Fats and Oils: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

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All fats and oils are not created equal! From a biochemical action, the metabolism, breakdown, utilization and uptake are uniquely variant. Some help us to store body fat while others help us to actually stabilize glucose and insulin levels which assist in burning stored body fat. This is exciting, especially for women going through menopause often prompting fat storing genes to switch on like a runaway train! And one supplement, coconut oil, can help shift your body’s systems into high gear.

Dietary fats or fatty acids have two classifications: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are derived primarily from animal by-products. Unsaturated fats are known as poly or mono-unsaturated fats and are derived from plant, seed and nut sources. There are good, bad and ugly in each of the two categories.

For the sake of edification, the ‘ugly’ fats are trans or hydrogenated fats which are nasty man-made fats used in our food to extend shelf life while padding the food manufacturer’s pockets. The ‘bad’ are considered bad due to over-consumption of saturated fats, be it daily intake of steak, bacon and pork, or chicken. Combine over-consumption of the saturated group with low fiber and vegetable intake and you’re potentially looking at arterial plaque build-up and high blood cholesterol.

The “good” fats are “thinning” fats derived from plants, seeds and nuts. These oils thin the blood, reduce clotting, lower lipid levels such as high cholesterol, stabilize glucose and insulin, burn fat stores and, in the right percentages, can help to reverse adult onset diabetes.

All fats consist of either long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), or short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). The majority (98 percent to 100 percent) of fats consumed by Americans are LCFAs. LCFAs are plaque forming and can be hard on the heart and arteries, plus they help to store body fat. SCFAs oxidize easily and can increase inflammation.

MCFAs are awesome! Found in coconut oil, they are easy to digest, hence take strain off metabolism if you’re attempting to recover from an illness, such as cancer or attempting to reverse adult onset diabetes. MCFAs neutralize the body’s pH thereby reducing inflammation while assisting in inhibiting cancer expression.

As metabolism decreases, many Americans suffer from digestive stress which perpetuates malabsorption. As we get older (over 40), we become metabolically less efficient. MCFAs produce energy not only for the thyroid but most importantly for your brain. MCFAs such as coconut oil do not store as fats, rather bypass the conversion and move directly to the thyroid and brain. Coconut oil is the second preferred source of energy next to glucose for your tired brain. Your brain sends commands telling all organs, systems and cells what to do, when to do it, and how long it should take. Once energized, all systems activate, hence metabolism perks up.

Since many individuals have trouble breaking down foods that convert to sugar (glucose) in the liver (i.e. all carbohydrates and proteins) due to over-ingestion for decades, coconut oil is nothing short of miraculous. MCFAs are like putting high octane fuel into your car. It creates better mileage give extended energy and endurance for your engine. Metabolism kicks up, helping to burn fat while building muscle mass even without exercise.

MCFAs are high in lauric and capric acids, both found in mother’s breast milk. These fatty acids have been shown in studies to kill viruses, rid the body of infections, and reduce the expression of degenerative diseases. More information and research on the extraordinary benefits of coconuts and coconut oil can be found on the Coconut Research Center’s website.

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About Deborah Arneson

Deborah Arneson holds a B.S. in Food Science, a M.S. in Counseling Psychology and is a licensed clinical nutritionist. A veteran in her field, she specializes in solving hormonal imbalances: increasing energy, focus, moods, eliminating anxiety, constipation and sleep problems though one on one nutrition counseling and Ayurvedic practices.