Is Coconut Oil Bad For You? 5 Facts You Need to Know Before Your Next Purchase.Lisa Kilgour, Nutritionist
July 31, 2017
Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) is a loved oil by many in the wellness industry, including me. So it was a shock in June when the American Heart Association listed coconut oil as “bad” and should be reduced in one’s diet.
I think it’s important to note that the study that has been quoted1 looked generally at all forms of saturated fat. There was no differentiation between VCO and say, beef lard or processed palm oil.
The recommendation was this – their findings found a link between saturated fat and an increased risk of Cardiovascular Disease (although other studies say otherwise2) and coconut oil is 82% saturated fat. So, due to that number alone, coconut oil is “bad” and should be consumed in very small amounts.
The problem is not all saturated fat is created equally. And VCO has been found to raise HDL cholesterol (the good stuff)3, while leaving LDL cholesterol (considered the ”bad” stuff) right where it is4. Every type of fat is used by and affects the body differently, and what matters most is how it has been processed.
So if you’re concerned about enjoying your favourite coconut oil, keep these 5 points top of mind:
- Quality matters
There’s a HUGE difference between a rancid over-processed oil and a beautifully processed one5. This is the main difference between a healthy saturated fat and a problematic one. Always go for a Virgin Coconut Oil that smells of coconuts. That mild coconut smell means it was minimally processed.
- We need saturated fat for our body to function
When we think of essential fats we tend to forget about other important saturated fats our body desperately needs. Virgin Coconut Oil is high in 2 very important ones; lauric acid and myristic acid, which help support our immune system6.
- Heart disease & Sugar
40 years ago we were told to eat less fat (especially saturated) and more carbohydrates…and our rates of heart disease went up. Refined sugar and refined carbohydrates have been found to increase risk of heart disease7.
Research has found that minimally processed Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) can help reduce inflammation8. It’s full of amazing antioxidants, which can help put out the fire of inflammation.
- Not all Virgin Coconut Oil is created equally
Always look for Virgin, Organic, and Fair Trade on the label. This will ensure a high-quality product, free of pesticides and harsh chemicals, AND one that doesn’t harm precious monkeys or their habitat. Some manufacturers have used monkeys in the harvesting of their coconuts, so always choose a monkey-friendly coconut oil.
The latest research on VCO is amazing. It’s also been found that it may help improve memory, increase energy, and improve digestion. There’s a reason that VCO is so popular in wellness circles right now.
There’s no doubt that I’m a huge fan of VCO, but I need to balance my fandom with a bit of common sense. Virgin Coconut Oil is ONE of the fantastic healthy fats available right now. Use it along with a variety of healthy fats for a healthy body. Other important unprocessed fats include avocados, extra virgin olive oil, organic butter, and high-quality fish oil. Your body needs a variety of fats in your diet to run as a well-fuelled.