Coconut oil has had a lot of coverage in the media in recent times
Coconut oil has had a lot of coverage in the media in recent times due to its 'healthy' benefits
Ailsa Brogan-Hewitt

The Facts about Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is getting a lot of coverage in the media at the moment, from celebrities to fitness fanatics alike. It’s often reported to be a healthy fat and that it can improve various health conditions such as coronary heart disease, and that it can help reduce body fat. More recently it’s been claimed that it’s actually not that good for us at all. Understandably, there is a lot of confusion surrounding coconut oil, so let’s review the facts.

Coconut oil contains about 86% saturated fat. To give some context, butter is roughly 50-60%. As a rule, evidence suggests that a high intake of saturated fat can increase the amount of LDL (bad cholesterol) in your blood, increasing your risk of developing coronary heart disease. Even though there has been some research into coconut oil and the effects it has on lowering cholesterol, this research, so far, is not conclusive due to the quality of the studies. There are also claims that due to the type of fat (medium-chain triglycerides) contained within coconut oil our bodies are more likely to burn the energy (calories) it provides than store them as body fat. But again, this research isn’t conclusive, nor is it supported by the experts.

As with all foods we consume as part of our diet, regardless of whether coconut oil is good for us or not, it will never be black and white or a yes and no answer. And while coconut oil shouldn’t be considered off-limits, it doesn’t (as it stands) quite live up to the hype either.

So what’s the advice when it comes experimenting with coconut oil in your diet? Stick to unsaturated fats such olive and rapeseed oil for the majority of the time and if you want to, use coconut oil in moderation.

As I always say no food is or should ever be classed as off-limits, there’s no food that when eaten in moderation is ‘bad’ for you, it’s the overall makeup of our diets that we need to focus on.

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