Coconut Oil has been getting a VERY good press. I even jumped on the bandwagon when I was introduced to the world of I Quit Sugar and Sarah Wilson, some 18 months ago.
But is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
Recenly coconut oil has been reviewed in two of my regular magazines. And interestingly they both came up with different arguments and different conclusions. So I thought it would be useful to summarise the arguments:
Despite being known as coconut oil – it is acutally solid – or it certainly is in our house. As with other solid fats (which have not been hydrogenated) it is high in saturated fat. The average tablespoon contains 15g of fat, 13 of which are saturated. The recommended daily limit of saturated fat is 20g a day!
The argument goes that the saturated fats are sub-classified as a medium-chain fatty acid. This is said to be easier for us to digest and therefore the body is more likely to use it for energy. Amanda Hamilton of Health and Fitness Magazine explains:
Despite a slew of celebrities appartntly backing up the health claims (well they are slim and beautiful after all), there has been little research into the benefits of coconut oil. However, emerging research suggests that virgin coconut oil has a neutral or even beneficial effect on overall blood cholesterol levels. The lauric acid offers protective benefits to the immune system and can lower bad LDL cholesterol while raising good HDL cholesterol.
Anther often touted benefit is that it is stable at high temperatures. Heating polyunsaturated fats has been linked to inflammation in the body. Coconut oil is more stable (that’ll be those saturated fats) and doesn’t change at high tempereatures.
According to Healthy Food Guide January 2014:
“Most of the research has been carried out on cholesterol levels, although even this gives mized results. It’s crucial to remember that, like all other oils…coconut oil is high in calories, so if you’re watching yoru weithg you need to restrict the amount you use.”
HFG argues that the antioxidant benefits of coconut oil can be obtianed by eating a balanced, varied diet.
For me, I have to say that my discovery of coconut oil coincided with weight gain, but to blame it on the cocnut oil? No, I think I have to put that down to a number of things 🙂
How about you? Have you tried coconut oil? What do you think?