Coconut Oil - A Good Choice? - December 2017

coconuts

Coconut oil has gained popularity as a healthful choice with the public. A recent survey in the New York Times found that 72% of North Americans believe coconut oil was a “healthy food,” compared to only 37% of nutritionists.

What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is made from pressed coconut extracted from the meat of the fruit. The saturated fat content is 82 percent, which is higher than beef or butter and 11 times the saturated fat in canola oil. It comes in both refined and unrefined versions.  The refined version is more processed and is better for cooking at high temperatures, while the unrefined version, also known as virgin coconut oil, has a stronger taste and richer flavour.  Some of the positive characteristics of coconut oil include having a shelf life of up to one year, a nutty flavour for baking, and a high smoke point. A negative is that coconut oil does not have the vitamins or the polyphenol antioxidant found in extra virgin olive oil.

Is coconut oil a healthy choice?
Evidence on the long-term health benefits of coconut oil is lacking, according to Walter Willett of Harvard University. While coconut oil is made up of medium-chained saturated fat (MCSF), which may increase the 'good' HDL cholesterol, EatRight Ontario reports that this has not been confirmed by research. It has also been pointed out that research is inconclusive regarding the total cholesterol to HDL ratio which is a more important predictor of cardiovascular disease risk.

The following claims made about coconut oil include:
Cardiovascular disease - there is currently a lack of agreement on the role of saturated fats in heart disease. A subset of researchers do not see saturated fats as being associated with heart disease and stroke but the American Heart Association (AHA) and other organizations disagree and promote limiting saturated fat. The AHA reports that coconut oil increases the bad LDL cholesterol in the same way as other foods high in saturated fat like butter, and “has no known offsetting effects.” The organization states that “Taking into consideration the totality of the scientific evidence, satisfying rigorous criteria for causality, we conclude strongly that lowering intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, will lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease.” Saturated fat increases the body’s amount of 'bad cholesterol' or 'LDL cholesterol'.  Arteries can become blocked if there is too much LDL or bad cholesterol, and this blockage can lead to heart disease. With regards to coconut oil, the AHA cited seven controlled trials where coconut oil raised LDL cholesterol.

Weight loss  - Today’s Dietitian reports that there are few high-quality studies using humans. While some studies have found that taking coconut oil supplements with a low calorie-diet may reduce belly fat, there is not enough evidence to make the recommendation to take coconut oil supplements to help with weight loss. Since one tablespoon is 115 kcal, using a great deal of coconut oil is not a good way to reduce calories.

Other conditions - According to EatRight Ontario, no evidence supports the use of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or viral infections. 

Proponents of coconut oil 
Robin Foroutan, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, disagrees with the American Heart Association’s avoidance of coconut oil and highlights the benefits. While coconut oil is a saturated fat, she states that: 
It can be cardioprotective, reduce inflammation and contribute to brain health. 
A link between coconut oil and heart disease has not been shown. 
Because of genetic individuality, it is difficult to give generalized advice against coconut oil. 
Proponents of coconut oil cite studies of Indigenous populations from the Pacific Islands who consume a lot of coconuts yet have low rates of heart disease. These people, however, have a traditional diet rich in fish, fruits, and vegetables, which is not the typical Western diet. 

Proponents of using coconut oil occasionally: 
EatRight Ontario suggests using coconut oil once and a while in small amounts. Any type of oil, whether or not it is coconut oil, can cause weight gain. Instead, they advocate choosing oils with an evidence base such as canola and olive oils which are mostly heart healthy. 
Today’s Dietitian website quotes Libby Mills, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who states that coconut oil should not be used to excess. She also notes that high-heat damages oil. Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees, which is 50 degrees lower than extra-virgin olive oil. With damaged oil, the fat breaks down and free radicals are formed which can damage cell walls. This damage has been linked to cancer, can result in inflammation, and can be an underlying factor in cardiovascular disease. 
Walter Willett suggests using coconut oil occasionally e.g., for flavour in Thai food or in baking.  Willett ranks coconut oil in the middle when compared to other fats – above partially hydrogenated oils but not as good as the more unsaturated plant oils with proven benefits e.g., olive and canola oil. 

According to Assistant Professor Dr. Qi Sun of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, coconut oil has unique qualities (half lauric acid which seems to raise HDL or good cholesterol more than other saturated fats), but he points out that the evidence is limited to support the health benefits of these unique qualities. Willett points out another complication is that there are many forms of HDL which have different health consequences, and the role of HDL is under debate. Willett says we don’t know for sure that higher HDL is better. 

The Dietitians Association of Australia suggests that people who use lots of coconut oil put a cap on the amount or try blending it with some monounsaturated oils such as olive, canola or avocado oil. 

Source: CNN website, The Globe and Mail website, EatRight Ontario website, Dietitians Association of Australia website, Harvard Health website, American Heart Association website, The Kitchn website





Float Body and Mind Wellness in Penticton

Copyright © 2004- 2011 OKinHealth.com. This article is of the copyright of OK in Health and the author; any reproduction, duplication and transmission of the article are to have prior written approval by OK in Health or the author.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER
This information and research is intended to be reliable, but its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All material in this article is provided for information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this newsletter / e-magazine / website. Readers should consult their doctor and other qualified health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided in this newsletter / e-magazine/website are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the authors. Readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. The publisher is not responsible for any errors or omissions. OK in Health is not responsible for the information in these articles or for any content included in this article which is intended as a guide only and should not be used as a substitute to seeking professional advice from either your doctor or a registered specialist for yourself or anyone else.
Connect with Us
facebook    twitter

Celtic Healings Intuitive Readings with Maria O'Farrell Carr


Wellness Tip
Kids in Cars
Children die every year as a result of being left alone in or around a motor vehicle. With the warmer months upon us, use special caution to ensure that children are not left alone in a vehicle. A car is not a babysitter! Protect your precious cargo.


Celtic Healings Intuitive Readings with Maria O'Farrell Carr


Wellness Directory
Ashley Piderman ~ Registered Acupuncturist ~ Vernon, BC
Specialty: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine
Ashley Piderman is a Registered Acupuncturist with the CTCMA and works out of the Vero Health Naturopathic Care in Vernon, BC.
View Details


Celtic Healings Intuitive Readings with Maria O'Farrell Carr


Event
Ireland Gaia Tour with Bridgetta Tomarchio & Maria O'Farrell Carr
Date: May 19, 2018
Location: Ireland
Connecting your Mind, Body and Spirit in Ireland. Time to De-Stress, Relax & have some CRAIC (fun)! Come back from vacation feeling and looking Fabulous!
View Details


Celtic Healings Intuitive Readings with Maria O'Farrell Carr


Article
Cold & Flu Busters: The Natural Approach, Part Two
A number of herbs can be used to prevent and treat cold & flu. A continuation of Cold & Flu Busters: The Natural Approach.
Full Article


Bodysentials - Youth Nutritional Product - Before and After school shakes


Recipe
Manchego, Apple and Almond Salad with Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette
Category: Salads
Description: Apples and cheese make a classic combination, here updated with Manchego cheese and the addition of Marcona almonds. A lemon-honey dressing pairs perfectly with the flavors of the nuts, fruit, cheese and greens. Delicious with a strong flavored honey, such as chestnut or buckwheat.
Full Recipe


Celtic Healings Intuitive Readings with Maria O'Farrell Carr