Commentary: Blood sugar and coconut oil

Commentary: Blood sugar and coconut oil
October 19
01:00 2017

By Elisha Covington

Coconut oil is wonderful and it is a staple in my household.

For years, coconut oil has been erroneously associated as being bad for your health because of the saturated fats. However, because it is an unprocessed saturated fat, it is a super important part of a healthy diet and it should be consumed regularly.

Fats are not all created equal and saturated fats cannot all be grouped together. The major distinction because “good” saturated fats and “bad” saturated fats is that the latter has been manipulated by man and results in a hydrogenated fat. When a fat goes through hydrogenation, it means that the oil is heated and hydrogen atoms are added to produce a thickened, rancid oil. This is done to allow processed foods to have a longer shelf life. These manipulated saturated fats are what we call trans fats.

Trans fat consumption leads to negative consequences like obesity, elevated cholesterol, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other diseases and disorders. Hydrogenated oils of any kind should always be avoided because they are directly connected to clogged arteries. These oils are commonly found in margarine, fried foods, ready-to-use dough, coffee creamers, packaged snacks & baked goods, to name a few.

When saturated fats are left alone and are not manipulated, they yield a wealth of healthy benefits to the body. They are extremely heart-friendly and are a necessary part of a healthy life. Coconut oil has a high fat concentration and is a great caloric energy source so it sustains the body much longer. It is considered a medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).

Coconut oil is one of nature’s richest source of MCTs. MCTs are sent directly to the liver and the body uses this as energy. Coconut oil, like simple carbohydrates, has the ability to quickly deliver energy throughout your body once consumed. However, coconut oil does not spike your blood sugar levels thus not spiking insulin levels in the bloodstream. When our blood sugars dip and it sends signals to our brain that we are hungry but many of us look for the wrong kinds of foods that send us into a cycle of blood sugar high peaks and low valleys. This cycle strains the pancreas. These foods are often cookies, crackers, and baked goods, which are simple carbohydrates and only satisfy the body for a short time.

At times, many of us experience low blood sugar and crankiness in the afternoons. A quick treat I often make at home is what I call a coconut honey melt (or fat bomb). Two simple ingredients: 1 cup of solid, raw, unrefined coconut oil and ¼ cup of raw, local honey. You can use less honey if desired, but I wouldn’t use more. The raw honey helps stabilize a dipping blood sugar and the satiating high fat content of the coconut oil prevents a blood sugar spike, so the two together creates a healthy, synergetic balance. Blend the two together, put into silicon molds or just spread the mixture into a flat dish, sit in the freezer for about 10 minutes, cut into small pieces, store in the refrigerator.

When we consume food in their natural, unaltered state like nature intended, we receive huge benefits. As always, talk with your health care provider about how incorporating coconut oil into your daily diet can help.

Elisha Covington is passionate about how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness.

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