That must mean it has many health benefits, right? Wrong. Coconut oil would have to be one of the most misrepresented “health foods” on the market. Sure, it’s got beneficial properties, but they don’t generally extend to food. Today we will separate fact from fiction when it comes to coconut oil.
Let’s jump right in and address the myth we’re all thinking about.
Coconut oil is healthy because it contains multiple chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are good for weight loss, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
In reality, only 10-13% of coconut oil is made up of MCTs, with the remainder being saturated fat. These two fats DO NOT have the same effects. Saturated fat is responsible for elevating the LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Now let’s put this into perspective. 1 tablespoon of coconut oil equates to 11g of saturated fat. It’s clear to see the bad outweighs the good.
Using coconut oil for its health benefits is like using a multivitamin to manage osteoporosis. The multivitamin has got a small amount of calcium, but you’d be better off taking a calcium supplement.
To improve health, it’s better to replace coconut oil with a polyunsaturated or a monounsaturated fat alternative. These fats include extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and salmon. Research has also shown that replacing bad fats with good fats can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cholesterol levels. Score!
It would be remiss of me to avoid discussion about the pros of coconut oil.
Coconut oil does give food a tropical flavour, as well as increasing foods creaminess. When used periodically and in appropriate portions, it can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. It can also be very hydrating and moisturising to the skin. But that is going into the dermatological side of things.
In conclusion, if you like a bit of coconut oil here and there, add it to a dish. But don’t go guzzling it on the daily with the hopes that it’ll improve your health. Sadly, it’s not the miracle maker its made out to be. If you’re interested in coconut oil alternatives or would like to an evaluation of your saturated fat intake, book a consult with one of our friendly dietitians.
Here is a link to book in with one of our expert dietitians at any of our locations https://www.cqnutrition.com.au/booking/
Want an online consultation? Book in on my calendar and in comments write online: https://bit.ly/AnnieROK
Written by Annabel Johnston, BAppSc&MDietPrac