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Old 06-13-2012, 04:57 AM   #1
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Thumbs down on coconut oil?

Surprise, surprise, surprise! (Gomer Pyle here)

I went to an acupuncturist for the first time and the first thing she told me was to get off the coconut oil; that it was affecting my pancreas. She's sees CO as a product generated by great marketing skills without the substantiated contribution to health. She stated she doesn't have any data to support her advice, just observations she's made in her clients' health over the past 20 years. So as of right now, I'm not taking any.
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:34 AM   #2
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Susan- I just thought I'd share that I agree that CO is a product of great marketing skills. Several years ago when I tried it, it elevated my LDL 50 points within 4 months. I know that because I am checked every 4 months by my endo, and I began it right after one of my visits.

At the next visit, when he noticed the rise in LDL, he asked if I'd made any 'dietary changes' recently, and I immediately thought of the CO. He told me to stop it immediately. Next visit, my LDL was back down those 50 points.

While I was using it, I noticed no special 'benefit,' and I'm happy with my EVOO.
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:07 AM   #3
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Thanks for sharing this, there is so much conflicting information out there. It can be difficult to determine what to believe.
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:25 AM   #4
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Various studies I have read seem to come down to: CO raises LDL in some people and lowers it in others. Based on the tests I had before I started eating it and while I was eating it, CO is completely cholesterol neutral for my bod.

The more I look into nutrition, the more I think we still need to learn about how it works. And the more important it becomes for each of us to learn about ourselves.
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:53 AM   #5
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Yes, coconut oil is now promoted as the holy grail by some natural foods proponents. It's not the holy grail--nothing is--but abundant scientific research does show that MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) have a host of benefits. I'm a scientist, and it makes me very frustrated to hear of nutritionists or acupuncturists telling people not to eat a particular food because they have a bad feeling about it. Anecdotal observations are not controlled scientific research. The pancreas issue is particularly bizarre, because coconut oil has been shown to decreases stress on the pancreas, largely because the metabolism of MCTs essentially bypasses the pancreas.


If you want a short overview of the scientific literature, read the chapter on MCTs in the Handbook of Functional Lipids: Handbook Of Functional Lipids - Casimir C. Akoh - Google Books

Obesity reduction and MCTs: Obesity - Medium-Chain Triglycerides Increase Energy Expenditure and Decrease Adiposity in Overweight Men

Another useful study: Medium-chain triglycerides increase energy expendit... [Obes Res. 2003] - PubMed - NCBI

More on obesity and MCTs: Medium-chain oil reduces fat mass and down-regulate... [Obes Res. 2003] - PubMed - NCBI

Zero harmful effect on the pancreas from MCTs:
Pancreatic response in healthy dogs fed diets o... [Am J Vet Res. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI
(this study was done on dogs because their pancreas is very susceptible to fats)

One of the major scientific reviews:
J Nutr. 2002 Mar;132(3):329-32.
Physiological effects of medium-chain triglycerides: potential agents in the prevention of obesity.
St-Onge MP, Jones PJ.
Source
School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada, H9X 3V9.
Abstract
Medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) are readily oxidized in the liver. Animal and human studies have shown that the fast rate of oxidation of MCFA leads to greater energy expenditure (EE). Most animal studies have also demonstrated that the greater EE with MCFA relative to long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) results in less body weight gain and decreased size of fat depots after several months of consumption. Furthermore, both animal and human trials suggest a greater satiating effect of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) compared with long-chain triglycerides (LCT). The aim of this review is to evaluate existing data describing the effects of MCT on EE and satiety and determine their potential efficacy as agents in the treatment of human obesity. Animal studies are summarized and human trials more systematically evaluated because the primary focus of this article is to examine the effects of MCT on human energy metabolism and satiety. Hormones including cholescytokinin, peptide YY, gastric inhibitory peptide, neurotensin and pancreatic polypeptide have been proposed to be involved in the mechanism by which MCT may induce satiety; however, the exact mechanisms have not been established. From the literature reviewed, we conclude that MCT increase energy expenditure, may result in faster satiety and facilitate weight control when included in the diet as a replacement for fats containing LCT.

