You all know that person (or maybe you are that person) who would not trade coconut oil for anything in the world, and always has a jar of it in the kitchen.
Well, bad news for all in healthy food world and coconut oil lovers – the American Health Association reported that coconut oil might be unhealthy and even risky for your health. The author of the report says he has no idea how could anyone think that this product is healthy and become obsessed with something that contains very high quantity of saturated fat.
“Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy,” screamed the viral headline which made the study public. This devastated the members of the wellness world who believed and swore in the miracles that this product provides them with.
Dr. Joel Kahn, a cardiologist and best-selling author says that he was concerned a long time with the extremely high amount of saturated fat. He doesn’t believe in fat-heavy diets. Instead, he encourages his patients to consume fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
However, every story has two sides. So, the inevitably question remains:
Is coconut oil really unhealthy?
Dr. Will Cole, a functional medicine practitioner says that there is no doubt that coconut oil contains higher levels of saturated fat.
However, AHA cite don’t say that consuming coconut oil can increase the risk of heart diseases. No – they connect it to higher cholesterol numbers which doesn’t necessarily is a predicator of a higher stroke risk and heart attack.
In fact, studies found out that high total cholesterol may not be connected to strokes and heart attack risks.
Another best-selling author and a hormone expert, Dr. Sara Gottfried, states that many times before the AHA has encouraged low-fat diets. However, these low-fat diets have a downside – they can increase corpulence and can cause diabetes.
“I’m not a fan of blanket statements; the future of medicine is personalized to the individual based on the gene/environment interaction. Coconut oil is unusual in that it contains medium-chain triglycerides that are well-proven to speed metabolism and assist in fat loss. Another component is lauric acid, found in breastmilk, which is antimicrobial.”
The founder of Parsley Health, Dr Robin Berzin, explains that the AHA bases its advice on outdated sources that give a poor understanding of heart diseases and what role plays the cholesterol in them.
While many think that the problem is the high levels of LDL, the fact is the total number of LDL is of no importance – what matters is its composition – the size and shape of the particles.
Namely, the small, thick particles are the ones which can be connected to heart attacks. Contrary, the larger and fluffier ones – are not.
There is still a debate between eating saturated fat and eating fat.
A diet that contains high saturated fat and lacks fibers, but is full of sugars and refined carbohydrates, increases the production of small, thick LDL.
On the other hand, a diet consisting of a monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, and even saturated fat like in our case organic coconut oil, but does not contain any sugars and is high in fibers, can actually help us improve our cholesterol composition.
And while all doctors share this view, they all agree that we must be careful of how we consume the coconut oil.
A problem can arise when we mix coconut oil (and all saturated fats) with refined grains such as pasta, bread, or any food high in sugar. This ‘mix’ can increase the inflammatory effects of sugar in our body.
All in all, you know your body best and what food agrees with you. Coconut oil interacts differently in different people. It all depends of what you combine it with. For example, if you combine coconut oil with a high-sugar, high-refined-carb diet can lead to an increase of the bad cholesterol in your body along with inflammation.
So, if you are not ready yet to give up junk food and eat vegetables instead – avoid consuming coconut oil.
Moreover, you must figure for yourself what portion of coconut oil works for you. For some 1 to 2 tablespoons work just okay, but for some this amount causes them to gain weight.
The bottom line is – coconut oil can still be considered as healthy food because it contains medium-chain triglycerides and lauric acid. Only, we must be careful with what we mix it with and how much coconut oil do we need daily.
We are all different and we must find out by ourselves what works best for us.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.