Coconut oil might be the most debated cooking oil. Many nutrition experts warn that the tropical oil’s high amount of saturated fat could clog your arteries. However, people who follow the popular ketogenic diet love it, and it is said to have health benefits as a functional food. So, what’s the real deal with coconut oil and how does it fit into a healthy diet? This guide has all the information you need to know about this oil’s many uses.
What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is an oil from the tropics that comes from the flesh of coconuts. You can buy both raw coconut oil and coconut oil that has been processed. On the front label, it will say what kind of item you are buying. Virgin coconut oil goes through less processing than refined coconut oil, so it keeps its sweet, tropical taste. Coconut oil that has been refined goes through more steps to get rid of its smell and taste. Because it doesn’t have that coconut taste, refined coconut oil can be used as a main cooking oil in many different dishes. “Refined coconut oil” is often called “all-purpose coconut oil” these days, so look for either of those phrases on the label.
Like a lot of health foods that were popular a few years ago but aren’t as popular now, coconut oil had a big surge in popularity. In 2015, coconut oil sales at stores were at their highest point. In 2018, they dropped by about 30%. Part of the reason for this drop is the ongoing debate about the health benefits and risks of the oil.
But recent predictions show that the market for coconut oil will grow again over the next few years. This is because low-carb, high-fat diets like the keto diet are becoming more popular, which will help boost the market for coconut oil. Many people say that coconut oil is a keto-friendly food, but many experts question how healthy it really is.
How to make grilled coconut with chocolate?
- Calories 104
- Protein 0 grams (g)
- Fat 11.5 g
- Saturated fat 9.6 g
- Carbohydrates 0 g
- Fiber 0 g
- Sugar 0 g
Is coconut oil a healthy fat? How does it compare to olive oil?
Even though coconut’s oil is nutritionally similar to other cooking oils, the main difference is the kinds of fats it has. Most of the fat in coconut oil, which is 83 percent, is saturated fat, which is usually found in animal products like meat and dairy. On the other hand, only 14% of the fat in olive oil is saturated.
Saturated fat is usually solid at room temperature and is often thought to be unhealthy because there is evidence that diets high in saturated fats raise LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of heart disease. On the other hand, unsaturated fats, either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, stay liquid at room temperature. They are thought to be healthier because, in moderation and especially when they replace saturated fats, they are good for heart health.
The American Heart Association recommends that you don’t eat more than 13 grams of saturated fat every day (based on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet).
Olive oil, on the other hand, has less than 2 g of saturated fat in the same amount. Because of this, a lot of experts say that olive oil is a better choice. Because it is high in saturated fat, coconut oil has gotten a bad name as an unhealthy oil that clogs arteries, and many experts still say to stay away from it. But in recent years, some researchers have questioned whether saturated fat is as bad for you as was once thought. There has also been renewed interest in coconut oil as a possible healthy alternative.
Possible Health Benefits and Risks of Coconut Oil.
It’s not clear-cut that coconut’s oil is good for your health. In fact, it’s a very controversial topic. In a talk she gave in Germany, a professor from Harvard said that coconut’s oil is reines Gift, or “pure poison.” The video that went viral, the professor, Karin Michels, also says in German that the trendy oil is “one of the worst foods you can eat.”
On the one hand, people who like coconut’s oil know that it has a lot of saturated fat, which has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. But they point out that the saturated fat in tropical oil is different in one way: It has a lot of lauric acid, which is a medium-chain fatty acid. Lauric acid may act differently than other saturated fats.
Why? These fatty acids might affect cholesterol levels in a different way than other saturated fats. One study shows that saturated-fat-rich coconut oil raises total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels more than unsaturated plant oils, but not as much as butter.
In one randomized clinical trial, people ate 1.75 ounces of extra-virgin coconut oil, butter, or extra-virgin olive oil every day for four weeks. Like other studies have shown, butter increased LDL levels more than coconut and olive oils. HDL levels went up more with coconut oil than with butter or olive oil. Even though this wasn’t a weight loss study (so no one was told to, say, cut calories), the researchers found that adding any of these fats didn’t make anyone lose (or gain) weight or belly fat.
Many experts don’t recommend coconut oil because it has a lot of saturated fat. In fact, top nutritionists and health experts have told people to switch from saturated to unsaturated fats to lower their risk of heart disease.
Does coconut oil help to lose weight?
Medium-chain fatty acids, like lauric acid, are quickly broken down and turned into energy by the body. This is why the oil is often used in diets to help people lose weight. A few small studies show that it may help your waistline, but in moderation, it has no effect on your BMI one way or the other. And we don’t know what will happen to weight loss in the long run. Even if something is metabolized quickly, that doesn’t mean you can have a field day with it. Still, coconut oil has calories, and if you eat more than your body needs, you are likely to gain weight and fat.
Overall, the research has not been very impressive or consistent.
But one study did find that obese women who took coconut oil supplements for eight weeks lost more belly fat than those who took safflower, chia, or soybean oils.
In one small study, obese men ate the same number of calories but 1 tbsp of either coconut oil or soybean oil every day. After 45 days, neither group’s body shape had changed, but the HDL levels of the people who ate coconut oil had gone up.
In another small randomized controlled trial, men with metabolic syndrome were given about an ounce of virgin coconut oil instead of the fat they were already eating. At the end of the study, this did not change their waist circumference.
How to use coconut oil to make yourself look better?
coconut’s oil is great for more than just cooking. It is also a great beauty product. You can put it on your hair as a mask while you’re in the shower to add moisture or smooth a little bit on dry hair to stop it from frizzing up. One study also suggests that the antimicrobial properties of the oil may help keep the scalp healthy and treat dandruff.
coconut’s oil can be used as a lip balm or to moisturize the whole body.
Even better, science shows that there are good reasons to put coconut oil on the skin. In the past, a double-blind study compared virgin coconut oil and olive oil as moisturizers for people with atopic dermatitis, or eczema (an inflammatory skin condition with symptoms like redness and itching), and found that coconut oil reduced symptoms better than olive oil. Coconut oil was also better at getting rid of a staph infection (staphylococcus aureus) from the skin (in 95% of cases) than olive oil (in 50% of cases). This suggests that the tropical oil is antifungal and antiviral.
Parents can feel safe putting it on their children’s skin as well. An older study found that children with atopic dermatitis who used virgin coconut oil for eight weeks felt less skin dryness than those who used mineral oil. In fact, 93% of people who used coconut oil saw a moderate or good improvement, while only 53% of people who used mineral oil did.