There is a lot of mixed up and confusing information out there about coconut oil. In fact, over the last few years, this one ingredient has become one of the most controversial foods with regards to weight loss, weight control, and overall wellness.
What’s Being Said About Coconut Oil
While some websites and articles may tell you that it is extremely healthy and that it should be worked into your daily diet, other people will tell you that it is a bad fat and that you should avoid it like the plague. Where is the truth in all of this? Read on!
Changing Opinions on Coconut Oil
Although coconut oil was once believed to be a “bad” food because of its high level of saturated fat content, it has since been discovered to be a very healthy fat, provided that you use it quite sparingly. As long as you don’t plan to knock it back, working a little bit of it into your diet could actually do your body a lot of good.
The fact is that coconut oil is made up of nearly 90 percent saturated fat. Though this was once thought to be the worst of the worst, it has since been found that not all types of saturated fats are the same.
Who Claims This is a Health Food?
According to SuperFoodsRX Diet author, Wendy Bazilian, R.D., most of the saturated fat that is found in coconut oil is made up of lauric acid. This is actually a type of saturated fatty acid known as a “medium-chain”. These have more of a neutral impact on cardiac health, for example, than other saturated fats with longer chains, such as those found in red meat and in dairy.
This helps to explain why people who live in areas where coconut is consumed on a regular basis – such as in Sri Lanka – have a notably lower heart disease instance than the rate seen among people living in the United States. In fact, there are now some teams of scientists that are suggesting that coconut oil can boost enzyme levels in the body that are responsible for breaking down fats, causing cholesterol figures to improve.
Bazilian explained that medium-chain fats, such as those in coconut oil, are easier for the body to digest within the liver. This means that they are less likely to be converted into body fat and added to the stores on your belly, buns, or thighs, provided that you don’t over –consume and that you keep your daily calories within a healthy limit.
Many Aren’t Convinced
At the same time that many people are calling coconut oil a superfood or at the very least a healthy fat, researchers continue to point out that it isn’t as good as it may seem. For one thing, it is comprised nearly entirely of saturated fat. About 90 percent of this ingredient is saturated fat. Therefore, out of the 14 grams that make up a tablespoon of it, 13 grams are saturated fat.
Comparatively speaking, this means that it has almost double the saturated fat within the same amount of butter. Furthermore, it contains about 2.5 times of that contained by lard and over six times the saturated fat in olive oil.
Many doctors are trying to warn their patients that even though there are many trends that suggest we should eat more coconut oil, research shows that it could end up doing more harm than good if we do.
Could it Make the Obesity Epidemic Worse?
Many health and weight loss professionals worry that the overblown claims regarding coconut oil and how it should eat could end up making the obesity epidemic worse instead of better. Moreover saturated fats may raise cholesterol concentrations which can result in a rise in cardiovascular disease risks.
What should you believe? The jury is still out. Some experts continue to applaud the saturated fat form in coconut oil known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), and their impact on weight loss. That said, it’s important to remember that not all the saturated fat in this oil is MCT, only some. In fact, studies have shown that only about 15 percent of this oil should actually be considered MCT. The rest is the same unhealthy saturated fat we’ve been told to avoid for many years.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that coconut oil isn’t good for you. Instead, it simply means that it’s not the miracle food that many people claim it is. Moreover, some types of this ingredient are better than others. Still, as long as you consume it in small amounts, it’s unlikely to be any more problematic than other types of fat you should be consuming sparingly.
If you are considering adding coconut oil into your daily diet to improve your health and to encourage better overall weight maintenance, make sure that you don’t eat any more than 1 to 2 tablespoons in any given day.