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Is Coconut Oil the New Olive Oil?

HAs a common component in the currently popular Paleo Diet, Coconut Oil has been getting a lot of attention lately. Because of its varying properties to Olive and Vegetable oil, it’s been given a lot of recognition as ‘the better’ option for cooking with. But, are there any side effects? Any other properties that may not be good for your health?

Olive Oil is currently leading the race as the top oil, both raw and cooked. Because of its fantastic flavor, lower amount of saturated fat (the bad stuff) and increased amount of mono-unsaturated fat (the good stuff), it’s long been known as a better option than traditional vegetable or canola oils. But, olive oil may have finally met some real competition in Coconut Oil. You see, when you consume most oils, you’re body treats them as a fat and stores them as such. But, Coconut Oil metabolizes to Ketone bodies, which are used for fuel; more similar to the way your body reacts to a carb. So, the potential energy benefits are part of what’s making coconut oil gain in popularity. The drawback is that coconut oil is 92% saturated fat, giving it a much higher saturated fat content than olive oil.

Our conclusion: Coconut oil is great for your skin, energy and many other parts of your body. It’s also proven that coconut oil is more heat stable for cooking. Where your olive oil will turn rancid when it reaches a certain temperature, coconut oil will maintain its flavor and freshness at higher temperatures. However, the long term health benefits and risks, including the risk to your heart because of the saturated fat content are still yet to be determined. So, we’re not quite ready to make the switch. Who knows what time will tell though!

Interested in learning more about trans fats or mono/polyunsaturated fats? Or, looking to teach your clients more about these nutrients? Click on the names above to view our educational tear pads that will clear up any confusion about fat and how it’s used in the body.

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Is the Paleo Diet Worth all the Hype?

If you’re clued in to the fad diet scene at all, you’ve probably heard of the newest entry in to the market, the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet is also known as the caveman diet. Simply speaking, the idea of the Paleo Diet is to consume only foods that our caveman ancestors would have consumes because our bodies are most equipped to process these foods. For an in-depth overview of the diet, you can visit the Greatist website.

Just as with any new diet that comes along claiming to fix the world’s obesity epidemic, the Paleo Diet makes us want to research some of the details and weigh out the pros and the cons. So, we did! Here’s what we came up with.

Pros:

  • Weight Loss: The Paleo Diet has produced many great examples proving that weight loss is definitely a benefit of the diet.
  • Healthy Choices: By participating in the Paleo Diet, people are more likely to make healthier decisions when choosing their foods, especially when it comes to fats, carbs, calories, etc.

Cons:

  • Sustainability: Due to the rigid structure of allowed foods, the likelihood of the average person maintaining this diet is slim.
  • Variety: Again, because this diet is so strict, participants will lose a lot of their food variety. Not only can that be boring and hard to stick with, it also increases the likelihood that they will miss out on important key nutrients found in foods that aren’t allowed.
  • Dairy Deficit: This diet completely removes dairy from your diet. Dairy is one of the biggest sources of calcium and Vitamin D in our diets. Although there are other ways to get these important nutrients, it will be a culture shock for most to continue to get these nutrients without consuming any dairy products.

The bottom line is that there is still a lot of research that needs to be done in order to determine the long term health risks and benefits to the Paleo Diet. This diet seems eerily similar to the Atkins Diet, and we all know where that went! According to NCES dietitian, Carrie Mark, “My main concern is the long term sustainability for a diet such as this one. Sure, people will lose weight because they are focusing on making healthier food choices. But, will they be able to maintain the diet and their weight loss long-term? I don’t know.”

What do you think? Have you seen any other pros or cons not listed here. Our list is brief because there is still a lot of research to be done. But, we look forward to seeing where this diet goes in the future. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the Paleo Diet right here on the NCES blog. Or, visit us on Facebook to share your thoughts.

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