JUN 21, 2017 2:57 PM PDT

Coconut Oil is as Unhealthy as Beef Fat and Butter

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

In the past few years, coconut oil emerged as a source of natural and healthy fat. It smells good, it tastes good, and it has a high melting temperature, which means it doesn't burn as easily. In addition, a study in 2003 found that coconut oil has medium chain fatty acids that can help adults burn fat. Thus, it's not surprising to see the coconut oil trend take off.

But, a recent study by the American Heart Association found that coconut oil isn't so healthy after all. In fact, they found that coconut oil contains 82 percent saturated fat, which is above the saturated fat content found in butter (63 percent), beef fat (50 percent), and pork lard (39 percent). Saturated fat is the kind that raises LDL cholesterol, which can build up in your arteries like oil sludge in a car engine.

"Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD [cardiovascular disease], and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil," the American Heart Association said in the Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory.

It's not all for naught, though. Coconut oil may still offer good moisturizing benefits for the hair and body; just don't over-consume this stuff thinking you're being healthy.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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