Another recent study:

Metabolism. 2007 Jul;56(7):985-91.
Effects of dietary medium-chain triglyceride on weight loss and insulin sensitivity in a group of moderately overweight free-living type 2 diabetic Chinese subjects.
Han JR, Deng B, Sun J, Chen CG, Corkey BE, Kirkland JL, Ma J, Guo W.
Source
Department of Medicine, Obesity Research Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.
Abstract
Prior studies of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) suggest that MCT might be a useful tool for body fat mass management in obese nondiabetic humans. We now report a pilot study that tests if MCT is beneficial for moderately overweight subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The study was conducted in a group of 40 free-living subjects in an urban area of China. The subjects were randomized into 2 test groups, with one given MCT and the other corn oil as control for long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). The test oil (18 g/d) was administered as part of daily food intake for 90 days. All subjects completed the study with self-reported full compliance. Body weight, waist circumference (WC), and serum samples were analyzed on days 0, 45, and 90. The MCT group showed an across-time reduction in body weight and WC, an increase in serum C-peptide concentration, a reduction in homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, and a decrease in serum cholesterol concentration (P < .05, repeated measures). No significant across-time difference for the above parameters was detected for the LCT group. These changes were associated with an involuntary reduction in energy intake in the MCT group (P < .05, repeated measures). A between-group comparison also shows reduced body weight, WC, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance in the MCT group compared with the LCT group at the end of the study. Collectively, our results suggest a link between moderate consumption of MCT and improved risk factors in moderately overweight humans in a low-cost, free-living setting.

Last edited by tiva; 06-13-2012 at 06:57 AM..
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:55 AM   #6
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Thanks for sharing this, there is so much conflicting information out there. It can be difficult to determine what to believe.
Peer-reviewed research articles are key. Go to pubmed (the portal for peer-reviewed medical and nutritional research) and do a search. Focus on review articles that summarize the findings from multiple studies. Avoid studies funded by the industry that's being studied.
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:06 AM   #7
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Hi, Leo!

I don't know, guys. The books about coconut oil I've noticed lately on the shelves have 10 or 12 pages of references, so the science certainly seems to be there. They do all mention the big difference between organic/cold pressed coconut oil and refined, which is a different product that doesn't have the benefits - that's the only kind my silly grocery store carries, so when I want it I have to buy at the fresh-grocer's. I don't cook with EVOO.

I did a quick internet search about diets for pancreas health and the ones I saw either say specifically to use it or don't mention oils. I think coconut oil's well documented for heart health. The search for Pacific Islanders with heart disease pretty much fizzled decades ago, even though they were the group with the highest dietary use of coconut oil. If their markers were off, seems like the markers had nothing to do with the rest of their lives.

Editing to smile at myself for definitely not seeing tiva's posts before posting. LOL! I may be slightly less well-read!
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:40 AM   #8
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Thank you Tiva for the scientific references.

I read quite a bit on paleo blogs and so forth and saw this regarding raised LDL in very low carbers~

The Daily Lipid: The Central Role of Thyroid Hormone in Governing LDL Receptor Activity and the Risk of Heart Disease

Just wonder if it is a possiblity that it matters what you cook in EVCO??? For instance if you eat a lot of eggs or meats that could be the real reason behind the raise in LDL?
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:30 AM   #9
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Not for me--the CO was the ONLY dietary change I had made--and my LDL was stable for some years prior. I also only eat egg whites and more fish than meat.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:42 AM   #10
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Leo,

Did you have any thyroid issues at this time? Were your thyroid levels optimal? Just curious after reading the link that I posted.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:51 AM   #11
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Just goes to show we all need to be the manager of our personal health issues, eat for each individual body. And never treat any one food/herb/plan as a holy grail or panacea. There is no miracle pill (except in Princess Bride!) and I really hate that our media culture has us searching for one.
I'm no alchemist. Just a human with my individual issues working through to find solutions through my food choices and behaviors.
My body likes organic extra virgin coconut oil, but I don't take it like a drug or a mandatory supplement.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:04 AM   #12
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Thanks, Tiva. Thanks, Nancy.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:10 AM   #13
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It's also important to know the type of ldl, before you can make a judgement on 'good' or bad'. If the coconut oil was helping to make your ldl the good lighter, fluffier ldl, you very well might have seen a rise in that number. Denser ldl is the 'bad' kind. Not saying the change you saw wasn't real, but the raw number doesn't tell the whole story.

