How To Measure Changes In Cholesterol
There are 2 different types of cholesterol which have opposite health implications.
LDL cholesterol is so-called bad cholesterol, linked with increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol, thought to be beneficial because it carries away LDL from the blood stream.
Conventional scientific thinking would suggest coconut oil is bad for health because it is rich in saturated fat, and evidence suggests that saturated fat raises LDL levels.
Therefore, the health claims that coconut oil is good for your heart run counter to the body of scientific evidence. However, it is now marketed on a large scale, and its health effects in a British population are untested.
So is coconut oil good, or bad, for cholesterol? Trust Me Im a Doctor wanted to find out.
Mct Oil Health Benefits Dosage Recommendations And Recipes
MCT, a healthy type of saturated fatty acid, has been linked to several important health benefits. What is MCT oil good for exactly?
As explained more below, MCT oil benefits include improving cognitive function and supporting weight loss/healthy weight management.
Coconut oil is one great source of MCTs roughly 62 percent to 65 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil are MCTs. But recently, more concentrated MCT oil has also been growing in popularity.
MCTs are believed to be largely missing from the diets of people eating standard Western diets, most likely because the public has been led to believe that all forms of saturated fats are potentially harmful. However, recent research has shown a lot of evidence about the real truth regarding saturated fats.
For example, MCTs seem to be supportive of brain and gut health, especially since they have the capability to combat harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
How Is Mct Oil Used
Many people take MCT oil in capsule form, swallowing it with water like any other pill. Others opt for a liquid or powdered form they can add to foods and drinksMCT oil is odorless and flavorless, so it mixes well into smoothies and coffee, Jones says. MCT oil is one of three key ingredients in keto coffee , which also includes grass-fed butter.
Some home cooks use MCT oil in recipes like salad dressings and no-bake energy bites. Cooking with MCT oil generally isnt recommended, Jones notes. Its low smoke point means that above 300°F degrees or so, the fat can oxidize, altering its chemical structure and resulting in an off taste.
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How Much Mct Oil Should You Take
Its best to take MCT oil spread out throughout the day, in doses of about one tablespoon per meal . One tablespoon is generally about 15 mL of MCT oil.
Consuming too much MCT oil too quickly can lead to digestive symptoms including stomach pain, diarrhea, and bloating, so its best to work your way up more slowly.
Many people want to know how to use MCT oil without getting this common stomach discomfort. It often happens when we add a larger amount of any fat to our diet that we are used to. These digestive system issues can be easily resolved by slowly increasing your dose of MCT oil over time.
Try just a teaspoon in your morning coffee for a week or two and see how you do. If you do not have any digestive symptoms, then increase your intake by ¼ ½ of a teaspoon each week until you reach your desired amount. Dont go over about 1 tablespoon per serving.
When using MCT oil as a dietary supplement, the daily dose should not exceed 100 mL per day. Seven tablespoons a day is the limit for digestive tolerance in most people .
Risks And Side Effects Of Mct Oil
Like all ingredients, extracts and medicines, there are a few drawbacks of MCT oil. It is important to know and understand the risks and side effects that come with consuming MCT oil. There are currently no reported adverse interactions with other medications, nor many harmful side effects or risks, but there are some to be aware of:
- May invigorate hunger hormones in most cases, MCTs release a hormone which promotes fullness but for some, it may release hunger hormones. A study on people with anorexia showed that MCTs released appetite hormones, proving this side effect to be true.
- Could cause weight gain consuming MCT oil is consuming fats, therefore overconsumption can lead to unexpected weight gain. It is advised to stick to the recommended dose to prevent weight gain.
- May cause minor side effects like most medications, there are minor side effects to be aware of which includes nausea, vomiting, stomach upset and diarrhea. This can be prevented by sticking to the recommended daily dosage.
- Could cause ketoacidosis it is considered that MCTs may cause ketoacidosis for those with type 1 diabetes. This is where your metabolism produces an uncontrolled amount of ketones, which could have significant consequences for those with type 1 diabetes.
To avoid complications, talk to a professional before taking MCT oil and when taking, stick to the recommended dosage to inhibit any side effects.
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Heart Uk Says Bbc Coconut Oil Claim Not To Be Trusted
HEART UK are very concerned regarding the latest coverage of coconut – See article here. The idea that consuming coconut oil lowers cholesterol made by the BBC programme Trust me Im a Doctor, is both misleading, unhelpful and not to be trusted.
The majority of respected scientific evidence shows that the saturated fats in coconut oil raise the bad cholesterol and the very limited experiment in the programme is misleading viewers to believe that coconut oil has beneficial effects on cholesterol.
HEART UK is delighted to see that the media are encouraging the use of olive oil and discouraging the use of butter because of their effects on blood cholesterol.
