Headlines lately have been talking a lot about coconut oil and its pros and cons. What does the latest research have to say about coconut oil? We’ve got the information you need below.
What the American Heart Association Has Stated
For a long time, coconut oil was viewed as a healthier alternative to other oils, so a lot of people were surprised when the American Heart Association (AHA) came out and stated that you should actually avoid coconut oil because it is considered unhealthy. And it all has to do with the saturated fat content of coconut oil.
These experts also claim that the benefits of using coconut oil are not really supported by data, but that saturated fats and trans fats could increase your LDL cholesterol, which is the bad form of cholesterol that you want to keep in check. They suggest using other oils, like soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, and peanut oil, along with avocado oil and olive oil.
But Is Coconut Oil Really Bad for You?
On the other side of the spectrum, there are reasons to continue using coconut oil—in moderation like everything else, of course.
The saturated fat that is naturally found in coconut oil is mostly made up of what are known as MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides). Some experts have stated that your body will process these differently than the long-chain fats that are found in meat, dairy, and vegetable oils. Basically, your body won’t store MCTs as fat like it would long-chain fats.
Supporters of coconut oil use have also stated that the saturated fat in coconuts is healthier for you because the lauric acid is burned quickly by the body for energy. Plus, previous short-term studies have suggested that MCTs like lauric acid actually don’t end up raising your LDL cholesterol.
What to Do?
So there seem to be decent arguments on both sides of the fence when it comes to coconut oil. In the end, it’s a good idea to mix up your oils so that you are not exclusively having coconut oil with every meal. Go ahead and have some olive oil or some avocado oil, too. And stick with organic and non-GMO vegetable oils for overall health and to be gentler on the environment.
Now that you know a bit more about coconut oil and its potential pros and cons when it comes to your health, you can make the right choices to establish a balanced diet without going overboard.