Coconut oil has been around us for a long term. Various celebrities, nutritionists, and food experts have endorsed it. Coconut oil is considered one of the oldest fat source, which is favorite of many. But being oil, the question lays that is it healthy or not?
Oils are generally regarded as a high-calorie food ingredient and for a long time, oils shared a bad reputation. People suggested using any other low-fat options that do not have a high calorie. As the time passes, the information on oils was backup up with research.
American Heart Association (AHA) has declared coconut oil as a superfood. This means there are some scientific facts behind the much popular hype on coconut oil. Let’s know about the latest developments on the status of coconut oil.
Coconut oil- The medium chain fatty acids
The research publication from 2003, Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D. — a professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City, NY explained the structure and functions of coconut oil in detail. You can read this research online by clicking here.
The researchers found that in overweight women, using medium-chain fatty acids as that of coconut oil speeds up the energy expenditure and fat oxidation. It is comparatively much higher with women that are consuming long-chain or saturated fatty acids.
This research used a specifically designed diet considering the usage of coconut oil to be health-friendly.
Another study from 2009, coconut oil was investigated again for its possible benefits. The study involved 40 women who were given 30 milliliters of coconut daily for a total period of 12-weeks.
The results showed a rapid increase in good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, along with a visible reduction in waist circumference. Read the complete research findings by clicking here.
Limit of coconut oil may be a concern
Despite the proven health benefits of coconut oil, World Health Organization (WHO) and AHA issued an advisory note on using dietary fats and cardiovascular disease. It was published in June 2017, suggesting that we may substitute the saturated fats with more healthful unsaturated fats such as coconut oil. (Read the guidelines here)
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that all unsaturated fats that include fish, sunflower, avocado, nuts, canola, and olive oils are a much better than saturated fat. The saturated fat is found in fatty meat, butter, palm and coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee etc.
The reason is that saturated fat is not good for your cardiovascular health. Here is another a twist.
The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is considered as bad cholesterol and the High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered healthy. Yet this year, the three studies in this article will make you think once again.
The first study tells that saturated fats may not “clog” our arteries after all. The second study uncovers a link between HDL and mortality. Finally, the third study tells that high levels of HDL may not give a protection against heart problems as it was previously thought.
The latest research
All this information leads to the controversy over coconut oil, which may be due to the lack of good-quality, large-scale human studies. Just to add, here is a new study taken from one of the famous BBC Shows “Trust me I’m a Doctor” team.
This study investigated the effects of coconut oil, olive oil, and butter among 94 human volunteers. The daily dose given to each of these participants was 50 grams for 4 weeks time.
The results were observed after 4 weeks which told that coconut oil users saw a 15% increase in their HDL level. Those using olive oil only experienced a 5% increase. Read the study online.
If we consider HDL to be good for heart then coconut oil is good for health. You must know that it was just a qualitative study that has not been peer-reviewed. More research is needed to confirm these findings.
The final word
So the question of if coconut oil is healthy or not needs more time for a definite answer. Despite having so many researches on coconut it, it is still hard to give a firm answer.
For those who are aiming to lose weight, coconut oil has high in saturated fat and only one tablespoon contains 120 calories. Make sure to make a calculative meal plan when on a diet.
When it comes to cardiovascular health, coconut oil, as per AHA and WHO is on the list of fats to limit. However, any upcoming research may emerge that proclaim coconut oil to be a part of the healthy and balanced diet, used in a moderate amount.
Remember that it’s better to look for coconut oil in packaged foods, particularly the partially hydrogenated coconut oil. Do not buy such products, as it is a rich source of trans fats. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests trans fats be one of the leading causes of heart problems. Make sure to avoid it.