rice milk to broaden my flavours and nutrition. And finally I use coconut meat in my smoothies and baking and have tried coconut flour, which is high in fibre, but makes food have a very dry mouth feel (not a fan to be honest). I personally love the flavour of coconut and couldn’t recommend getting some coconut in your life enough!
I often use Lucy Bee coconut oil, Koko coconut milk and Sainsbury’s organic desiccated coconut meat. You can find more help and information on how to choose the right coconut oil here.
So what are the benefits of consuming coconut oil and other products?
- Contains a unique combination of healthy medium chain fatty acids – good fat!
- Reduces protein loss from your hair
- Is anti-inflammatory
- Is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral – great for the immune system!
- Helps with weight loss by sustaining appetite
- Helps improve digestion
- Prevents and effectively cures Candida
- Prevents wrinkles, sagging and dryness – it’s the only oil that can penetrate all of your skin’s layers
- Improves bone health by facilitating calcium absorption
- Prevents diseases affecting your liver and kidney
- Rich in Lauric acid that helps maintain blood sugar levels and cholesterol
- Treats pancreatitis and Alzheimer’s disease
- Effective in healing damaged tissue and infections
- Helps remove stress and mental fatigue – just rub a little on your forehead!
- Reduces viral susceptibility to HIV and Cancer
These benefits can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and their respective properties. Good fat is simply a must for a healthy diet and lifestyle and Coconut oil is a great place to start! Embrace and enjoy! x
For a more in-depth review check out this informative article here
If you have a favourite use for coconut oil, do let me know in the comments below!