Coconut oil, unlike most vegetable oils, is solid at room temperature and is 85% saturated fat which when compared to butter at 52% and lard at 40% saturated fat puts it into context.
Some have argued that coconut oil contains a large amount of medium chain fats which are metabolised differently however the predominant fats in coconut oils are Lauric acid, Myristic acid and Palmitic acid all of which are classified as long chain saturated fats and all have been shown to raise the level of damaging LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Small variations in cholesterol resulting from changes in diet can be difficult to demonstrate due to the variability in many factors including:
Fat and Fatty Acid Intake and Metabolic Effects in the Human BodyAnn Nutr Metab 2009 55:162172 DOI: 10.1159/000229001
Risks Of Taking Mct Oil
For most people, taking MCT oil for short periods is generally safe, according to research in Food and Chemical Toxicology. But acute side effects are possible, and more studies on MCTs health effects beyond a year or two are still needed, Jones says. The following issues may be a concern:
- Weight gain: A tablespoon of MCT oil contains roughly 120 calories and 14 grams of fat. If youre adding it to your diet instead of using it as a replacement for other fat sources, the extra calories could result in extra pounds, Jones says.
- Cardiovascular conditions: MCT oil is a saturated fat, Jones says. By increasing LDL cholesterol, too much saturated fat can raise a persons risk of experiencing heart attack or stroke. The specific effects of MCT oil on heart health still arent well understood. In the meantime, the American Heart Association recommends getting no more than 5-6% of your daily calories from saturated fat, including the kind found in red meat and French fries.
- Digestive problems: For some people, taking too much MCT oil can lead to stomach pain, cramping, gassiness, bloating, and diarrhea, according to research published in Practical Gastroenterology. Experts think that because MCT is metabolized without enzymes, the fat for some people can overtax the digestive system.
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What Is Mct Oil
MCTs are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid. They are also sometimes called MCFAs for medium-chain fatty acids.
- What is MCT oil made of? Its a pure source of fatty acids. MCTs get their name because of the length of their chemical structure. All types of fatty acids are made up of strings of connected carbon and hydrogen.
- Fats are categorized by how many carbons they have: Short-chain fats have fewer than six carbons, medium-chain fats have between six to 12 carbons and long-chain fats have between 1321.
- Compared to longer-chain fatty acids, MCTs are absorbed more easily since theres less work for the body to do breaking apart carbon bonds. MCTs are smaller, so they can permeate our cell membranes more easily and dont require that we use special enzymes in order for our bodies to utilize them.
What does MCT oil do to make it a top source of healthy fats? Medium-chain fats are digested easily and sent directly to your liver, where they have a thermogenic effect and the ability to positively alter your metabolism.
This is one reason why many people say that MCTs, including coconut oil, are burned by the body for energy, or fuel, instead of being stored as body fat.
The Health Benefits Of Mct Oil
There is research to suggest benefits from MCT oil, including weight loss, appetite suppression, cognitive function, decreased cholesterol, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, lower levels of insulin resistance, and improved Alzheimers symptoms, Wooten says. But all of this comes with a caveat. These are small studies, and the research on MCT oil is still quite young and not conclusive enough to recommend MCT oil yet, says Wooten, adding, though, that MCT can be beneficial for people with health issues like epilepsy and those with certain fat absorption disorders.
Take, for instance, weight loss, one of the most common reasons people take MCT oil. In one study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition comparing MCTs to LCTs, MCTs resulted in greater increases in leptin and PYY, or peptide, which increases feelings of satiety and fullness, Flanagan says.
Brain health is another reason people are flocking to MCT oil, and heres why. The brain prefers glucose as its fuel source. Because Alzheimers patients show reduced glucose metabolism in the brain, ketones, which are molecules produced when the liver breaks down large amounts of fat, can act as an alternative fuel source for the brain, Flanagan says.
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Can Mcts Help With Weight Loss
Its been claimed that MCTs can help aid weight loss by increasing fullness and how many calories you burn. Theyre also almost 10% lower in calories than LCTs. But research focusing on MCTs as a weight loss aid is very mixed.
Some studies show that it might help aid weight loss, with the biggest benefit seen in men and people who started with a high amount of body fat. But even in these cases, the effects tended to be quite modest. Other studies show no effect.
Many of these studies involve small sample sizes. And some havent accounted for other important factors, like how much you exercise or how many calories you eat which hugely influence weight loss.
So, in a nutshell, more research is needed before any recommendations can be made about using MCTs to aid weight loss.
MCTs have been used for years to help treat malnutrition and conditions that cause food absorption issues, like:
- coeliac disease
- liver disease
- gallbladder disease
MCTs are sometimes used in the treatment of childhood epilepsy taken as part of a ketogenic diet.
