Good Oil? Healthy Oil?
For the everyday American, oils are usually used in most diets, recipes, and labelled on most food products we see on our shelves. However, the type of oils we include in our diets for a healthier lifestyle pend on what’s available, what we hear from social media/news sources/professionals, what’s financially feasible. and whether we like the taste or not. Unfortunately, when the world speaks of something “trendy” or “hip” we as humans want to take the world up on its offer and assume that if the majority of people are using it, then it has some truth to it – sadly this isn’t always true and in the long term of things, it doesn’t always hold weight to follow a pack (doing your own research does wonders- even in small doses).
Coconut oil has been and is one of those oils that the world spoke very highly about in replacing the canola and vegetable oils because of it being a healthier alternative to the oils that we know don’t offer any nutritional value. All the while coconut oil does have its benefits, but it also holds risk — and much like anything else. should be used in moderation for good health practices. I for one, will admit that I bought and used coconut oil in the past for a long streak of time — it was something new to try and explore and I wanted to experiment with it & I didn’t at the time do the proper research to know that while it was a healthy alternative –there were things that I needed to know / to take into consideration before entertaining this new fad. Now that I am better educated and more versed on the positives and negatives of this particular oil, I want to share my research with others in order to help individuals make better choices and understand the benefits it has but also make them aware of the risk it might have on our bodies as well.
For starters, coconut oil is mostly made up of saturated fats (which we know of as the “bad” fat) – whereas unsaturated fats are the healthier form of fats found in fish, nuts, seeds, etc. The AHA – American Heart Association made a claim that Americans should consider replacing their saturated fats with more unsaturated fats. Also claiming that those who are at risk of heart disease / cardiovascular disease should consume 6% of saturated fats compared to not at risk individuals who should consume no more than 10% of saturated fats –Harvard Blog
Personally this makes sense to me, considering the fact that unsaturated fats help to reduce bad LDL cholesterol.
Now the health claims that are made about coconut oil are true as far as benefits go to a certain extent, but the type of coconut oil sold on shelves is NOT the same formulated coconut oil that professionals speak on when stating these claims in ALL cases so we have to be aware that there are different forms of coconut oil in how it is made — making it harder for us consumers to understand what all we are getting when we buy it from our store shelves. Which brings me to my next point – the type of coconut oil sold on shelves usually has what is called “lauric acid” – which is said to have health benefits where it raises HDL cholesterol levels as well as the LDL. Harvard blog
Based on the information I have read from various studies, professional blogs, and articles – coconut oil is neither a superfood nor poison – which means we need to treat coconut oil with the same respect as we do with most of our food products: use it in moderation/sparingly, read the food label of the coconut oil you buy from our supermarkets (look up ingredients you don’t know), be curious and research the product, and try to follow healthy food guidelines when consuming this product.