Coconut oil is unique in its structural
make-up due to its medium chain fatty triglycerides (MCTs). In contrast
with animal fats, which contain cholesterol, coconut oil, because of its
vegetable source, has no cholesterol. Coconut oil's MCTs are easy to
digest and converted to energy. They do not raise cholesterol nor
increase the risk of heart disease. Conversely, animal fats are long
chain triglycerides (LCTs) which have the ability to raise cholesterol
and are easily stored in the body as fats.
Just as there is 'bad' cholesterol, LDL and
'good' cholesterol, HDL, there is a research-based concept of what a
good fat should do. It should not contain LDL and it should be burned up
quickly to provide energy instead of being stored in our bodies as
excess fat. Coconut oil fulfils all these criteria.
LCTs are typically stored in the body as
fat, while MCTs are preferentially burned for energy. There are dual
actions as MCTs burn up quickly in the body. At the same time, MCTs
spark thermogenesis. Thermogenesis increases the body's metabolism and
produces energy. This is the secret to successful weight loss!
Research shows that consumption of a diet
rich in MCTs results in greater loss of adipose (fatty) tissue compare
with LCTs, perhaps due to increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation
observed with MCT intake. Thus MCTs may be considered as agents that aid
in the prevention of obesity or potentially stimulate weight loss.