Cary Booth Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist

Cary Booth
Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist

There has been a lot of hype lately about coconut oil. Some of us are even dropping a spoonful in coffee to make ourselves bullet-proof (kind of) in the morning. This oil has gone from being labeled very bad for us because of saturated fat (about 90%) to the panacea for all things good and healthy in a diet.

Let’s break down the facts of what’s really true about coconut oil.

Lauric acid makes up most of the fat in coconut oil. This acid actually does increase cholesterol (Kris-Etherton et al., 2007). However, it increases the good cholesterol called HDL or high density lipoproteins. This HDL, in general terms, help to reduce the build-up of plaque formed by the ‘bad’ cholesterol or low-density lipo-proteins that clog our veins. However, this does not mean it will scrub your veins clean. It will most likely have a mildly beneficial effect on your blood lipids (fats).

That being said, keep in mind that oils high in either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fatty acid provide and even greater health benefit than coconut oil.  These include safflower, poppy seed, flaxseed and grapeseed (polyunsaturated) and almond, avocado and olive oils (monounsaturated).

If you use partially hydrogenated coconut oil it undermines any partial benefits and actually become detrimental to your health due to its high trans fatty acid content. Check your labels.