What’s the Skinny on Fat? Breaking Down the Fatty Acid in Coconut Oil

natural oils in glass bottles

It’s no secret that coconut oil is a jack-of-all-trades kind of product. The applications are endless! From hair and skin care, to oral hygiene, to infection treatment, and weight loss — you almost can’t run out of ways to use coconut oil. How can one product be so effective in so many different ways? We’ll let you in on the real secret about coconut oil. 

Since the shocking revelation came to light that some fats are in fact healthy, research has found several sources of “the good kind” of saturated fats. Omega-3’s in seafood, grass-fed saturated fats, olive oil, and coconut oil just to name a few. The type of fat in coconut oil is a naturally-occurring, healthy saturated fat. The scientific name for the fatty acid found in coconut oil is medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. Coconut oil has the highest concentration of naturally-occurring MCTs in a wholefood source, meaning it is truly a one-of-a-kind superfood. 

So what are MCTs, and why are they so good for us?

Breaking Down MCTs and Why Our Bodies Need Them

diagonally lined up open coconuts

In order to understand the clinical health benefits of coconut oil, you must first understand what makes MCTs so special. How do they work? What makes them different from other fats? What is it about MCTs that are so beneficial for the human body? There’s an abundance of reasons why the fatty acid in coconut oil works in our favor:

  • Increase metabolic rate, replenishing energy at the cellular level
  • Aid in weight loss and weight management
  • Improve cognitive function
  • Can be used to treat certain brain disorders
  • Effective treatment for bacterial, viral, and fungal infections

The type of fat in coconut oil must surely be magic because all that sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong! Here’s a deep dive into how the fatty acid in coconut oil improves our health.

Metabolism

As much as we probably all wish there was a magic flip to switch that can speed up our metabolism, there is no quick fix for weight loss. It’s all about a life-long, balanced combination of diet and exercise, but there are things you can do to support your metabolism. You guessed it, regularly consuming coconut oil or MCT oil is one of them! Our bodies metabolize MCTs in half the time of other fatty acids without storing them as body fat. They are absorbed and promptly redirected to the liver and converted into energy. The fatty acid in coconut oil recharges our bodies quickly and extremely effectively.

Lauric Acid 

Roughly 50% of the fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid. Lauric acid is commonly associated with antimicrobial properties, which help to detect and destroy harmful bacteria and viruses. This coconut oil fat type helps to protect our bodies from infection and ward off diseases. It’s important to note that while coconut and MCT oil have overlapping health benefits, there are a few key differences. The lauric acid content can be different, depending upon the concentration levels. MCT oil made from pure coconut oil contains a higher concentration of lauric acid, whereas MCT oils extracted from sources other than coconuts may have less.  

forward facing coconut halves

Coconut Oil Myths

While it’s true that the fatty acid in coconut oil is proven to be beneficial for a host of things, not everything you read is reliable. It can be a challenge to wade through the information overload to find what’s real and what’s not. As you learn more about the type of fat in coconut oil and other natural home remedies, it’s essential to sift through the misinformation. Like any other trending topic, there are coconut oil myths floating around:

  • All coconut oil is the same – false! There are significant variations across brands, extraction methods, and flavor
  • Coconut oil is linked to heart disease – Studies show that saturated fats were given a bad name from the 1980s and 90s and they might not be so bad for you. In fact, heart disease and weight gain might be linked to the addition of refined sugar in our diets - not fats!
  • Coconut oil makes everything taste like coconuts – nope! There are flavorless coconut oil options, like Wildly Organic Refined Coconut Oil
  • Coconut oil works for many skin types – it’s true that the oil acts as an incredible moisturizer for most types of skin. However, if you are prone to outbreaks or have oily skin, you may want to reconsider using coconut oil as a natural moisturizer. 

To sum it up, the fatty acid in coconut oil is an excellent, natural way to promote overall wellness. Considering its wide range of uses from beauty hacks to lifestyle support, it’s well worth incorporating into your day to day routine.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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