And then you would have to believe the hypothesis that cholesterol actually contributes to heart disease for it to really matter (the studies I've seen show unless it's over 300-350 or so, it isn't really the factor it's been make out to be). Your body makes about 85% of the cholesterol in it, and generally, dropping dietary cholesterol simply causes your body to make more to make up for it. Insulin is much more of a driving factor in inflammation that damages arteries, and fructose has a big impact on how many triglycerides are produced by the liver to metabolize and store it.

Do I think coconut oil is the be all end all? Absolutely not. But I do enjoy it. I don't use it even every day, but I do bake and cook with it. Considering I'm allergic to butter, and how bad for you vegetable oils are, and the fact that evoo is not even supposed to be heated, coconut oil seems to be the best option left for me.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:11 AM   #14
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Not for me--the CO was the ONLY dietary change I had made--and my LDL was stable for some years prior. I also only eat egg whites and more fish than meat.
can you share what kind of CO you were using? Was it an EVCO?

I agree that there's nothing out there that's good for EVERYONE, I'm just curious about the differences between unrefined and refined oils. Much of what I read doesn't specify when it comes to studies. And I don't think refined coconut oil is good for anyone.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:31 AM   #15
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But...but...but...coconut is one of the most important foods in dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of countries!!!!!

For centuries before "vegetable" oil came along, people probably used nothing but animal fat, coconut or palm oil, and olive oil (maybe nut & peanut oils?)

I shudder to think at all the death & disease that has been caused by First World countries telling everybody (but especially Third World countries) that their traditional lard, butter & coconut oil were bad, and that they should switch to soybean/corn/canola...but now coconut oil is all the trendy rage in the First World!!!

I wonder if it's better to eat the entire coconut than just the oil?
I remember a lady in the Caribbean making coconut rice for us...she broke open a fresh coconut, saved the water, grated the flesh into the pot she was going to use (to oil it), then blended the water & flesh together to make milk, put that in the rice...OMG!!! YUMMY!!!
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:08 PM   #16
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But...but...but...coconut is one of the most important foods in dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of countries!!!!!

...
I wonder if it's better to eat the entire coconut than just the oil?
Whole coconut is great, and coconut oil is great too. It may not work for a few people, but the scientific evidence is overwhelming that it's one of the healthiest oils on earth for most people.
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:08 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by mykidsteacher View Post
It's also important to know the type of ldl, before you can make a judgement on 'good' or bad'. If the coconut oil was helping to make your ldl the good lighter, fluffier ldl, you very well might have seen a rise in that number. Denser ldl is the 'bad' kind. Not saying the change you saw wasn't real, but the raw number doesn't tell the whole story.

And then you would have to believe the hypothesis that cholesterol actually contributes to heart disease for it to really matter (the studies I've seen show unless it's over 300-350 or so, it isn't really the factor it's been make out to be). Your body makes about 85% of the cholesterol in it, and generally, dropping dietary cholesterol simply causes your body to make more to make up for it. Insulin is much more of a driving factor in inflammation that damages arteries, and fructose has a big impact on how many triglycerides are produced by the liver to metabolize and store it.

Do I think coconut oil is the be all end all? Absolutely not. But I do enjoy it. I don't use it even every day, but I do bake and cook with it. Considering I'm allergic to butter, and how bad for you vegetable oils are, and the fact that evoo is not even supposed to be heated, coconut oil seems to be the best option left for me.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:33 PM   #18
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Just wish I could bear the taste, lol.

But seriously, this is another case where, as Lou so wisely says, "we all need to be the manager of our personal health issues, eat for each individual body".

