The Good and the Bad on Coconut Oil: Buyer Beware

The Good and the Bad on Coconut Oil: Buyer Beware

Is coconut an angel or the devil? It depends on your point of view, but experts say it may be have horns.

Coconut products are all the rage. This gift from the gods comes in all forms from coconut water, to coconut oil and the raw goods. The crowds can’t seem to get enough. Everyone’s thirsty for more.

In fact, the popularity of coconut products has hit such a height that Madonna has invested $1.5 million in Vita Coco coconut water, making it so fashionable that even your dog will be begging for a drip at the table.

The Benefits

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What makes this tropical ingredient so magical, then?

Some people find the health benefits of coconut to be so great, they’ve labeled it a superfood.

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It’s said to be one of the richest sources of energy around, to have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, to fight off infection, reduce your appetite and help you lose weight, improve your blood cholesterol, act as a sunscreen for your hair and skin, and to be something that can help you target abdominal fat while fighting off bad breath and improving your teeth. Quite the list.

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But not everyone agrees. Exactly who? Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver, told healthline.com he believes it’s not always a good idea to jump on the coconut train-flashy and fun as it may seem.

The Problems

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Basically, Dr. Freeman believes that some coconut products are bad. It’s not in our best interest to start eating coconut oil in particular, he says. And the fact that it’s sold by the tub at Costco kind of worries him.

The problem lies in our existing diet. The typical North American diet is already so high in rich processed cheeses and meats that adding in another potent fat can spell trouble.

Freeman said he believes that coconut oil simply clogs our arteries. So, buyer beware.

Walter C. Willett, M.D. of the Harvard School of Public Health also feels that eating coconut oil is dangerous.

“Coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat, which is a higher percentage than butter (about 64% saturated fat), beef fat (40%), or even lard (also 40%),” he says.

“Too much saturated fat in the diet is unhealthy because it raises “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease. So it would seem that coconut oil would be bad news for our hearts.”

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If you’re vegan or eating a diet that’s quite low in fat and you need a solid source of oil, sure, spring for some of that tropical, white flesh.

But if you’re already eating meat, potatoes, cheese and other sources of all-America pride, you might want to think twice.

Stick to the water, and dabble in the oil in moderation, to play it safe. Your bikini body, and your heart, will likely thank you.

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