The Coconut Diet Review
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When I got this book, I figured I’d try the diet to see if it really worked. Easier said than done. I had every intention of doing so, and maybe I would have, if the book hadn’t been written like a sales pitch. Phrases like “best-kept secret,” “secret ingredient,” “without much effort,” “Now does that sound difficult? Of course not!” and “With the Coconut Diet, you should start looking younger and trimmer—and feeling better—in no time at all” put me on alert. If this is a good diet, tell me why it’s a good diet and how to do it and save me the schmooze.

The book touts coconut oil as the “secret ingredient” that helps you lose weight. I have a problem with the use of the term “secret ingredient” relative to a diet—or relative to anything, for that matter. Why is it a secret—especially if you’re going to write a book about it?

The authors, one a nutritionist and the other a behavioral medicine specialist, organizational development consultant, and Eastern Orthodox priest, believe that coconut oil—a saturated fat—has gotten a bad rap. Coconut oil, the authors say, is a healthy fat. The book explains about the chain of molecules that make up the fat of coconut oil and how these fatty acids burn up quickly in the body, “a lot like adding kindling to a fire, rather than a big damp log.”

The basis for the diet is pretty much this: coconut is a dietary staple in the tropics, and, prior to World War II and the introduction of food processing, people in countries such as the Philippines were rarely sick or overweight because their diet consisted mainly of rice, coconuts, vegetables, root crops (especially garlic and ginger), herbs, and meat that was raised locally. The rice was ground by hand, leaving the beneficial nutrients of the grain in tact. Coconut and coconut oil were used daily.

Because the people in the rural areas of the tropics could not afford medicine, they used local herbs and coconut oil to treat sickness. And while they may have visited the doctor to get a wound treated or because of “common” tropical diseases such as malaria, dengue, and diarrhea, they were not seeing the doctor for diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or thyroid problems.

This diet is pretty much South Beach—with coconut oil. It works in phases.

Phase I is a 21-day “fast track,” where you should lose 10 or more pounds “without much effort” by consuming two to three tablespoons of virgin coconut oil every day, eating lean proteins and vegetables, and drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day.

Phase II is a cleansing phase. It’s not a mandatory part of the diet, but if you're looking to get rid of that cellulite and give your colon a big old cleansing, you might want to consider it.

Phase III is the introduction of healthy carbs: whole grains, potatoes, squash, fruit, and healthy desserts, with a “typical” weight loss of one to two pounds per week until you reach your goal.

Phase IV is maintenance. By this time, you’ll be in the habit of choosing the right healthy carbs and thus will be able to add more to your diet. And not to worry—if you binge on junk food, you can schedule a vegetable-juice cleansing day.

Exercise is not a specific element of the diet, but it helps.

The book contains several recipes that look pretty good, but you might have a hard time finding some of the ingredients. You can check health food stores or the Tropical Traditions web site.

I did some research and couldn’t find a whole lot about coconut oil and its benefits, other than writings from the same few people, including the authors. I think it would be great if this diet works, and if I didn’t have high cholesterol, I’d be right on it. And I’m not writing it off just yet. I’m bringing the book with me to my next doctor’s visit, and I’m going to ask my doctor what he thinks. Maybe you should, too.

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