Food Fats and Oils: The Main Types and Why Coconut Oil is the Healthiest
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Food fats and oils is a vital food group necessary for achieving optimal health. But not all are the same and as incredibly healthy as coconut oil.
If you’re confused, fats are solid in room temperature while oils are liquid. Solid or liquid though, all food fats and oils are composed of fat molecules called fatty acids.
There are two ways of classifying fatty acids – Saturation and Carbon Chain Length.
This is probably the one you’re familiar with. Do saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats ring a bell?
So-called “health experts” contend that saturated fatty acids (of which coconut oil is the star) are unhealthy and that mono- or poly-unsaturated fatty acids are the good guys. Yeah, right! [slaps forehead]
Carbon Chain Length
There are three groupings of fats based on the molecular size of the carbon chain in the fatty acid:
- Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) or Short Chain Triglycerides (SCT)
- Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) or Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT)
- Long Chain Fatty Acids (LCFA) or Long Chain Triglycerides (LCT)
** A triglyceride is simply three fatty acids joined together by a single glycerol molecule.
All fatty acids are made of a chain of carbon atoms with varying numbers of hydrogen atoms attached to them. Each carbon atom can hold up to two hydrogen atoms only.
All this atom-talk can be dizzying, I know. You’ll soon see that the completeness or lack of hydrogen atoms in the chain has a lot to do with how beneficial or dangerous each dietary fat can be.
Depending on the number of hydrogen atoms affixed to each carbon atom, fatty acids or triglycerides can be:
- Saturated – two(maximum) hydrogen atoms attached to each carbon atom
- Monounsaturated – lacking a pair of hydrogen atoms
- Polyunsaturated – more than two hydrogen atoms are missing
The degree of “polyunsaturation” increases as more hydrogen atoms are lacking, creating weak links in the chain. These weak connections have far-reaching implications on your health!
Saturated Fats are Much Healthier than Preached
Thanks to their complete set of hydrogen atoms, saturated fats and oils like coconut oil, butter, beef and palm kernel oil are very stable and highly resistant to oxidation (spoilage) and free-radical formation.
Foods prepared with saturated fats will stay fresh considerably longer than preparing them using unsaturated fats. Food manufacturers have known this fact for decades.
Why do you think they have been hydrogenating polyunsaturated vegetable oils like crazy since heaven knows when?
Hydrogenation is a process wherein unsaturated oils are chemically changed to become more saturated. Isn’t this ridiculously ironic?
Here they are trying to convince the whole world that saturated fats are bad when, behind the scenes, they are making their unsaturated products as saturated as possible. [slaps forehead again]
Why is Coconut Oil Uniquely the Healthiest?
Coconut oil is 92% saturated. But unlike animal fats like beef tallow and lard, coconut oil is predominantly (two-thirds) Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT).
There are actually very few that are essentially MCTs. In fact, almost all other food fats and oils (saturated or unsaturated, plant- or animal-based) are entirely Long Chain Triglycerides (LCT). The oil of the humble coconut is nature’s richest source of health-boosting MCTs!
MCT-loaded coconut oil benefits range from giving you beautiful hair and skin, to killing the viruses responsible for AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
Remember, not all food fats and oils are alike.
MCT-oils such as coconut oil are very different from LCT-oils like corn, soybean and canola oils. Their absorption, transport, metabolism and uses are completely unlike each other.
LCTs require pancreatic digestive enzymes and bile to be digested. MCTs don’t. MCT-rich coconut oil is readily absorbed and goes straight to your liver to power metabolism.
LCTs circulate your entire body and are the source of the fat that accumulates in your fat cells and artery walls. MCTs rarely contribute to fat buildup because, “coconut oil is pro-energy, not pro-fat!”