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The Truth About Coconut Oil [ Video ]

The Truth About Coconut Oil [ Video ]

Hi everyone, Dr. Olivia Joseph here. Last week the American Heart Association posted something in USA Today about coconut oil being bad and it’s raised a lot of controversy. Obviously you’ve seen a lot of people reposting on the topic, you’ve seen a lot of people’s comments, you’ve seen one of my personal colleagues and mentors, Dr. Mark Hyman posting a phenomenal video on the topic, which I did go ahead and repost for you to view. So if you haven’t seen that already coming right from a medical physician who also practices functional medicine, the science and research behind that information, what was true about it and what was false.

Is Coconut Oil Bad?

First and foremost, let’s talk about what this article said. It said that coconut oil is bad. Why? Because it contains high levels of saturated fat. And that’s true. We know coconut oil contains high levels of saturated fat. But there’s been a lot of research out recently about MCT oil, which is derived from coconut oil and its benefit on metabolism, blood sugar, and cardiovascular health, as well as its benefit on just your fat burning capability. Now MCT oil comes from coconut oil, but MCT oil does have a lower amount of saturated fat. So is saturated fat really the bad guy? No, it’s not.

Vegetable Oils vs. Coconut Oil

In this same article they post saying that you should be using vegetable oils instead of oils like coconut oil. Really? Corn oil, soybean oil, peanut oil. What we do know is that those oils, those vegetable oils are inflammatory, and if we’re being honest, the root cause of cardiovascular disease 90% of the time is inflammation. A better marker of cardiovascular disease are inflammatory markers like homocysteine which you’ve heard me talk about and its relation to MTHFR gene mutations. High homocysteine increases your risk for a stroke. Elevated C-reactive protein increases your risk for heart disease or heart attack. So the real root cause of heart disease is inflammation and not high cholesterol. If you just look at the simple facts, half the people who have a heart attack, half the people who have a stroke have normal cholesterol, normal blood pressure. What do these people have in common? High markers of inflammation.

Let’s talk about what causes inflammation. Sugar, particularly having elevated blood glucose such as diabetes and pre-diabetes. Right now it’s estimated that 20-40% of the population has diabetes and they don’t even know it. And the reason they don’t know it is because they don’t have symptoms. And the reason they don’t have symptoms is because diabetes is silent, but it’s systemic. Systemic means it attacks multiple systems of the body.

Elevated Glucose and Overall Health

We have diabesity which is diabetes causing obesity. We have diabetic dementia which is one of the leading causes of dementia, not Alzheimer’s, not being genetically predisposed to dementia but due to having elevated glucose and that glucose attacks the brain and cognitive function declines. So diabetes is one of the biggest causes of cardiovascular disease.

This disease infuriates me because doctors and patients take it too lightly. You are diabetic if you have a hemoglobin A1c in the high sixes, and you are pre-diabetic if you have a hemoglobin A1c of 5.7 or 5.8. 5.6 or lower is a normal hemoglobin A1c. But the problem is we don’t start testing hemoglobin A1c on patients until they’re in their 40s or 50s, so they may have pre-diabetes or silent diabetes for a decade. When you chronically have elevated sugar, it makes you tired, it causes brain fog, makes it very hard for you to lose weight. But more importantly, it causes cardiovascular disease.

Is Sugar the Real Problem?

The number one cause of death in the United States is a heart attack. The number one cause of heart disease, diabetes and inflammation. The number five cause of death in the United States, stroke. The number one predisposing factor to having a stroke, not high cholesterol, diabetes.

So what we have to be conscious of is sugar is the real problem here. People with diabetes, type 2 is reversible, it is reversible, not with medication. There’s no medication out there that will reverse type 2 diabetes, but type 2 diabetes is reversible. Type 1 is different. It is insulin dependent, happens in a younger demographic and is autoimmune. What do we know about every autoimmune disease? Every single one it increases the amount of inflammation in your body. We know inflammation is the root cause of cardiovascular disease, but virtually every disease out there.

Coconut Oil and High Cholesterol

I had a patient this morning, healthy woman, although she does have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s. She comes in and says, “Maybe I should cut back on my coconut oil because my cholesterol is high,” and I said, “Let me take a look at your levels.” This woman’s good cholesterol which is called HDL was 80. Her bad cholesterol which is called LDL was below 100, and she’s ready to jump ship and stop eating coconut oil, although what that coconut oil is doing in her body is keeping her good cholesterol high, which is cardio protective, protecting her against cardiovascular disease.

You hear about coconut oil increasing people’s LDL. The leading cause of elevated LDL or lousy cholesterol is your genes. It’s not your diet. It’s your genes. Meaning your LDL particle size is determined by your genes. There are ways to take small particles and swell them up so that your body makes less of them. Let me give you an example. If this room I’m sitting in currently is a 10-by-10 room, I’m going to be able to fit a lot more kids in this room than 7-foot tall basketball players. So when you have a small particle size, your body makes more LDL particles to fill up the space. So if you have small particles it’s because your parents have small particles. I am not tall and I never will be because neither one of my parents is particularly tall. It’s just your size is often determined by your genes.

So what we can do with a small LDL particle is we can plump it up. How? With plant sterols, with vegetables, with B vitamins, and with healthy fats. Essentially elevated LDL is genetic. How do you know if its genetic? You run a blood test looking at your particle size, LPP particle size, and you run a genotype test called an ApoB genotype test. So if you’re worried about your cardiovascular health, try to find a functional medicine cardiologist who will run an advanced cardiac panel on you from the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Mark Hyman who you heard on the video, he is affiliated with Cleveland Clinic and their advanced cardiovascular labs don’t look at cholesterol. They look at particle size, they look at inflammatory markers.

