Health food buzz can have a very positive effect - no one can deny that switching cake for quinoa is a step in the right direction, diet wise. But when does cleaning up your act cross the line? Overconsuming supposedly saintly foods can pose a few problems, whether to your waistline, bank balance or digestive system. Scaremongering isn’t the aim of the game here- the following foods are bursting with health benefits, but bear in mind that gorging on virtuous fodder can have it’s drawbacks. Nutritional therapist Emma Olliff takes ten healthy foods to task, with additional wisdom from former model and nutritional therapist Gabriela Peacock.
Not all saturated fats are created equal, and coconut oil is now considered to be the ‘super’ oil, but is it really all its cracked up to be?
It is indeed rich with lauric acid, which is a fatty acid that contains anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
Additionally, the saturated fats in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which in layman’s terms means that they are converted by the body into immediate energy rather than stored as fat. Other fats, such as butter, contain long-chain fatty acids, which are deposited in fat cells and burn off more slowly.
Even though coconut oil is calorie-dense, coconut enthusiasts maintain that because of the MCTs, the body is able to burn off these calories far more quickly than it would calories from other fat sources. One 2003 study published in Obesity Research seemed to confirm this when it found that coconut oil could help overweight men to burn more calories and lose weight.
Coconut oil has a number of benefits being touted for example it may be able to help you lose weight, it may help to manage and reduce diabetes type 2, it can help you to avoid illness by boosting your immune system, it can help improve heart health and it’s thought even to have a role in preventing Alzheimer’s. It’s also fabulous for your skin and hair, so what’s not to love?
While there is credible evidence suggesting that the link between saturated fats and heart disease may not be as strong as we had previously thought, UK dietary guidelines continue to suggest avoiding saturated fats, including tropical oils like coconut. There are 39 calories in 1 tsp of coconut oil and 117 calories in 1 tbsp of it, so how much is too much? No recommended dosage for coconut oil actually exists, and it all depends on your own personal uses, as well as your diet and fitness levels. The general guide is one to three tablespoons of coconut oil a day. I would suggest starting with one tablespoon – or even just a teaspoon – then working your way up if you’re fit and active. Gabriela agrees that consuming coconut oil by the bucket load isn’t a great idea:
“It is still a fat so should be used sparingly and within daily calorie and fat requirements.”
The high fat content of the avocado might make you think twice about filling up on them, however, I’m going to tell you to forget about the fat and think about the essential minerals, protein and good fats that they contain.