Coconut Oil has recently being marketed as a “health” food. Is this plant based oil really “healthy”? There are two types of coconut oil; Virgin and Refined. “Virgin”-This term means the oil is unrefined and not extracted from the coconut using high temperatures or chemicals. “Refined”- This term means the oil comes from dried coconut meat. Refined coconut oil is often bleached and/or chemically bleached. Both “Virgin” and “Refined” Coconut Oil are high in saturated fat. In fact, there more saturated fat is found in Coconut Oil than in butter! Many Processed foods contain coconut oil that is processed that is called Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil. Processing of coconut oil transforms some of the unsaturated fats into trans fats. Trans fats are associated with increased total cholesterol (LDL) “bad” cholesterol. These fats are also associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease. Coconut oil is a plant based oil and therefore contains no cholesterol. It also has some antioxidant properties from its phenolic compounds. Coconut Oil may be beneficial with helping your cholesterol levels, however, more research is needed.
What’s the take home message?
When choosing coconut oil it is recommended to pick “Virgin” coconut oil and consume it in moderation.
Virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid which is a saturated fat that can help raise “good”(HDL) cholesterol but it can also raise “bad” cholesterol as well.