What the Coconut is Going On?

COCONUT

To some, the news about coconut oil is making people go nutty

Newsflash y’all – Coconut oil isn’t great for you – and it never has been.

In case you have been living in a hole, let me bring you the latest. The American Heart Association (AHA) just released their recommendations on fat intake and Cardiovascular Disease in their Presidential Advisory. Let’s get something straight though – fats are necessary to the diet. But like anything else, it’s the type of fat that we need to look out for. If you need a refresher in fats – check out my Fats, Debunked post.

Saturated Fat and Heart Health

Seeing as cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, the AHA is doing everything it can to educate and try to reduce this disease. In their recent findings, the AHA found that replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats (see, you are still eating fats, just better fats) can lower your risk for CVD by 30%.

30%!!!

That’s huge. That is about the same reduction amount that you will see with popular medications (statins like crestor, lipitor, zocor that reduce cholesterol).

This is just more reinforcement that dietary changes can have huge effects and should be your first line of treatment. Another one of my favorite quotes is:

“If the diet is wrong, the medicine is of no use. If the diet is correct, the medicine is of no use”

Saturated fats are thrown into the “bad fat” category, along with trans fats. While they do occur naturally, unlike most trans fats, they are responsible for increasing your LDL cholesterol (we want this number to be less than 100) – which we don’t want to happen. It is recommended that you consume no more than 100 calories of saturated fat per day.

Coconut Oil – What You Should Know

Coconut oil is 82% saturated fat. That is higher than butter, lard and beef fat. Let that sink in for a minute. That is a LOT of saturated fat. According to the AHA’s Presidential Advisory, in 7 out of 7 controlled trials that compared coconut oil to unsaturated (both poly and mono) fats – coconut oil RAISED LDL CHOLESTEROL. In case you didn’t get that – coconut oil increases your bad cholesterol, 100% of the time.

How Did So Many People Think Coconut Oil Was So Healthy?

According to the AHA report, 72% of Americans surveyed said coconut oil was a health food. I’m not sure how this message got construed so much. Coconut oil is almost 100% saturated fat – and it’s not like this is new news. It always has been!

Am I telling you to throw out all of your coconut oil and curse its name? No! Like I say with most things – moderation. The AHA recommended 6% or less of your daily caloric intake to be from saturated fats. Fats are definitely needed in your diet – it just may be time to switch to an unsaturated form.

So What Can I Do With Coconut Oil?

Instead of putting coconut oil into your body – try putting it ON your body! I use coconut oil on my kids’ butts for diaper rash. You can use it on your feet for cracked heels, in your hair for conditioner, or even a makeup remover

Education is power – just remember to try to keep your fat intakes to polyunsaturated or monounsaturated forms. And as always, keep asking questions!

Lindsey