Originally Answered: Raw food question, Coconut butter bad or good for you?
I am in my ninth year as a rawfoodist, and there was a time when I would have agreed with both of the previous answers. But not anymore. I started out with this idea that since things like coco butter have the "good" fat, that we should eat LOTS of it.
But I have since seen the fallacy in this. It happened when I attended a raw food event featuring Doug Graham as a speaker. I went into this with David Wolfe having been my primary "guru" of choice. Yike. Scary to think of that now...
Anyway, this guy Doug was saying some stuff that was VERY different from what the mainstream raw food leaders say. He was NOT touting chlorophyll, sea salt, blue-green algae, avocados, spirulina, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, goji berries, raw cacoa(give me a break), fermented foods, liquid aminos, sprouts, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, "super foods", or even juicing.
Wow. What a weirdo. Every raw foodist knows that those things on that list are where it's at, RIGHT? And he was even so bold as to say that bananas are GOOD. Omigosh, that just went against everything I had been taught. I could have just written him off at that point, but here's the thing...
He was very smart, impeccably logical in his explanations, with decades of first-hand research, having a background as a trainer of pro-athletes, including some record-holders. He had also controlled and monitored their diets, and had seen the results. He was also a 25+ year rawfoodist himself, and at about age 50, was the best athlete around. And he was very down to earth, and very scientific in his approach.
There was no way I could not give him credibility.
Well...without writing a whole novel here, basically the point in regard to your question is that most people, especially rawfoodists eat waaay too much fat. And it is highly detrimental to one's health over time. It also greatly inhibits athletic performance. Doug calculated that the avg. American eats 40% cals from fat, avg. vegetarian 40% cals from fat, avg. vegan 40% cals from fat, avg. rawfoodist...wanna guess? 65% cals from fat! That's huge. And it's not a good thing.
Athletically, consuming about 4-5% fat is optimal(which just happens to be what is found in most fruits), and thru decades of testing, he found that 10% seems to be the upper-cutoff, above which, all aspects of health and performance began to diminish. And the farther above 10%, the worse the deterioration.
See here's the thing. As vegetarians, many of us(still sadly not all) are aware that our protein needs are highly exaggerated. And not only that, but also, TOO MUCH of it is actually BAD for you. And most Americans are actually at that toxic level of having too much, and yet are still worried about making sure they have lots of it in their diet, when it is virtually impossible to have a deficiency of it unless you are starving yourself.
Well the exact same thing is true of fat. You could take that entire paragraph above and replace the word protein with the word fat, and it would work. Yes...we need a certain amount of it(again, same with protein). A certain amount is necessary. But that amount is low. That's all there is to it. It's low. Not high. And high is bad for us.
I am not saying ZERO. I am saying low. We are not a high-fat, high-protein critter, like bears. We are primates. And what do they eat? Lots of fruits and chutes. Not lots of fat. And yes, UNsaturated fat is the kind we want, and no, I am not worried about it giving you cholesterol(it's not about cholesterol), but again, we don't need it in excessive amounts. And we already have enough simply from eating fruits.
When you eat overt fat sources like nut butters, olive oil, avocados, etc. it takes surprisingly little of it to put you up into that 10+% range, where things start getting worse. There is a fallacy in thinking, "I know that nutrient X is necessary, so therefore I will eat lots and lots and lots and lots of it." And that is the trap that most people(myself included) have fallen into.
Look I could go on forever about how fat blocks your body's ability to absorb oxygen and sugar into the blood cells, about how high-fat consumption is the true cause of diabetes, and on and on and on. But I think that would be way too much for this space.
Basically, if you want to know about all the science and the research...I think the best thing to do would just be to get his newest BOOK, "The 80/10/10 Diet". That really lays out everything that I gleaned over going to numerous events to hear him speak and ask him questions. You can find it on livingnutrition.com It will really put questions like this one to bed for you.
Let me just close by saying that I have personally been doing raw the low-fat way for about the last 4-5 years. I did it high fat raw at first, then after hearing Doug, I traded in my avocados for bananas and tried low fat raw. And of course, there was a back-and-forth transition period(that was the time to REALLY be able to make direct comparisons). Let me tell you, it really works!
I thought I was so healthy when I first went raw. But it was nothing compared to Low-fat raw. And I have met others who do the same at Doug's events, and have FINALLY found where all the HEALTHY-LOOKING raw foodists have been hiding. Ever notice that they are hard to find??? It's because most of them are making a lot of mistakes(and not just the fat). You really should check out Doug's book. Again, there are many other factors besides high/low fat that you should know about. I have found it to be better than all my other raw books combined.
I'll tell you flat out, low-fat rawfoodists tend to be much healthier. I have seen this so consistently. I no longer believe things like "if you're raw, you're good." There is so much more to it. I now know that that comes from bad teaching by uninformed inexperienced gurus who say what they think is true, rather than what they know is true. And that is the majority of who is out there. Sorry if that sounds cynical. But I have found it to be true, and I do want to be honest and helpful. Well...you said you wanted insight, so there you go!
Hope this is a good start. Good luck!