Let me start off by saying that this is one of the most interesting blogs I’ve written and researched. One of the many things I like about my job is that, as a by-product of educating patients, I get to learn new things myself. This is certainly an example. I hope I didn’t over-complicate the issue, but as you’ll see, it’s a bit confusing. The thing to keep in mind is that you won’t be consuming either of these oils in mass quantities, so don’t get too tangled up in the details. Six to one, half dozen to the other…
This is a question I’ve been getting quite frequently lately, not only in regard to using coconut oil as a cooking oil while on your HCG diet, but also in regard to Oil Pulling. What is Oil Pulling? That’s another question I had to ask myself. When a patient first mentioned oil pulling I had no idea what she was talking about. I do my best to keep with the the latest health and wellness trends, but this one had escaped me, entirely. So, I did what all good physicians do… I asked Dr. Google.
I learned that oil pulling is a form of oral detoxing – It’s when you swish and/or gargle with Coconut Oil ( or other oil substitute) for 2-3 minutes then you void the oil by spitting into the trash. My next question was, WHY..? I’ll save the details of Oil Pulling for a later blog, but the consensus among the literature is that the oil draws microbes to it like a magnet. By swishing or “pulling” the coconut oil through your teeth and gums, the bacteria and microbes that are hiding within are drawn out and ultimately voided into the trash. Many report whiter teeth and healthier gums. Some even report softer hair and a better complexion, although there is nothing in the literature to support this. Most dentists recommend it as an supplement to your oral healthcare, but by no means a replacement. I’m yet to try it, but it’s on my to-do list. For an even more thorough article on Oil Pulling, visit Health Ambition.
I also get many questions regarding coconut oil as a cooking substitute while on your HCG diet. Being from land-locked St. Louis, I didn’t even know how to classify a coconut. I’ve always considered it a fruit, but it’s hard to overlook the “nut” part in it’s name, so I was curious. According the the Library of Congress’ website, a coconut is a “fibrous one-seeded drupe, also know as a ‘dry drupe.'” That’s about as clear as mud, right? In a “nutshell,” a coconut has properties of a fruit, a seed and a nut.
Now, without over-complicating and/or over-classifying things, the real question that HCG dieters want answered is which is better for my HCG diet, coconut oil or MCT oil? To answer this we should first define MCT oil. MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglyceride. A triglyceride is also know as a fatty acid. The “medium” refers to the number of carbon atoms within the chain. Any fatty acid (triglyceride) containing between 6 an 12 carbon atoms is considered a medium chain triglyceride. There are a total of 4 MCTs. They’re all listed below:
C6 – Caproic Acid
C8 – Caprylic Acid
C10 – Capric Acid
C12 – Lauric Acid
The difference between long-chain fatty acids and medium chain fatty acids is that MCTs are immediately broken down and used as energy while the long chain fatty acids tend be stored as fat. To further explain; Each of the above is an MCT oil. There are no oils in nature that are purely MCT oils, so to make a pure MCT oil, it must be refined from other oils. All of these MCT oils are regarded to have tremendous health and healing properties, but the most widely researched is Lauric Acid, which makes up more than 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil. The remaining fatty acids are a combination of long-chain fatty acids and the remaining MCT oils. It contains about 40% long-chain fatty acids and about 60% MCTs with lauric acid as the large majority.
How the body uses Lauric Acid?
When lauric acid is present in the human body, it’s immediately converted into a monoglyceride called monolaurin. Monolaurin has been shown to exhibit amazing antimicrobial properties by disrupting the lipid membrane of microbes like fungus, bacteria and viruses – thus destroying them. Monolaurin is used to treat fungal infections such as ringworm and candida albicans. It’s used to treat viral infections such such as measles, influenza, Hep C and even HIV. It’s also completely non-toxic which gives it distinct advantages over our current pharmaceuticals that are commonly used to treat fungal infections, bacterial infections and viruses.
Something else I found fascinating – the ONLY other natural source of Lauric Acid is found in… breast milk! That absolutely blew my mind. Not only is there a lot of TLC in breast milk, it’s a precise mixture of proteins, healthy fats (like lauric acid), vitamins, hormones, immune support factors and everything else a defenseless infant needs to survive in the real world. That alone is reason enough to choose coconut oil over MCT oil and a reason I’ll be adding it to my diet. Other reasons to choose coconut oil over MCT oil…
Coconut oil is from a natural source and non-refined.
It has the highest concentrations of Lauric Acid at concentration of over 50%. The next closest concentrations of Lauric Acid found in nature is in human breast milk with concentration of only 6-10%. If it’s in breast milk, it’s good for you.
Although coconut oil is not made up entirely of MCTs, it’s more than 60% MCTs, which is enough to provide the same weight loss properties as MCT oil. The weight loss properties in MCTs aren’t derived from the MCTs themselves, but rather exposing the body to a variety of fats. Clinical studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (you can also find this in my book) suggest that small changes in the quality of fat intake can be useful to enhance weight loss.
Dr. Z’s HCG blog
To sum up – It’s important to remember that if either of these oils are consumed in appropriate moderation while on the low calorie phase of our HCG Diet, it unlikely that either will have a negative impact on your weight loss. However, given the health benefits of lauric acid found in coconut oil, I would choose Coconut Oil in lieu of MCT oil for the low calorie phase.
A follow-up: Research is always changing. It’s hard to keep up, in fact. For more on MCT oil and read my current blog on how MCTs and Coconut Oil can actually FUEL ketosis and weight loss.
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