Fats from coconut oil better utilised by the body than dairy fats, study says

Coconut, interior view

Saturated fats in virgin coconut oil are utilised much better by the body as a fuel than saturated fats found in dairy products, according to new research.

The research, by MSc student Craig Scott, suggests that small quantities of the tropical oil enhance the removal of fats in the blood, a protective mechanism against cardiovascular disease.

Utilised better by the body

The research highlighted that consuming coconut oil one hour before moderate exercise significantly reduced the level of fats in the blood compared with a control group consuming dairy products.

Researchers did three trials. Volunteers in one group were given shakes made of dairy products and the second group were given shakes made of virgin coconut oil. Both shakes contained similar levels of unsaturated fat, and both of these groups did moderate exercise. The third group – the control group – had a dairy shake but did no exercise.

Researchers found that the drinks raised the levels of fats in the blood and that exercise lowered this level.

However the fat levels after exercise were 34% lower among the coconut oil group, significantly lower than the 18% drop in fat levels among the dairy group.

Energy boosting

Coconut oil is structured with medium chain saturated fats, also known as medium chain triglycerides. The research suggests this make-up of these saturated fats speed up the metabolism process.

The fatty acids in coconut oil are shorter and more water-soluble than those in dairy products. They are more directly routed to the liver, where they are readily burned for fuel. As such, they have less opportunity to be deposited in fat stores.

The study was supported by coconut oil producer Coconoil.

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