Coconut oil – is it all that it’s cracked up to be?
1. It is cholesterol free and very low in trans fats and although it is 92% saturated fat, the highest of any type of fat, the fact it is not animal fat may give it some health benefits over other forms of saturated fat – however research is yet to confirm this.
2. Coconut oil has an unusual blend of short and medium chain fatty acids not seen in other saturated fats which may offer some health benefit – however research is yet to confirm this.
3. It has many uses from cooking to using on your skin and in your hair to diesel fuel for tractors.
1. The fact it is so high in saturated fat needs to be considered in the context of a Western diet.
– While much of Asia uses coconut in many forms, coconut is/was one of only a few sources of saturated fat.
– Traditionally they don’t tuck into cheese, butter, chocolate, big steaks, bacon or fast food just to name a few common sources of saturated fat in the Western diet.
– Day to day physical activity levels is/was also a lot higher (ever seen one of those guys scale a coconut palm?)
2. Coconut oil is just as high in calories as regular oil or butter (all fats are the same) and contains no vitamins or minerals.
3. It is expensive! At around twice the price of olive oil it hasn’t yet been shown to offer health benefits greater than extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil has proven heart health benefits, evidence for coconut oil is limited.
Advocates of coconut oil and other coconuts products claim it can help you lose weight, boost your immune system and even cure various diseases!
While using coconut oil may well have some health benefits, none of the above claims have been properly researched or proven.
My advice, use a little coconut oil if you like, but also use a variety of other oils, especially extra virgin olive oil.
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