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Coconut Oil – The Real Story

I have heard that rice (if cooked with Coconut Oil) and saved in the fridge overnight makes the rice have fewer calories. That was a stretch for me. But then I started thinking: How come one week people are saying coconut oil is good for you, the next you hear it’s bad for you. My news reporting background kicked in and now I am here to give you: Coconut Oil – The Real Story.

According to USA Today, “Last week, the American Heart Association said coconut oil is unhealthy, reigniting a conversation about saturated fat and leaving some confused about what is healthy. 

There’s a disconnect between people’s general beliefs and what the data actually show, said Donald Hensrud, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. 

Like a gluten-free lifestyle, Hensrud said benefits of coconut oil aren’t supported by good data. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat. Current data shows saturated and trans fats raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels”.

In the next breath, here is what is said in another article: “Coconut Oil, Blood Lipids and Cardiovascular Disease. … Medium chain triglycerides (the fats in coconut oil) have also been shown to reduce blood triglycerides compared to long chain fats (15). Coconut oil may be protective against heart disease, not the other way around”.

So here we are …. The American Heart Association says: Coconut oil “as unhealthy as beef fat and butter.” And then an article on CNN says: According to a recent survey, 72% of Americans think coconut oil is a healthy food.

“Coconut oil is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum in terms of types of fats. It’s probably better than partially hydrogenated oils (which are) high in trans fats but not as good as the more unsaturated plant oils that have proven health benefits, like olive and canola oil” claims one of their sources.
“It’s probably not quite as ‘bad’ as butter but not as good as extra virgin olive oil,” agreed Kevin Klatt, a molecular nutrition researcher at Cornell University who is studying the metabolic effects of coconut oil.
Klatt cautions that we should not develop too strong of an opinion about coconut oil without more data. “But at the same time, you have to be evidence-based … and (currently), the evidence reflects benefits for olive oil, fish, nuts and seeds — so that should be the focus in the diet.”
Dig deeper Chef, dig deeper!
Alright. Ok. Tell me why The Huffington Post is saying: “Yes, Coconut Oil is still healthy. It’s always been healthy”. 
Here’s two sides as they present it:

AHA says: Saturated fats, including coconut oil, can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Full disclosure: Research shows that fats in coconut oil can actually decrease risk factors for heart attack and stroke.2-4

AHA says: Coconut oil raises LDL — your “bad” cholesterol.

Full disclosure: Not all LDL causes damage, and coconut oil can even help decrease levels of overall cholesterol and triglycerides.

AHA says: Coconut oil raises LDL — your “bad” cholesterol.

Full disclosure: Not all LDL causes damage, and coconut oil can even help decrease levels of overall cholesterol and triglycerides.

AHA says: Coconut oil has no known benefits for your health.

Full disclosure: Coconut oil is a powerful antifungal and antibacterial that can also help combat disease and slow aging.

And that’s how the Huffington Post spells it out for me.

Me? I am a Dr. Andrew Weil believer although I was highly disappointed when I met him. I would actually use a word I’ve never used in my blog: he’s a self absorbed prick. But still, what he says makes sense so I will ignore my personal impression of him.

He says: “The reason I recommend avoiding coconut oil in the diet is because it is a highly saturated fat (it’s one of the few saturated fats that doesn’t come from animals). Like other saturated fats, coconut oil can raise cholesterol levels and, therefore, should play only a very limited role, if any, in your diet. In the past, coconut oil was widely used in movie popcorn, candy bars and commercial baked goods but has been phased out of many of these products because of consumer opposition to unhealthy tropical oils”. 

I agree to use coconut oil for cleansing, moisturizing and helping my hair stay healthy and he says I can do that “with no worries that it will get into your body and raise your cholesterol levels”.

So that’s what I’m going with. The concept that the jury is still out and ingesting Coconut Oil requires more studies. You make your own mind up on this one. Too many people, too many sides to the story.

More studies. That’s what is needed. Until then, do what is right for you.

Healthy Happy Eating & Living,


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