A member wrote me the following:
I’ve had a lot of constipation problems since eating mostly OSM – and I’ve found that using a tiny bit of oil my meals – sauteeing veggies, etc. I keep it at the 20% ratio at all times – and I’ve not had problems in the loo – fabulous!
My question is this – I keep hearing about ‘coconut oil’ – it’s in all my eating clean recipes and what not – and now I’ve been reading that you shouldn’t heat up olive oil any how – just wondering if anyone knows anything about this.
I did buy some extra virgin coconut oil at the health food store. $$$. Made a chicken stir fry with one teaspoon of it yesterday – WOW – delicious. Then I realized I had coconut oil in all of my soap making supplies…LOL….wondering if I could just use that to cook. It was a heck of a lot cheaper….
What are your thoughts?
HERE IS MY REPLY
Coconut oil is over 90% saturated while olive oil is monounsaturated mostly. I see a lot of alleged “paleo” eaters using a ton of coconut oil. Most of the time it’s just their way of bastardizing something that should be really clean eating – paleo. In other words “How can we make our foods taste just as fattening and rich as non-paleo foods to satisfy the inner two-year old? I know! Add coconut oil to EVERYTHING!”
Olive oil, being monounsaturated, should be fairly neutral to health if used in small quantities – it MAY have a positive impact on health as those who follow a Mediterranean diet would attest (frequent olive oil consumption).
Coconut oil, being over 90% saturated should be used sparingly in my opinion.
The USDA still says that our fats should be mostly poly- and mono-unsaturated. They recommend no more than 10% of fats from saturated.
“Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.”
I agree. And they also say that 5-6 teaspoons per day is all the total “oil” we need. A single Tablespoon of oil is 120 calories. So for the average woman wanting to lose weight that’s 10% of her calories allotted for the day in 1 Tablespoon of added oil. That would be oil from any source – not just oil you cook with or put on your salad like vinegar and oil. A Tablespoon, by the way, is 3 teaspoons. So your total oil per day should be no more than about 1-2 Tablespoons. The USDA says repeatedly too that we should reduce saturated fat, keep it low, over and over and over in their documentation. I agree.
For cooking I would recommend regular olive oil or canola oil over coconut oil. I’d recommend regular olive oil over extra virgin because it’s my understanding that regular olive oil has a higher “smoke point” temperature. The smoke point is the temp at which the oil smokes – makes sense. If the oil smokes we’ve changed its structure considerably and it may be worse for health at that point.
If you stick to a TOTAL of no more than 2 Tablespoons of oil from all sources per day I really think, in the end, that it’s not going to matter all that much if you use coconut or olive oil.
The problem with added oils is just how easy a “flick of the wrist” is to adding another 100-300 calories to your day. Measure, be careful, and let your results speak to you because they definitely speak FOR you.
In the end? No matter how sophisticated the strategy we should occasionally look at the results. I believe Churchill said that.
So if it becomes “Hey! I poop REALLY nice now! I haven’t lost weight in a month but man oh man I poop REALLY nice!” Well I’d say we’ve solved half the issue.
I wonder how you would do with your pooping if you skipped the added cooking oil and simply consumed a TRUE essential fat like fish or flax oil. We DO consume too many omega-6 fats and we do need more omega-3 fats. Salmon and flax are the number one sources for omega-3 fats. Unless your inner two-year old throws too much of a fit I’d recommend 1-2 Tablespoons of fish or flax oil per day or a combo. You’ll be getting truly ESSENTIAL omega-3 fats and you might also solve your poop issue.
A member wrote me the following: