Coconut Oil: Healthy or Unhealthy?


One of the or probably the only trending news that made headlines last week was ‘Coconut is worse than lard’. A number of researchers warned people to stop using coconut oil as it isn’t healthy. As per the studies, approximately 72% of people consider the oil healthy. This debate of safe or unsafe rises the question, ‘What is the real truth’?

AHA has recently released a new Presidential Advisory on dietary fat and cardiovascular disease. The committee performed careful search on fat and heart disease and concluded that by replacing dietary saturated fat with unsaturated fat, it is possible to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 30%. Reason behind, eating saturated fats results in increase in LDL cholesterol.

As per the report, coconut oil is loaded with saturated fat. What’s surprising is the fact that it has 82% saturated fat which is greater than butter and lard. However, this doesn’t mean it is worse than butter and lard. The AHA panel also found that the types of saturated fats present in coconut oil increases bad LDL cholesterol. Important thing to know here is that butter also increases LDL and that too more than the coconut oil. Not just this but fatty acids present in coconut oil not only increase LDL but also the good HDL cholesterol. The only reason this fact is not considered worthy because researchers believe that increase in HDL does not necessarily decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Why People Treat Coconut As Healthy?

One of the main reasons people think the oil is healthy because it contains MCTs or medium chain triglycerides. As per studies, it has been proved that the MCTs increase the fat burning process and speed up the weight loss when added in diet. Moreover, it is coconut oil only that acts as the biggest food source of MCTs which is about 63%. However, MCTs that are studied and believed to have positive effects constitute for only about 14% of the fatty acids in coconut oil.

Talking about the other reason coconut oil is consered healthy owing to a large number of population using coconuts as the chief dietary fat. Apart from this, these people don’t find increase in risk of heart diseases.

Not to skip mentioning that there have been no major studies that aim at looking on the risk of CVD and coconut oil consumption. However, there have been some small researches that show benefit and no additional risk. It is important to know that these samples are quite small to come to any conclusion.

It won’t be surprising to find that saturated fat derived from plants are not as bad as considered by many. As there’s no strong evidence, such beliefs shouldn’t be take seriously. The only thing that needs to be followed is using it in moderation just like other saturated fat and not forgetting that no headline can change the fact that coconut oil is always better than butter.

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