Why Coconut Oil May Be Secretly Sabotaging Your Fat Burning Efforts
Coconut oil is the nutritional darling of best-selling books, social media and DIY blogs.
Everyone has picked their favorite of the “101 ways to love coconut oil” and has maybe even revolutionized their personal care and beauty routines.
Coconut oil is a wonder for weight loss. Though not an omega fat, it does contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that rev up your metabolism and improve thyroid function.
MCTs are absorbed in the small intestine and ushered directly to the liver. This gives coconut oil the potential to reduce cellulite, because unlike other fats it does not have to travel through the lymphatic system creating blockages and unsightly dimpling of the skin.
While coconut certainly does have its place in health, weight loss, nutrition and beauty, I’m here to tell you that coconut oil may not be for everyone.
Now, please don’t shoot the messenger— I love coconut oil as much as anyone else!
But if you have children, or follow a blood type, paleo or other low carb diet, you’ll want to keep reading…
The Probiotic Conundrum
Coconut oil is also highly praised for its antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antiparasitic properties. In fact, I recommend it to my clients who are struggling with H. pylori, the bacteria that causes ulcers.
Research published in the Journal of Medical Food shows that coconut oil is also 100% effective in killing drug-resistant strains of Candida albicans.
So this is all good news, right? Yes, unless of course you do not have a yeast or pathogenic bacteria overgrowth.
When no pathogens are present, those strong antibacterial qualities of coconut oil can actually impair your normal flora—leaving your natural immune defense in disrepair. A lack of good bacteria can even lead to poor digestion and nutrient utilization.
If you are a healthy individual using coconut oil for weight loss or to supplement your diet, I strongly recommend that you fortify your probiotic population by eating more fermented foods and taking Flora-Key probiotic powder.
Blood Type Troubles
Lectins are protein antigens that bind to the surface of our red blood cells and cause agglutination and cell destruction, leading to a cascade of health problems ranging from poor digestion and nutrient deficiencies to immune system exhaustion.
Different lectins create problems for each ABO blood type. Coconut oil, unfortunately, has lectins that particularly affect A and O blood types negatively.
The lauric acid in coconut oil is a detergent, which is of course why you’ll see “natural” soaps made with coconut oil. Taken internally, however, the detergent property disrupts the surface tension of your cells, which has the potential to impair cell communication. This can lead to irritation of the gut and increased susceptibility to leaky gut syndrome.
Ketones are the byproduct of burning fat for energy. One goal of nearly every low carb diet is to enter into a ketogenic state, which means you are burning fat for energy rather than glucose.
People following primal, paleo or other ancestral diets will likely be in a long term ketogenic state. This is great up to a certain point. However, our kidneys can become overwhelmed by the removal of ketones.
The trouble with using coconut oil for weight loss in this equation is that it increases the liver’s production of ketones, which can potentially lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Symptoms of DKA include elevated blood glucose, confusion, abdominal pain, excessive thirst and frequent urination.
Traditional cultures that rely heavily on coconut oil for energy have complimentary starchy vegetables and fruits in their diet that prevent ketoacidosis and hyperglycemia, unlike the primal paleo or ancestral based diets of today.
If you’re giving your children coconut oil as part of a diet to help manage ADHD, you may want to do some extra investigation into salicylates, which have been known to increase symptoms of hyperactivity and difficulty focusing.
Coconut oil is a food that is one of the highest sources of salicylates. Salicylates are defensive chemicals inherent in plant based foods that are supposed to protect plant species from being wiped out by insects and animals.
We are all susceptible to the toxic effects of salicylates in large amounts, but most people are not bothered by moderate and even above average consumption. Some, however, are quite sensitive to even small amounts of salicylates.
For sensitive individuals, even seemingly negligible amounts of coconut oil used for weight loss or wellness can contribute to reactions ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to acne, bedwetting, restless leg syndrome, tinnitus, tics, sties, hyperactivity, headaches, anxiety, hallucinations, weepiness, blurred vision, fidgeting, bad breath, body odor, and even constant hunger!
So, as you can see, coconut oil for weight loss is potentially wonderful for many individuals, but not everyone.
Enjoy your coconut with all the above factors in mind. If you or your child have been taking advantage of this superfood and are experiencing symptoms like IBS, blood sugar abnormalities, increased hyperactivity or anxiety—it might be time for an oil change!