Coconut oil is an increasingly popular fat used for frying, baking and added to drinks. This is mainly because it has been associated with several health benefits. However, is it as healthy as it seems?
Coconut oil is one of the highest sources of saturated fat, aka “unhealthy fat”. Saturated fat has been associated with a number of diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), and we therefore advise saturated fat intake to be less than 10% of our total daily energy intake.
“Reducing saturated fat lowers total blood cholesterol and cuts the risk of heart disease. Our advice remains that saturated fats should be reduced to no more than about 10% of dietary energy”.Professor Paul Haggarty, SACN
Coconut oil is also high in Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which have been linked to weight loss. However, most evidence is from animal studies and there is not strong evidence of MCTs and weight loss in human studies. MCTs come in different forms. One type is Lauric Acid, which causes the highest increase in LDL Cholesterol, aka “Bad Cholesterol”. Lauric Acid is the most abundant form found in coconut oil, therefore the high levels of MCTs found in coconut oil may not be as effective as they seem.
So is coconut oil as healthy as it seems? Coconut oil is high in saturated fat and its health benefits are not conclusive. However, it is a tasty food which works wonders in bakes and for frying! Therefore, coconut oil may be included in your diet but in moderation.
Here are some articles for more information on Coconut Oil and Lauric Acid.
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