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5 Coconut oil facts you should know

By Brian Syuki From Care2

Coconut oil is “pure poison”.

Karin Michels Ph.D., a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, uttered those words. She went on to declare that coconut oil is one of the worst foods you can eat. In fact, she’s not the only one who has taken a strong stand against coconut oil.

The American Heart Association (AHA) warns against coconut oil, saying it increases LDL cholesterol, which leads to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Both Karin and the AHA have received backlash from the “natural health” community. Some of the arguments natural health enthusiasts make are convincing. For example, they point out that there are fewer cases of heart attacks in cultures where people cook with coconut oil.

Raw White Organic Coconut OIl for Baking


Many nutrition experts agree that coconut oil is overhyped. Consider these facts about coconut oil before declaring it a superfood.

1. Coconut Oil May Not Enhance Weight Loss

Many believe that coconut oil can help them lose weight effortlessly. That’s because coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which have been shown to boost metabolism.

What you may not know is that studies use “designer oil”, which contains 100 percent MCTs. Coconut oil, on the other hand, only contains 13 to 15 percent MCTs. Unfortunately, small doses of MCTs don’t enhance weight loss, according to research.

2. Refined Coconut Oil May Not Improve Heart Health

It’s true that people in island cultures have a lower risk of heart disease, but they usually consume coconut flesh, coconut cream and homemade coconut oil. Most of the coconut oil in the grocery stores is highly refined, which means it may not offer heart-boosting benefits.

It’s also worth noting that these cultures eat lots of heart-healthy foods such as vegetables, tubers and fruits.

3. There’s a Huge Difference Between Humans and Mice

Most of the supposed benefits of coconut oil are based on animal studies. Even though mice are omnivorous like us, our bodies work differently. For instance, mice can produce their own vitamin C, while humans have to get it from food sources.

Just because coconut oil has been proven beneficial in animal studies doesn’t mean it’ll offer the same benefits in humans.

4. Health Institutes and Nutritionists Say it’s Not a Superfood

A recent survey showed that 72 percent of the American public considers coconut oil a “health food” while only 32 percent of nutritionists share the same opinion.

As I mentioned earlier, the AHA doesn’t think coconut oil is good for your health, since it increases LDL cholesterol.

5. Coconut Oil Has a Low Smoking Point

Coconut oil is not suitable for high-temperature cooking, because it has a smoke point of 350 degrees F. You’re better off using peanut oil, organic canola oil or avocado oil, which have higher smoke points.

My goal is not to stop you from ever using coconut oil. I just want to bring to light these valid arguments that coconut oil enthusiasts often ignore, so you can make an informed decision about how much coconut oil is right for you.

Photos via Getty Images

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