You might have come across numerous articles that detail countless wonders of coconut oil. Some have argued that the miracles of coconut oil range from being an excellent skin conditioner, obesity check monster, a good heart health concoction, and a great IQ improver!
However, there are skeptics who think that coconut oil is a pure poison that we take at will until our heart stops!
The best way to help us unravel this mystery is to first weigh each group’s argument and then draw our conclusion.
The Enthusiasts’ Narrative
Champions of coconut oil have classified it as a “superfood” suggesting that it has a unique combination of fatty acids that can be beneficial to your health – such as fat loss and better brain function.
They argue that coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MTCs) that can help increase the number of calories you can burn in comparison to the same number of calories you can burn from fats with longer chains and this helps to keep obesity in check.
Boosting brain function (especially for Alzheimer’s patients) is another common example cited by coconut oil crusaders. It is said to be an alternative source of energy for Alzheimer’s patients because they are purported to reduce the ability to use glucose in some parts of their brains.
But is coconut oil really good for your health? Not everyone agrees……
The Other side of the coin
Leading health organizations (among them the American Heart Association) have discouraged the use of coconut oil citing its saturated fats content can pose a threat to cardiovascular health.
Studies show that coconut oil, like other saturated fats, increases LDL “bad” cholesterol.
“The health benefits claim about coconut oil are absolute nonsense….Coconut oil is pure poison due to saturated fat content.”–Professor Karin Michels of the Institute of Prevention and Tumor Epidemiology, University of Freiburg
The Facts about coconut oil
Coconut oil is 80 percent saturated fats. This fact has left many health experts worried because of the rising popularity of this product. Though possibly better than partially hydrogenated oils, coconut oil cannot match the proven benefits of olive and canola oil (both contain unsaturated plant oil).
The American Heart Association advocates propose that in place of coconut oil, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated commonly found in fatty fish, avocados, canola, and olive should be used because they have been proven to be healthier.
Health experts have advised that coconut should be taken occasionally and in small quantities.
However, coconut oil may not be as bad as it has a high content of lauric acid – a fatty acid that has been attributed to increase in HDL “good” cholesterol. It is good for your skin too.
We think coconut oil is exaggerated. The benefits of coconut are not as impactful as advertised and due to its saturated fat content, it should not be categorized as a healthy food. Our recommendation, therefore, is that coconut oil should be consumed in limited quantities as advised by scholars and health organizations.