Eating Green

Much of the public avoids fats, but only because they are misunderstood as artery-clogging devils. There is such a thing as good fats, and coconut oil falls under that category.

Coconut oil is unique in that it is a medium-chain triglyceride. All fats are triglycerides. Some are short-chain, but most are long-chain. Short-chain fats are saturated fats, and can do more damage on arteries than long-chain fats as they pass through the blood. But long-chain fats are not absorbed very easily, since they must go through the lymphatic system before being deposited in the blood.

Medium-chain triglycerides are the happy medium between the two. Readily absorbed in the digestive system and used immediately as fuel, medium-chain triglycerides do not travel through the arteries depositing fat on the walls.

As the body becomes more accustomed to metabolizing fat, it will need fewer calories to sustain itself since the body can use the fat stored in cells as fuel. This leads to decreased hunger and fewer calories consumed.

For long distance athletes, a diet high in fats such as coconut oil has caught on as a way to sustain energy throughout long events. By using naturally occurring fat as fuel, athletes can save their stores of glucose, the primary energy source, for the final stages of an event.

Coconut oil can be used just as any other oil in baking, grilling or frying.