The American Heart Association (AHA) has published an article recently that is shaking up the nutrition world. Recently, in the news, people have been bashing coconut oil, and others have been defending it. So what’s with all the hubbub?
The AHA article in questions showed that lowering saturated fats (i.e. butter, and animal fats) with polyunsaturated vegetable oils (i.e. olive oil and flaxseed oil) lowered the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 30%. The AHA recommends that people follow a low-saturated fat diet for optimal heart health. You can read the article here.
So what’s this got to do with coconut oil? Simply put: Coconut oil is high in saturated fats. Many “tropical oils” are high in saturated fats. In fact, before my hiatus to do schoolwork, I briefly wrote about this.
This is a table from a Wikipedia page on Peanut Oil. There’s a lot of information here, but we are specifically looking at the saturated fat category. As you can tell, coconut oil is 86% saturated fat! This specifically is what is worrying about coconut oil.
Does this mean coconut oil is Satan and eating is is going to send your arteries straight to Hell? I don’t think so. Personally, I think most of the news surrounding coconut oil is a pissing contest between two sides, and for some reason people don’t like neutrality.
Dr. Willet at Harvard’s Department of Nutrition had this to say about coconut oil “what’s interesting about coconut oil is that it also gives ‘good’ HDL cholesterol a boost…Coconut oil’s special HDL-boosting effect may make it ‘less bad’ than the high saturated fat content would indicate, but it’s still probably not the best choice among the many available oils to reduce the risk of heart disease.”
What is the Punk’s advice here? I would limit eating sources of saturated fat, like what the AHA says, including coconut oil. Notice my word-choice though. Limit. Not eliminate, just make sure that you aren’t eating a shit-ton. And this does not mean that you can’t use coconut oil in other ways, such as a lotion or in your hair, as I’ve heard people do.
I also would keep the flavor in mind. Coconut oil has a flavor, like olive oil. I personally would not cook my meats in coconut oil, but I would with olive oil. However, coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so you can try making baked goods, or use it in recipes where the coconut flavor is desired. Just be aware how much you are eating.
So what do you think? Is coconut oil bad, good, somewhere in between? Feel free to leave a comment!