You’ve probably heard the claims: “Coconut oil is the new superfood!” “Coconut oil helps you lose weight!” “Coconut oil kills bacteria and viruses.” With statements like these backed up with “research”, no wonder many of us are confused about whether including coconut oil in our diet is good or bad!
Separating fact from myth, here’s what you need to know about coconut oil:
1. Don’t believe all the hype
A lot of research into the benefit of coconut oil on weight loss or reducing your risk of heart disease has been done on animals or on another oil called MCT oil. Our body absorbs MCT oil and coconut oil differently. Any proven benefits for MCT oil don’t apply to coconut oil.
2. It’s high in saturated fat
Coconut oil is about 92% saturated fat which is a lot! Saturated fat increases your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease.
3. Using it occasionally is okay
Use coconut oil occasionally as part of a healthy diet. A better choice is olive oil, nut oils and canola oil, which are higher in monosaturated fat and may protect against heart disease.
4. It has more benefit for your skin than for your heart
Coconut oil is sometimes used in soap, shampoos and cosmetics. Evidence suggests its use this way has no adverse effect and may be helpful as a moisturiser.
5. Enjoy coconut in different ways
Coconut flesh, coconut water and coconut cream are lower in saturated fat and contain more fibre than coconut oil. They can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet that includes lots of polyunsaturated fats such as from oily fish, sunflower seeds and walnuts.