As with many oils, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding coconut oil.
And, just as with canola oil, the big question is, ‘is coconut oil healthy?‘
Is Coconut Oil Healthy: What’s In It?
In order to know if coconut oil is healthy, we first need to know what’s in it.
Coconut oil is made up of around 90% saturated fat, 6% monounsaturated fat, and 2% polyunsaturated fat.
Differing from other highly saturated fats however, coconut oil is mostly made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs).
Why does that matter?
Well, MCFAs are more easily digested and absorbed in the body than other fats, and for this reason they are often used in enteral feeding formula for critically ill patients.
Due to the MCFA makeup of coconut oil, some suggest it is therefore different from other saturated fats, and as a result it doesn’t have the same ‘unhealthy’ effects associated with regular saturated fats, making coconut oil healthy.
So, is coconut oil healthy?
Whether it is healthy, or a product to be avoided at all costs, appears to be a matter of great contention.
Government recommendations advise against the intake of any saturated fat. However, you will find numerous websites promoting its health benefits, saying coconut oil is good for you.
So, what should you believe?
This a very difficult question, and doesn’t appear to have a clear black or white answer.
- The American Heart Association advise that individuals reduce their consumption of saturated fats, including those found in coconut oil, to less than 7% of their calorie intake.
- Similarly the WHO, and the FDA recommend the reduced consumption of saturated fat, including that from coconut oil, suggesting this will positively affect health, and reduce the prevalence of heart attacks.
- In the UK the FSA also recommend cutting back on saturated fats including that found in coconut oil, coconut cream, and palm oil.
So, let’s look at the research to really see is coconut oil healthy.
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