Changing the Nature of Food

Take this final tip seriously. Get rid of bad fat in your diet. Get rid of vegetable oils. Get rid of hydrogenated oils. Those are man-made, made in a laboratory and they’re synthetic. Anything made by man and not made by nature will always do more harm than good in your body. I’m sure you can all agree with that. That’s crystal clear.

But here’s something I need you to understand. Fat in the absence of sugar will not do harm. Fat and sugar do not mix well together ever. What I mean by that is if you think of virtually every unhealthy food out there, let’s use french fries as an example. One can say, “Well, it’s gluten-free. Well, it’s potatoes, right? It’s found in nature.” Yeah, it was until we deep-fried it, and Lord knows what oil we deep-fried it in, certainly not coconut oil. We’re deep-frying it in what? Vegetable oil which is very inflammatory. So what you did was you just changed the nature of that food.

Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease

Let’s talk about a dessert, a cookie. Any time you bake desserts, what ingredients do you need to make desserts which are clearly an unhealthy food? You need a fat and you need a sugar. Natural fats, fats found in nature will not do harm in the absence of sugar. Be conscious of that. Be conscious that these vegetable oils like canola, soybean, peanut oil are very inflammatory. How do we know they’re inflammatory? Based on their omega-six to omega-three ratios. When you look at those oils that the American Heart Association is telling you you can eat, they have a very high amount of omega-six fatty acids and little-to-no omega-three fatty acids. When you have a high omega-six to an omega-three ratio, that makes that food very inflammatory. And if you eat a food and it creates inflammation in your body, it is not a good food.

That goes back to things like dairy and gluten. They’re not high in saturated fat. Cheese is a bit higher in saturated fat, but gluten isn’t high in saturated fat. Yet oftentimes people cut gluten out of their diet, their cholesterol comes down, their C-reactive protein comes down, their homocysteine comes down, their inflammation comes down. When you drive your inflammation down, guess what? You’re reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease.

The Importance of Fat in Your Diet

So for those of you who do have an autoimmune component such as type diabetes 1 or any autoimmune disease for that matter, it’s even more important for you to have healthy fat in your diet because you need that healthy fat, those omega-three fatty acids to drive down inflammation and protect your heart, protect your brain, and protect your nerves. You need healthy fats. Healthy fats in the absence of sugar are not going to do you harm. It’s when you combine these ingredients that we start seeing bad and negative things happening in your body.

No, I’m not anti carbs, I’m not anti healthy carbs, I’m not anti complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and fruit and the complex carbohydrates that you find in raw nuts and seeds and in vegetables even. Carbs are not the bad guy. Sugar is. Sugar causes inflammation, and unfortunately if you are diabetic type 1 or type 2 you have a sugar problem and you have to be more conscious of your cardiovascular risk.

Trends Around the World

I know I’m passionate about this. I know I speak about it with excitement and almost a little bit of anger because I did a big eye roll like millions of people did when they saw that article. But what I was really thinking is, “Shame on you American Heart Association, shame on you for putting out information like that versus publishing information on clinical trials being run with real, new recent research.” We said fats were bad in the ’70s, in the ’80s, in the ’90s, and what happened? We got fatter, we got unhealthier, our rates of diabetes were on the rise, our fat-free foods were on the rise. And did we have less cardiovascular disease? No, we didn’t. Our rates of cardiovascular disease went up and not down.

Look at the statistics and look at the science and question organizations like the American Heart Association. Their budget is public information. Look to see who are their major donators and contributors and question whether or not they don’t have an ulterior motive because I’m going to tell you, and dr. Mark Hyman said this as well, the American Heart Association is not the American Medical Association, it’s not. I’m not saying that the American Medical Association has it all figured out either. Let’s look at nations that have the lowest amount of cardiovascular disease and let’s see what are some trends that they have in their diet, in their lifestyle. I’m going to tell you one trend you’re going to see, lower rates of diabetes, lower rates of obesity, not just lower rates of cardiovascular health but lower rates of dementia and cognitive decline.

Healthcare Crisis

As Americans we need to start realizing that what we are doing isn’t working and we need to start questioning things in our healthcare system because there are third world countries that rank healthier than the United States. If you go to the World Health Organization’s list of countries, healthiest and most unhealthy countries, the American … the United States of America ranks number 37, and what will blow your mind about that statistic is there are countries that are healthier than us, that rank healthier than us that I have never heard of in my entire life, and I’m sure you’re going to see that you’ll find the same thing too.

Another thing I want you to consider is the United States of America is 5% of the entire world’s population, 5%, but we consume 75% of the world’s drugs. Let me let that land on you for a second. So if drugs were making us healthier, we would be the healthiest country in the world, and Lord knows we’re not. Take my opinion as a grain of salt but take those statistics seriously. It’s time we start asking questions versus just believing everything we’re told from USA Today. And the USA is one of the most unhealthy countries in the world and we are number one in obesity in the world.

Outdated Research

So maybe we shouldn’t be reading USA Today and listening to everything they say and taking it seriously. The American Heart Association who I’ve had a lot of respect for what they’ve done, them putting out this information, it’s old information. Are we really going back to research on coconut oil done in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s? Are we going back to research done on saturated fat from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s? Come on. We’re smarter than that. We’re more innovative than that. Let’s look at the latest science and research and let’s look at what other countries are doing that are not as sick and medicated and as fat as we are in the United States. Now, I’m proud to be an American, I’m proud to live in this wonderful country, but at some point we’ve got to start doing things differently if we want a different result.

Thank you so much for tuning in, and if you want to see another opinion on the topic, please watch Dr. Mark Hyman’s video which I did post to my page. Thanks.

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