Coconut Oil Contains Fatty Acids With Potent Medicinal Properties. Coconut oil is high in healthy saturated fats that have different effects than most other fats in your diet. These special fats are responsible for a lot of the health benefits of coconut oil. Coconut oil is a type of fat that has many health benefits. This article looks at the evidence to determine whether coconut oil is also good for. A Harvard professor called coconut oil “pure poison.” Not everyone takes such a harsh stand.
Oil? Why Coconut
Coconut oil is pressed from the meat of a coconut. It has been used in Africa, Asia and South America for centuries and was routinely used in American processed food in the middle part of the 20th century.
In the s, it was the main source of non-dairy fat in the US diet until it was replaced by vegetable oils, particularly soya bean oil. Priya Tew, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, says: In the long-established pecking order of fats laid down over many years by public health officials, trans fats are classed as the least healthy. The chemical transformation makes them hard for our bodies to process.
They raise levels of bad LDL cholesterol and lower good HDL cholesterol, increasing the risk of developing heart disease and strokes; they are also linked to type 2 diabetes.
In contrast, unsaturated fats are pretty universally accepted as beneficial because they raise levels of good HDL cholesterol. That leaves saturated fats somewhere in the middle. Since the s, the message from public health bodies has been that they raise bad cholesterol, fur up arteries and increase the risk of strokes, heart disease and heart attacks. So where does the idea of coconut oil, one of the richest sources of saturated fat available, being a health food come from?
One branch of evidence often cited by the pro-coconut oil lobby is work done by Dr Marie-Pierre St-Onge, associate professor of nutritional medicine at Cornell University Medical School, in the early s. Her team was looking at the impact on health of medium-chain triglycerides MCTs , a form of fat molecule that has shorter chains of fatty acid than most and which is found in coconut oil in higher concentrations than any other natural food.
In , her team published research comparing the effects of diets rich in MCTs or long-chain triglycerides LCTs on 24 overweight men. She found that eating more MCTs over the month-long study led to losing an extra pound in weight compared with those eating a similar amount of LCTs. Further studies had similar findings. In , she showed that a diet containing MCTs led to more weight loss than a similar diet containing olive oil.
It was a fascinating result and a reminder that not all saturated fats are the same. And it was leapt upon by coconut oil supporters. But the link from these studies to coconut oil was arguably a leap too far.
The rest are traditional LCTs. From recent studies, it seems that it is not. One reason for this cholesterol boost is likely to be the high level of a substance called lauric acid in coconut oil.
The same analysis found it also raised harmful LDL cholesterol. There is nothing unusual about coconut oil in this respect — all saturated fats raise both good HDL and bad LDL cholesterol levels. What seems to matter is the ratio of these two types of cholesterol in our blood.
So while Lauric acid may raise good cholesterol, the increase could be offset by a rise in the bad stuff. Tew points out that not all HDL cholesterol is necessarily good.
The presence of this non-functioning HDL cholesterol and the rise in bad cholesterol when we consume lauric acid could help to explain other studies that show lauric acid in our diets as being associated with an increased risk of heart disease. The theory is that the fat in coconut oil metabolises more quickly than other fats because of the high MCT content.
The United States Department of Agriculture has published estimated production figures for coconut oil as follows; tabulated years are from October 1 through September Coconut oil makes up around 2. The World Health Organization's Codex Alimentarius guidelines on food, food production, and food safety, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization , includes standards for commercial partners who produce coconut oil for human consumption. The Asian and Pacific Coconut Community APCC , whose 18 members produce about 90 per cent of the coconut sold commercially,  has published its standards for virgin coconut oil VCO , defining virgin coconut oil as obtained from fresh, mature coconut kernels through means that do not "lead to alteration of the oil.
The following table provides information about the composition of coconut oil and how it compares with other vegetable oils. Marketing of coconut oil has created the inaccurate belief that it is a "healthy food".
Instead, studies have found that coconut oil consumption has health effects similar to those of other unhealthy fats, including butter , beef fat and palm oil. In a gram reference amount, coconut oil supplies Calories.
Half of the saturated fat content of coconut oil is lauric acid Coconut oil contains phytosterols , whereas there are no micronutrients in significant content table. Other culinary uses include replacing solid fats produced through hydrogenation in baked and confectionery goods. Coconut oil has been used for hair grooming. Coconut oil has been tested for use as a feedstock for biodiesel to use as a diesel engine fuel. In this manner, it can be applied to power generators and transport using diesel engines.
Moderate to severe damage from carbonisation and clogging would occur in an unmodified engine. The Philippines, Vanuatu , Samoa , and several other tropical island countries use coconut oil as an alternative fuel source to run automobiles, trucks, and buses, and to power generators.
Coconut oil has been tested for use as an engine lubricant  and as a transformer oil. Acids derived from coconut oil can be used as herbicides. Coconut oil is an important base ingredient for the manufacture of soap. Soap made with coconut oil tends to be hard, though it retains more water than soap made with other oils and therefore increases manufacturer yields.
It is more soluble in hard water and salt water than other soaps allowing it to lather more easily. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Fatty acid content of coconut oil Type of fatty acid pct Caprylic saturated C8. Coconut Palm Products — Their processing in developing countries. Journal of Applied Sciences. Archived from the original PDF on Food and Agriculture in Papua New Guinea.
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products. Riegel's Handbook of Industrial Chemistry. Retrieved 20 October United States Department of Agriculture.
Food and Agriculture Organization. Asian and Pacific Coconut Community. Archived from the original on Refined coconut oil is typically cheaper and unlikely to have the coconutty flavour and smell. Saturated fat has long been seen as a risk factor for elevated cholesterol and heart disease.
Two tablespoons of coconut oil contain approximately 19g of saturated fat. There is much debate around saturated fat. At present, the same cannot be said for coconut oil, which does not have the same level of scientific evidence to back up the health claims. At 9kcal per gram, fats are the most calorie-dense macronutrient. Fats should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. It has been shown to alleviate some complex skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
Most of the research so far has consisted of short-term studies to examine the effect of coconut oil on cholesterol levels.
Despite the many health claims surrounding coconut oil, it's still probably not the best choice among the many available oils to reduce the risk of heart disease and manage weight. All health content on bbcgoodfood.
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Coconut oil: are the health benefits a big fat lie?
The original Coconut Oil uses and benefits! Use it in recipes and cooking, for skin and hair, in natural remedies and homemade beauty. To date, there are over studies proving coconut oil to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Coconut oil benefits and uses are simply amazing. Many in the coconut oil business promote it as the "good" saturated fat. But "this is a case where facts have been twisted into fiction," states Dr. Jay Kenney.