Finally – the word is out: saturated fats, like coconut oil, aren’t the villain in our diets. Well, not all saturated fats. A new study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine conducted a meta-analysis of over 75 studies over the past 40 years. What they were looking to see is a clear connection between saturated fats and increased risk of heart disease. But, according to the authors, they only found “null associations” between the two.
This also means cholesterol is a lot more complicated than we thought. We not only have to be worried about LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, we have to be aware of the ratio between the HDL, the “good”, as well. Extra virgin coconut oil has been found to help keep the ratio between the two in check. “What’s interesting about coconut oil is that it also gives “good” HDL cholesterol a boost,” explains Dr. Walter C. Willett, from Harvard School of Public Health Department of Nutrition. “Fat in the diet, whether it’s saturated or unsaturated, tends to nudge HDL levels up, but coconut oil seems to be especially potent at doing so.”
So what does this mean for your diet? Well, to be clear, this does not mean you can grab the first fast food burger you can reach. Instead, experts say the key is to eat whole, real foods. Researchers of this study say when we villianize one particular food group – like fats or carbs – we make up for it in other areas, which leads to an unbalanced diet. Which is what we saw when we all went through the no-fat phase in the 90s – we made up for it in carbs and gained weight.
For me, it’s been easier to not think of it as a “diet” but just eating healthier. I pick whole foods, or if I do grab a bar or something, it’s made with real ingredients. My body has thanked me!
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