Leo knows her stuff and if she says it upped her LDL, then it surely did. She would know the difference between good and bad etc, you can be certain.

But others seem to have great results with it.
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:00 PM   #19
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To respond to all the question, please know that I'm only reporting what happened to me; we all may have different responses, but others may not be getting their lipids checked as often as I do. I'm not saying that CO is 'bad,' only that it's 'bad' for me.

1. Yes, my thyroid was optimized at the time, and I was having no problems there. We were watching my LDL because it had gone up since I went undiagnosed for about 5 years, and untreated hypo will elevate LDL. It was slowly going down until this experience with CO.

2. I was using EVCO; I think the brand is Nutiva, and I bought it from Netrition.

3. I didn't use it to excess; I merely used it as my major fat source. I tend to eat moderate, not high, fat.

4. I've had a VAP test since then, and my LDL is 100% Pattern A (the large, fluffy kind), but this is important to note--both my endo and cardiologist say that the idea that this is 'good' LDL is a misunderstanding. It's not as bad as having the small, dense type, but the LDL number should always be below the lab range regardless of type. It's the HDL that can't be 'too high.' A higher LDL is never good, regardless of the type.

From my doctors' perspective (and several agree on this), any food that could so quickly elevate my LDL (fluffy or not) is something I should avoid.

As I mentioned, I didn't notice any 'benefits' that I was giving up. I was raised on olive oil (Italian heritage), and that's good enough for me.
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:16 PM   #20
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Thanks Leo, I am impressed with how well you have done. This info does cause me pause, since I have become quite enamored to eating it and also eat a lot of raw mac nuts. I admit that I don't eat EVCO daily, but probably cook in it pretty much daily. Nutiva is the same ECVO that I buy.

I will have my lipids checked for this now that you have mentioned it.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:45 PM   #21
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As I said, Sunday, this is just how my body reacted; you may be fine.
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:30 PM   #22
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Hey, All,

Appreciate your input.

Just for the record, I ate two to three tablespoons of the heavenly stuff almost every day (it was my favorite way to get my daily fat in!).
Looking forward to soon enjoying another bite.
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:17 PM   #23
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WOW!!!

I just got my CO - first time, been having a teaspoon or so every morning and it has worked super for my "bathroom issues".

I go every November for blood work so I will see how it goes for that! My doc told me that since my HDL was 98 that I had nothing to worry about, so

I also made scrambled eggs today with CO - nothing special to me or DH

I can taste the coconut in the oil, but would never think of eating it plain, maybe some brands taste better
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:47 PM   #24
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Well, this has been sort of bugging me all day. I know and believe that EVCO has many health benefits, but the fact remains -- it has been linked to raised cholesterol in both cases of Leo and Susan, who have had negative reports from their doctors. So, I googled "Scientific Research on EVCO and Raised Cholesterol" and weeded out the links that were definitely selling EVCO. I also went to the American Heart Association website and it has lots of info on heart healthiness and causes of high cholesterol. It is interesting that I could not find as much negative info as I was expecting to, but did want to add the links that were negative so we could see the science behind the bad/negative. The main factor that I learned about the risks of EVCO is that too much per day can be an issue, and especially for those who have other health limitations. Also, please feel free to add any other negative scientific or medical based reports on EVCO.

Health benefits...

COCONUT OIL: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings - WebMD

How to lower high cholesterol naturally without prescription drugs

Article 40: Coconut Oil by James South

Virgin Coconut Oil Halts Severe Dementia in 35 Days

Negative regarding EVCO & cholesterol...

Health Benefits Vs. Warnings of Coconut Oil | eHow.com

7 Causes of High Cholesterol - MSN Health & Fitness - Cholesterol

Coconut Oil and Heart Disease / Nutrition / Healthy Eating

Coconut Oil


The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of saturated fats you eat to less than 7 percent of total daily calories. That means, for example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 140 of them should come from saturated fats. That’s about 16 grams of saturated fats a day.

