There’s no denying that coconut oil is everywhere these days. Projected as a multi-purpose health booster that somehow lowers your cholesterol, moisturizes your skin and whitens your teeth, I instantly jumped on the bandwagon and stocked up on this “magical” oil.
While I was doing all the oil pulling, baking and smoothie making one can do with coconut oil, something kept nagging at me. The hype seemed too good to be true. Is eating coconut oil actually as healthy as it seems?
The serving size of coconut oil (one tablespoon) has 117 calories and 13.6g total fat (11.8 grams saturated), but don’t clutch your heart just yet.
The saturated fat in coconut oil isn’t the same as what’s found in lard. Instead, it consists primarily of lauric acid, which kills off bacteria, and MCFAs (medium chain fatty acids), which are burned as fuel rather than stored as fat.
So coconut oil really is magical, right?
Unfortunately, coconut oil has its cons. While it does raise HDL levels in your body (the good cholesterol), it also increases LDL levels. LDL cholesterol is the artery clogging, heart attack-inducing bad kind of cholesterol. You can clutch your heart a little on that note.
The key to coconut oil is to use it in moderation. It’s a calorie-dense food that can lead to weight gain and heart troubles when consumed in excess. If used in small amounts, coconut oil has a multitude of nutritional benefits, plus it’s a healthy replacement for butter in cooking and baking.
Try it out for yourself: