Is Coconut Oil Bad For You?
It seems like everyone is talking about coconut oil these days. Why? Because the American Heart Association (AHA) released an article claiming that coconut oil may not be as healthy as we thought. I recently researched coconut oil for a paper I wrote for school. What a coincidence!
Coconut oil has always been a saturated fat. Studies have claimed that saturated fat causes heart disease, but more recent studies proved otherwise. Saturated fats are typically found in animal products, such as fatty meats, cheese, dairy, and butter. However, coconut oil is also a saturated fat. I think this is why all saturated fats have been deemed as unhealthy, because cheese and burgers are unhealthy.
Milk contains saturated fat. I don’t know why the AHA chose to talk about coconut oil versus dairy as being a cause for heart disease. Click here for more information on dairy.
Coconut oil and olive oil are the two healthiest oils to consume. However, this article will focus on coconut oil. Coconut oil contains other nutrients that make it so beneficial. It contains lauric acid and medium chain fatty acids. These two provide many benefits. Medium chain fatty acids can be converted into ketones, which are an alternative source of energy. Ketones supply the brain with energy and there have been studies that show it can help decrease the risk and affects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Now onto cholesterol. We’re going to get technical now, but stay with me! There are five main components to keep in mind when discussing cholesterol. There is total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and the ratio.
The total cholesterol is not always a good indicator for heart disease risk because it contains all of the cholesterol (HDL, LDL, etc).
HDL takes cholesterol from the arteries and transfers it to the liver to be removed from the body. The HDL is the cholesterol that you want to be high.
The LDL stores cholesterol as fat in the arteries. Triglycerides are a type of fat that can also be stored in the arteries leading to plaque build up. The LDL and triglycerides should be low.
The ratio is probably the most important. This takes into account the HDL and LDL and provides a number (ratio) to determine heart disease risk.
Recent studies show that coconut oil can increase the HDL cholesterol, which is the good cholesterol. This is why coconut oil should not be lumped with other unhealthy saturated fats and doesn’t increase heart disease risk.
Coconut oil has even more benefits such as maintaining bone structure and preventing bone loss. It can suppress appetite and increase energy expenditure, which helps you burn more calories and can lead to weight loss. It also has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
Not only can you cook with coconut oil, you can use it to remove your makeup, moisturize your skin and condition your hair.
As with almost everything you consume, moderation is key. As long as you’re not consuming tons of spoonfuls of coconut oil, you should be fine. You should also choose unrefined or virgin coconut oil. This is coconut oil in its purest form.
One last thing, my job has a program that allows their employees and their spouses to have their complete blood count, glucose, and cholesterol levels checked yearly. The past couple of years I have increased my healthy fat intake, including coconut oil. I started cooking with only coconut oil and increased my egg intake. My cholesterol levels were never abnormal, but the numbers have improved. My HDL level increased and my LDL level decreased.
Please eat all saturated fats in moderation and have your own labs checked before you just believe what the media tells you.
As always, thanks for reading! Click here for the video on this topic.
I am not a certified nutritionist; I am currently working towards a Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition. I make no claims to the contrary. I am providing information to the best of my knowledge; you are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health.
The statements contained herein have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This statement is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Content should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
The reader assumes full responsibility for consulting a qualified health professional regarding health conditions or concerns, and before starting a new diet or health program. I am not responsible for adverse reactions, effects, or consequences resulting from the use of any recipes or suggestions herein. This information is provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee.