But nutritionists gave the regimen a cool reception.
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The diet has been around for some time, but new books about the magic of coconut oil have renewed interest. The Coconut Diet and Eat Fat, Lose Fat were both slated for January publication. And Vogue magazine weighs in on the subject this month.
The questions are: Is it good-bye Atkins and South Beach? Is coconut oil on the path to becoming the latest diet fad? Maybe not.
The promises are not unlike those of some other recent obsessions. Substitute coconut oil for vegetable oils. Watch calories and you'll lose weight, develop good skin and boost your energy level.
The truth is, when a Vogue writer, Elizabeth Horton, did some investigating, she didn't find much support for the diet among nutritionists she consulted. The oil is high in saturated fat, which tends to raise cholesterol.
The oil does contain MCTs, which are billed as "fast-burning fats." And MCTs put less fat on study subjects than other oils. However, there is no evidence they lead to weight loss, James O. Hill, co-founder of the National Weight Control Register, said.
The coconut advocates argue that Pacific islanders had good teeth, skin, hearts and flat abs when they followed traditional diets. Nutritionists counter that they lived in a different world with different issues.
The discussion is just heating up. Meanwhile, rethink the coconut-cream pie if you're concerned about weight.