Coconut Oil is a Good Fat
Interview with Dr. Bruce Fife
Interviewed by Raena Morgan
January 20, 2009
Raena Morgan: Bruce, when people hear coconut oil, they think saturated fat, right?
Dr. Bruce Fife: Right.
RM: All saturated fats are not bad for us, but coconut oil got a bad reputation. How did that happen?
BF: Unfortunately, because coconut oil is high in saturated fat, it has received an undeserved bad reputation. The problem is that although coconut oil does have a high percentage of saturated fat, it’s a different type of saturated fat. It is unlike the saturated fat in meats and other vegetable oils. It’s actually a healthy saturated fat that reduces risk of heart disease and has many health benefits to it.
RM: What is the difference? I mean, if you’re talking about olive oil or any of the polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats. What is the difference?
BF: Well, basically, the difference is in the fat molecule itself. All fats and oils are composed of fat molecules known as fatty acids. And you can classify the fatty acids into three categories, depending on their size. So, you have short chain fatty acids, medium chain fatty acids and long chain fatty acids. And the vast majority of the fatty acids in our diet come from long chain fatty acids. And I would say that maybe 95 to 100% of the fats in your diet, in our diet, are composed of long chain fatty acids. But the fats in coconut oil are composed predominantly of medium chain fatty acids. And the way the body processes these fatty acids are different. And it depends on the length of the chain. So, the physiological effects of the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are very different from the long chain fatty acids in meat and vegetable oils.