On June 16th, the BBC released an article that made many people that we follow along with go a little crazy. They stated that Coconut Oil is as unhealthy as Beef Fat and Butter, actually worse.
What does this mean? The issue is all about what is the right type of fat to eat, and how much.
Fats are labeled as “Good” and “Bad”. This in itself is misleading because it should be easy to understand Good vs. Evil. Like, Luke was good, his dad was bad, easy peasey. But while it’s easy to simply categorize some fats as bad, like Trans Fats, it is not so easy with all fats.
There are loads of articles on the internet that will give you a mind boggling amount of opinions on fat so I won’t be referencing any one article here other than the BBC article. The point of this blog is to be clear on our opinion of Fat and how we teach to cook and eat with it.
The main issue at play here is how fat behaves in our bodies. The reason that the American Heart Association is sounding the alarm bells is that some people are behaving erratically, again. Many of us were overjoyed and vindicated when the AMA finally released a study proclaiming that Saturated Fat is not the killer that it had been made out to be in the 70’s. The era of low fat at all costs was quickly coming to an end. But! There’s been a bit of a ‘free for all’ when it comes to the fat that most of us love the most, Saturated Fat = more burgers and butter! Also, a huge uptake in Coconut Oil.
Coconut Oil is amazing for cooking and baking because of it’s density of Saturated Fat which gives it a perfect texture and melting point. We are big big fans and use it all the time but the catch is this: IT IS SATURATED FAT! And there is no way around that. Saturated Fat is essential for humans to exist and a certain amount is critical to thrive however, (many may not agree with us) we support the underlying message of the BBC article and do not think that big brother is trying to control us with their food propaganda. Go easy on Coconut Oil.
We teach that a balance of fat is critical for health and good results in cooking. Living beings are still the most complicated things that we know of and as information becomes available that influences our eating choices we need to remember a golden rule when it comes to food: a balanced diet is the right diet.
Michael Pollan said it right: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
I’ll get a bit more detailed on what this AMA study means. They are trying to be neutral (as they can be) and being clear that Coconut Oil is not a Monounsaturated Fat. It is up to 90% Saturated Fat, which is solid at room temperature and is not processed easily in the body ending up clogging up the old ticker, which ya know, is bad. So they are saying to take it easy on Coconut Oil as most people do not get the right amount of daily exercise to justify their fat intake. This is a whole other issue!
These are the types of fat that humans eat:
- Saturated fat – Found in meats including processed foods such as burgers and sausages as well as butter, dairy and coconut oil
- Monounsaturated fat – Found in avocados, olive oil, and many types of nut.
- Polyunsaturated fat – Found in oily fish, vegetable oils and seeds.
- Trans fat – Can be found in commercial biscuits, cakes and margarines
Now comes the issue of Cholesterol
- Cholesterol is a fat
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is said to be ‘bad’ because it can be deposited in the walls of arteries and cause hard plaques to build up that can cause blockages, resulting in heart attacks and stroke. These are mostly Saturated Fats or Trans Fats
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is ‘good’ because it carries LDL cholesterol to your liver where it is disposed of. A high ratio of good to bad cholesterol is healthiest. These are Monounsaturated Fats and Polyunsaturated fats
And let’s not forget the critical Fatty Acids in Cholesterol!
We understand that this topic is confusing and there are many theories on the topic of fats. Most people who come to our classes are very, very interested in eating the right food. We suggest finding a good Naturopath that you align with. They will help you better understand your unique body and can help you choose a cooking class that works for you.