According to a new wave of diet books, the latest weight loss aid will leave you feeling as though you were on a tropical island. That’s because the centerpiece of these new diet plans is pure coconut oil, once considered a “bad fat.”
Although The Coconut Oil Miracle (Avery 2004), Eat Fat, Lose Fat (Hudson Street Press 2004) and The Coconut Diet (Warner Books 2005) are competing for your attention, they all agree on one thing: By substituting coconut oil for other vegetable oils in your diet, you will effortlessly drop pounds.
All three books make the case that because the coconut-eating peoples of the South Pacific enjoyed low rates of heart disease over a long period of time, so will modern-day dieters. The authors also claim that the healthful and slimming properties of coconut oil are due to high amounts of substances called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are metabolized more quickly than substances in other oils.
However, nutrition experts are quick to point out that people today have an entirely different lifestyle and diet than native Pacific Islanders. Moreover, while MCTs do provide a slight metabolic boost, it is not enough to make up for the fact that the saturated fat in coconut oil is still linked to increased levels of LDL cholesterol.