If you keep up with headlines and news associated with coconut oil, you likely know that there is an ongoing debate about coconut oil and cholesterol. In this blog, we’ll address some of the most important facts you should know.
The nutritional value of coconut oil
These are the quick facts you should know about coconut oil, from a nutritional standpoint. First, it contains nearly 13.5 grams of fat (11.2 of which are saturated fat) per tablespoon. It also contains approximately 0.8 grams of monounsaturated fat and approximately 3.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat; both of these are considered “healthy” fats. Coconut oil is also high in vitamin E and polyphenols but does not contain cholesterol.
What experts and research say
According to some experts, it is best to avoid coconut oil because it contains high levels of saturated fat (which is known to raise cholesterol). Other experts say that the structure of the fat (medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs)) in coconut oil makes it less likely to contribute to body fat buildup because your body’s cells use MCFAs efficiently by burning them for energy while storing very little fat; according to these experts, coconut oil is healthy and can actually improve your cholesterol profile.
Furthermore, one study compared the effects butter, coconut oil, and safflower oil have on cholesterol levels.This particular study found coconut oil to be effective at lowering “bad” LDL and triglyceride levels and raising “good” HDL levels.
Does good cholesterol exist?
Unfortunately, at this point, reports are still rather conflicting about whether coconut oil can help maintain healthy cholesterol, lower “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, and/or raise “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. That being said, you will find that some experts argue that labeling cholesterol as good or bad oversimplifies the molecule which is actually very important for synthesizing vitamin D and hormones while also maintaining cell structure.
It is true that some fats raise cholesterol and others lower it, but even when saturated fat does raise cholesterol, the type of cholesterol becomes of more importance than the cholesterol itself. According to some studies, saturated fat raises LDL (“bad” cholesterol”) but also improves the quality of LDL by increasing its size and making it less likely to lead to heart disease. Saturated fat also raises HDL “good” cholesterol.
While research hasn’t been definitive and is still being conducted (and debated), it does currently show that coconut oil contains higher amounts of saturated fat which does increase total cholesterol. But, that doesn’t have to be alarming, as these higher amounts of saturated fats do not increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.
That being said, if your cholesterol is of concern to you, contact your doctor to discuss your nutrition and dietary habits or needs. You can also ask your doctor about incorporating Skinny Coconut Oil into your diet if you have any questions about its health benefits and what research is currently out there about coconut oil and cholesterol.