Coconut oil has been considered the “natural miracle cure” that fixes literally anything. There have been no limitations to the various ways to use the product including a component in food products, in cooking and as cosmetics and soaps. Proposed health benefits of consuming coconut oil include improved brain function and memory, reduced cardiovascular disease risk, protected liver, strengthened immune system and weight loss.
However, is it really true that ingesting coconut oil can do all these wonderful things to our health, or may the consumption of coconut oil actually propose more health risks than benefits?
• Coconut oil does not protect against cardiovascular disease.
Coconut oil contains a high amount of saturated fatty acids, 87 grams per 100 grams product while butter contains 51 grams. Compared to the consumption of unsaturated fatty acids commonly found in oils that are liquid at room temperature, a high consumption of saturated fatty acids has been linked to a rise in LDL blood cholesterol levels. High levels of LDL cholesterol have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Coconut oil with its high content of saturated fatty acids will not reduce cardiovascular disease risk, but instead may increase it.
• Coconut oil will not help you lose weight.
People who claim that coconut oil promotes weight loss argue that coconut oil has so called medium- chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are absorbed and digested differently in the body compared to other common fatty acids, and do not affect blood cholesterol levels. In addition, MCTs may increase metabolism short term. However, it is misleading to use this argument in favor of coconut oil. Only a very small amount of the fatty acids in coconut oil are MCTs. With its high fat content, it may not only be misleading, but wrong to say that coconut oil will induce weight loss.
• Good or bad?
Research on the effect of the consumption of coconut oil continues. Unfortunately, it seems like coconut oil is not as healthy as previously assumed. Focusing the fat intake on unsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil and rapeseed oil, which have more high-quality scientific evidence that support they’re health benefits are better choices when it comes to fat than coconut oil.