Coconut Oil and Diabetes

Coconut Oil and Diabetes

Recently I wrote about coconut water. I’m curious — the number of you drink coconut water, or have at least tried it? As I discussed in my publishing, I’m not a huge fan of it. But unless you’re guzzling down glass after glass of this tropical drink, there are truly no significant harmful implications. But what about coconut oil?

Controversial Coconut Oil

Numerous nutrition subjects are murky, and the concern of whether coconut oil is an “excellent” fat or a “bad” fat is a prime example. A lot of people swear by coconut oil for numerous reasons. Those who delight in baking like coconut oil due to the fact that it makes a mean flaky pie crust and provides an unique, abundant flavor to pastries and other goodies. Others use coconut oil for daily cooking, declaring that it includes fantastic taste to vegetables, oatmeal, as well as popcorn. Coconut oil is used thoroughly in Thai and Indian meals, which, naturally, is partly why these dishes are so yummy.

And then, there are those who swear by coconut oil for its supposed numerous health benefits, such as promoting weight-loss, improving blood glucose control, and assisting to treat heart disease. Can a tropical oil truly measure up to all these claims?

A Bit of Background

Using coconut oil for cooking is absolutely nothing new in tropical regions. In the early 1900’s, this oil was actually used in the US as a cooking oil, but it slowly fell out of favor in the 1960’s when scientists started to examine coconut oil’s possible role in heart disease.

The link in between coconut oil and heart disease stems from the fact that coconut oil is primarily a hydrogenated fat (92% of the fats in this oil are filled). And, for the a lot of part, hydrogenated fat, or the “bad” fat, is related to promoting heart disease. But the difficult thing about hydrogenated fats is that not all of them are produced similarly. The saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are various than, say, those found in animal fats, like lard or beef fat. By the way, using the word “oil” when talking about coconut is a little bit of a misnomer, as coconut oil is solid at space temperature (it ends up being a liquid at temps above 75°F).

Also read: Is Coconut Good for People with Diabetes?

About half of the saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is a medium-chain fat (and different than the long-chain fatty acids found in animal fats). The body uses medium-chain fats in a different way than long-chain fats; it may be that these medium-chain fats are less harmful and potentially advantageous. Of note, an unique kind of oil, called MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil is available as a medical supplement for individuals who have problem processing regular fat as a result of certain medical conditions.

Lauric acid, remarkably, might increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol, but may likewise improve LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, too. Yet, it doesn’t appear to affect the ratio of the two in a bad way. Lauric acid may have other health benefits, including anti-bacterial and anti-viral homes, fighting acne, and enhancing metabolism. A few of these benefits are unverified, however.

Is Coconut Oil OK to Use?

Back to coconut oil. Is it excellent or bad? Coconut oil got a bad rap, in part, because it was used in animal research studies in a partly hydrogenated type. Virgin coconut oil, on the other hand, isn’t hydrogenated. And even though coconut oil still is high in saturated fat, some more recent studies suggest that hydrogenated fat may not quite be the bad guy it’s been constructed out to be.

Coconut oil may in fact have some genuine health benefits. In one study, women offered coconut oil as a supplement (along with a low-calorie diet) had a higher HDL cholesterol, a lower LDL: HDL ratio, and a reduced waist circumference compared to women offered a soybean oil supplement. Another study, also with women, revealed enhanced lipid levels with MCT oil compared to beef tallow. However, both of these studies were small, and at this time, there isn’t really sufficient research to wholly suggest making use of coconut oil.

In regards to diabetes, a study released in 2009 in the journal Diabetes revealed that mice fed coconut oil had less insulin resistance (their insulin worked much better) and had less body fat than mice fed lard. The drawback, however, was that the mice provided coconut oil had higher insulin resistance in the liver, as well as higher fat build-up in the liver.

The bottom line? Using small amounts of virgin coconut oil is most likely OKAY (prevent utilizing partly hydrogenated coconut oil because it includes trans fat). Remember that coconut oil is still a fat: one tablespoon consists of 117 calories and 14 grams of fat (and there’s not much proof that swigging coconut oil will cause you to amazingly shed additional pounds).

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