Coconut oil is having a moment. Once shunned as “unhealthy” due to its saturated fat content, this tasty tropical oil became the “it” food a few of years ago. More recently, there were the headlines about coconut oil being “unhealthy after all,” which was promptly refuted by many healthy experts.
Coconut Oil Confusion
So what’s the truth? We all know that too much information can sometimes lead to confusion. So here’s what you really need to know about coconut oil.
Natural Butter Replacement
First of all, it’s delicious. Coconut oil adds a subtle, buttery coconut flavor to whatever you cook with it, so it’s perfect in curries and soups made with coconut milk. It’s also tasty used any way you’d use butter – melted on steamed veggies, spread on toast or as a topping for popcorn.
Next, it’s versatile. Equally at home in a muffin tin or a frying pan, coconut oil makes a good butter substitute for baking, and because of its high heat tolerance, you can use it to sauté or stir-fry without burning the oil.
The Truth About Coconut Oil
Finally, coconut oil isn’t unhealthy after all. In fact, coconut oil has earned its rightful place in a healthy diet for the following three reasons:
- Saturated fat isn’t the villain it was thought to be. Coconut oil consists mostly of saturated fat, so many people have steered clear of it. But the scientific consensus on saturated fats is shifting. In fact, a 2010 meta-analysis of 20 previous studies found NO relationship between saturated fat and heart disease.*[i]
- Coconut oil lauric acid is really good for you. Second, coconut oil is high in lauric acid. Unlike most fatty acids, which are stored as fat, lauric acid is converted by the liver into energy, so it provides instant fuel to your body.
- Coconut oil won’t contribute to weight gain. And finally, there’s some evidence that the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) present in coconut oil don’t contribute to weight gain the way the long chain triglycerides in other saturated fats do.*[ii],[iii],[iv] However, like any fat, coconut oil should be consumed in moderation.
Coconut Oil is Healthy
So, if you thought you were being virtuous by resisting coconut oil, resist no more. There’s a whole culinary world out there for you to discover. From health to beauty, this all-star ingredient is packed with healthy fat and luscious flavor.
Want some great ideas about how to use coconut oil? Click here to download a free booklet, “50+ Reasons to Use Organic Coconut Oil.”
[i] Siri-Tarino PW, et al. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91)3):535-46.
[ii] St-Onge MP, et al. Medium-chain triglycerides increase energy expenditure and decrease adiposity in overweight men. Obesity. 2003 Mar;11(3):395-402.
[iii] St-Onge MP, Bosarge A. Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):621-6.
[iv] Assunção ML, et al. Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. Lipids. 2009;44(7):593-601.