Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad for You? Exploring the benefits and myths of coconut oil.
In fact, I get asked the question so often, I decided it was time to address the issue, especially since I use coconut oil in several recipes.
What I am about to share with you, may come as a bit of a shock.
Coconut Oil is NOT a miracle product.
Is coconut oil evil? No.
Is coconut oil good for you? Um, yes and no.
Let me explain.
The Science Behind Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is high in fat and about 86% of that fat comes from saturated fat. Saturated fat is not exactly the best fat to be consuming in high amounts.
Right there you may think that you that means coconut oil is bad for you. However, there is more to the story–isn’t there always when it comes to science and nutrition?
A high percentage of the saturated fat that is found in coconut oil is made up of medium-chain triglycerides(MCTs) verses long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) typical in other saturated fats.
MCTs are processed in the liver and are burned off as fuel for your body quicker than LCTs. There is also evidence to suggest that they SLIGHTLY raise your metabolic rate. This means that they are less likely to be circulated in your blood stream and deposited in fat tissues.
Okay, so that sounds good. Higher metabolic rate, fuel for your body….
Not so fast.
Debunking the Myth Behind Coconut Oil
The following are claims (and my argument against these claims) made about coconut oil and how it is made out to be a miracle product.
- Coconut oil raises your HDL–the good cholesterol. This is true, but according to WEBMD, it also raises your LDL–the bad cholesterol. So no real value there.
- Coconut oil can curb your appetite. Yes! Guess what? Any fat can!! Your body needs fat to function properly, break down nutrients, and feel full. Nuts will do the same thing.
- Coconut oil reduces improves Alzheimer’s. Every medical website I looked at, said there is ZERO proof of this.
- Coconut oil has no cholesterol. True. But because it is high in saturated fats, olive oil is a better choice when if comes to nutrition.
- Coconut oil helps you lose fat. There is no evidence to the fact that adding coconut oil to your diet will help you lose weight. Being more aware of what you eat and replacing highly processed foods with more natural foods (which does include coconut oil) will certainly help you become healthier overall, and may contribute to weight loss in time.
- Coconut oil is better than trans fat. Hands down, yes! There is no reason to include trans fat in your diet, even in moderation.
Why I Use Coconut Oil:
After those little facts, I am still not saying coconut oil is all bad.
- Like I said earlier, I use coconut oil in some recipes. I love the flavor profile that it lends to granola and baked muffins and breads. Just like I love butter in some recipes and even bacon grease at rare times.
- I use coconut oil daily in my beauty regimen. Dabbed on some cotton, it removes eye make-up with no sting! I also find that it is a great moisturizer for my extremely dry skin.
- I have issues absorbing fat due to my disease and despite medications to help with absorption, I still struggle with some foods that are high in fat. However, I do not seem to have many issues with products made with coconut oil. I don’t understand the science behind fat malabsporption and coconut oil, but my guess is that because it is less processed, I handle it better. (Just as I handle nuts and avocados well.)
The Bottom Line:
To me, having a healthy diet and lifestyle is all about moderation.
If we fill our bodies with real foods and fill our lives with a variety of physical activity, I believe we are putting the best foot forward to a healthy life.
This means I eat chocolate, just not all day like I wish I could.
This means I have a lazy movie day now and then. But I am regularly active and lazy days on the couch are not happening weekly!
And yes, this means I use coconut oil and butter, for that matter. And I won’t stop. We all need a little fat in our lives and while I strive to get most of it from unsaturated forms like nuts, avocados, and olive oils, I will eat red meat, bacon, butter, and coconut oil on occasion.
While I have researched these facts to an extent, I am not a doctor and you should always listen to what your physician advises you to do.