Coconut Oil: Worth the Hype?
If you use the Internet at all (let’s face it – if you’re like most people, you use it far more than you intend to), then you’ve no doubt heard about the supposed health benefits of coconut oil. Proponents claim a large number of such benefits, including promoting heart health, clearing acne, boosting metabolism, and detoxing your body. But is it really all it’s cracked up to be? The answer, it turns out, is not simple. Coconut oil has its pros and cons:
Coconut oil is a healthy medium chain saturated fat; these fats are essential to a healthy diet and are known to help with weight loss and promote heart health. It tastes great and is satisfying and filling, meaning you may eat less overall. It may also increase your HDL (good) cholesterol. Coconut oil is also highly versatile – you can use it to moisturise your skin and hair in addition to cooking with it and using it in place of butter or other oils. You need a certain amount of fat in your diet, and as such, coconut oil is clearly one of the best options you can choose.
One problem with coconut oil is that believing what they read about coconut oil’s healing properties; people may turn to it as an alternative treatment for diseases such as Alzheimer’s or diabetes. Replacing traditional medical treatment with holistic therapies can be dangerous, especially when scientific studies showing effectiveness are lacking. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association says that while some people share anecdotal evidence of how coconut oil has helped them or their loved ones, there has actually been no clinical testing and no evidence that it works.
Also, it’s important to realise that coconut oil is still a fat and a processed one at that. If you open a fresh coconut, what’s inside bears little to no resemblance to what you find in the jar on the supermarket shelf.
There’s no evidence that coconut oil is the miracle food many claim – but it’s still among the healthier fats you can choose. Replacing the unhealthy oils you eat with pure virgin coconut oil is probably a good move, as long as you don’t have overblown expectations of what it can do for you.