Brain functionIf you have Alzheimers disease, it can affect your brains ability to use sugar as an energy source. With MCTs, it offers your brain an alternative energy source, ketones. So some research shows that it might help protect your brain in the early stages of Alzheimers disease. But these benefits only seem to be found in people with the APOE e4 gene variant.
Adding Mct Oil To Your Diet
If you decide to add MCT oil to your diet, use it sparingly. Excessive consumption could not only lead to high cholesterol but also weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, Flanagan says.
How much is too much, though? The American Heart Association suggests that saturated fat intake be no more than five to six percent of your total daily calories, Flanagan says. If youre eating 2,000 calories, thats 120 saturated fat calories per day. Others, though, recommend that the upper level of saturated fat intake should be 10 percent of total calories.
Regardless, you need to keep saturated fat in your diet as low as possible, and if you want to consume MCT oil, youll need to cut back on other sources of saturated fat, Flanagan says, adding that you should monitor your cholesterol levels while taking it. Each tablespoon of MCT oil contains seven grams of saturated fat , and on a 2,000-calorie diet, thats just a small amount more than three tablespoons to reach that 10 percent limit.
If theres anything that should stick with you about MCT oil, its this. Will it hurt you? Probably not, unless youre taking too much, Wooten says. But based on scientific research, you dont need it to be healthy.
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No Coconut Oil Is Not Good For You
Coconut oil contains around 90% saturated fat, which is much more than the 64% saturated fat content found in butter.
Eating too much saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Coconut oil is also known to raise cholesterol levels more than other plant-based oils like olive oil or sesame oil.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and become liquid when melted. “Think of it as going into your body as a liquid and then turning to that solid in your arteries,” says Colleen Christenson, a registered dietitian and nutritionist. “This is essentially the basis for why it’s recommended to avoid excessive saturated fat intakes.”
Coconut oil is also a high-calorie food, meaning if you don’t consume it in moderation it could cause weight gain. Fats contain nine calories per gram, which is much higher than the ratio found in carbs or protein, which both contain four calories per gram.
Flaxseed Health Benefits Can Flaxseed Help Your Blood Sugars
I just love flaxseed, and one I supplement with daily. Flaxseed has an amazing amount of benefits to help promote overall health. In saying that, how can one find flaxseed? What actual benefits does organic flaxseed provide? Can it help prevent your blood sugars from spiking? For that and much, much more, continue reading!
Flaxseed oil is an excellent supplement that supports the bodys vital systems. It is rich in the omega-3 essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. Although omega-3s are crucial to human health, they are not manufactured by the body, so its important to get a steady supply through dietary sources and supplements.
There are two types of essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6. Most Americans get enough omega-6fatty acids from dietary sources such as meat, eggs and dairy. Omega-3s are necessary for growth, heart health and brain function, but many of us do not get enough of them from dietary sources. MayoClinic.com reports that multiple studies have shown that omega-3 supplements may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
These supplements have also been studied as a treatment for depression and other mental illnesses, Alzheimers disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, ADHD, osteoporosis, and even cancer prevention.
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Healthier Alternatives To Coconut Oil
Consuming moderate amounts of healthy oils is good for you because they contain essential fatty acids that your body can’t make on its own. There are three types of fats in plant-based oils:
- Monounsaturated fats, which are the “good” kinds of fat that can reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
- Polyunsaturated fats, which also help lower LDL cholesterol levels. These fats include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are essential for your body to function.
- Saturated fats, which are the worst for your health. For this reason, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming less than 10% of your daily calories from saturated fats.
To choose the healthiest cooking oil, opt for those with high amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and low amounts of saturated fat. Some examples of plant-based alternatives for coconut oil include:
Canola oil: This oil contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which can help lower cholesterol and ease inflammation. Canola oil has 62% monounsaturated fat, 32% polyunsaturated fat, and 6% saturated fat.
Extra virgin olive oil: This fat has a high concentration of polyphenols. Polyphenols are naturally occurring antioxidants known to reduce and slow the progression of certain chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular or neurodegenerative diseases. Olive oil contains 77% monounsaturated fat, 9% polyunsaturated fat, and 14% saturated fat.
Mct Oil And Brain Health
While I, and many others, experience a noticeable cognitive boost from supplementing with MCTs, what about the medical literature? Are there studies which back up this effect?
I couldnt find many .
There is this study which looked at the ability of MCT oil to increase ketones levels in the brain of Alzheimers patients as a way to make up for impaired glucose metabolism.
The study found that MCT use doubled consumption of ketones in the brains of Alzheimers patients. For more on Alzheimers and diet, see this blog post.
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