Saturated Fats

I will definitely slow down AND limit how much EVCO I ingest daily from now on.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:08 PM   #25
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I just had my lipids redone (they were done in Aug 2011 and total was a little high, with ldl above the lab range). Rechecked in Jan after losing 30 pounds, and no change. Eliminated allergy foods in Feb, and had them redrawn on Monday. Don't have the results yet, but I'm def curious to see if they improved. My inflammation markers dropped big time (had those rechecked a month after removing the offending foods).

But it won't be a test of coc oil, since I've been including that in my diet all this time.

I do think the lipid test can be a tool in seeing what's going on in your body. And agree Leo, that any food that affected you that much should not be part of your eating plan.

And I guess that's one thing that makes all the science and studies seem so conflicting at times. We are all different. I can't eat eggs or dairy--they cause chronic inflammation for me, give me gut issues, affect my adrenals, maybe elevate my cholesterol. But that doesn't make them bad foods. Just bad, for ME. Studies and research give trends and averages, but can't tell you anything specifically about how you personally will react to any given food/supplement/diet. And if you are intolerant/allergic to a food, it doesn't matter if it IS the be all, end all to great health, it won't be for you.

JUDDD is such a wonderful tool in helping to learn how foods affect you individually. I don't know if it's because you eat so little of it every other day, that it's distilled down to simpler parts, or if we eat simpler because of all the counting, and less variety just makes it easier, or why exactly it happens. But you see it over and over that people make discoveries about which foods trigger binges, or make them feel poorly, or give them great energy, etc.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:26 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by mykidsteacher View Post
I do think the lipid test can be a tool in seeing what's going on in your body. And agree Leo, that any food that affected you that much should not be part of your eating plan.

And I guess that's one thing that makes all the science and studies seem so conflicting at times. We are all different. I can't eat eggs or dairy--they cause chronic inflammation for me, give me gut issues, affect my adrenals, maybe elevate my cholesterol. But that doesn't make them bad foods. Just bad, for ME. Studies and research give trends and averages, but can't tell you anything specifically about how you personally will react to any given food/supplement/diet. And if you are intolerant/allergic to a food, it doesn't matter if it IS the be all, end all to great health, it won't be for you.

JUDDD is such a wonderful tool in helping to learn how foods affect you individually. I don't know if it's because you eat so little of it every other day, that it's distilled down to simpler parts, or if we eat simpler because of all the counting, and less variety just makes it easier, or why exactly it happens. But you see it over and over that people make discoveries about which foods trigger binges, or make them feel poorly, or give them great energy, etc.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:20 PM   #27
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I full heartedly agree with Tina!

It is so important to know that we can have too much of a good thing (EVCO) and some of us must not have it ever.
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:47 AM   #28
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This is a wonderful thread. I am one of those who goes bonkers when adding something new & tasty to my diet. After initial weight loss I began eating coconut bark & adding heavy cream to my coffee instead of half & half, just because I thought I could & wow all that flavor!! I did this for 6 months prior to lab work. My total cholesterol & ldl jumped tremendously. My weight also went up by 3 lbs. My previous labs had always been good irrespective of diet & weight.

That was one year ago. I cut way back on the coconut bark, went back to using half & half, managed slowly to lose 1lb I gained w/o intentional dieting. My diet otherwise has stayed the same. I am having blood work next week & will report back w/ results.
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Old 06-14-2012, 06:51 AM   #29
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Thank you for all that work, Sunday! You have been busy.

Just thought it might be interesting to mention that since the publication of that web article you cited on dementia, Dr. Newport has published a book, "Alzheimer's Disease: What If There Was a Cure?"
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:14 AM   #30
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Also, just in case anyone is interested in lowering cholesterol naturally, the Mayo Clinic listed the following supplements as good for lowering cholesterol.

Artichoke
Barley
Beta-sitosterol (found in oral supplements and some margarines, such as
Promise Activ)
Blond psyllium (found in seed husk and products such as Metamucil)
Garlic
Oat bran (found in oatmeal and whole oats)
Sitostanol (found in oral supplements and some margarines, such as Benecol)

I am interested to know if anyone here has used supplementation and successfully lowered their levels???
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