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Is coconut oil healthy or not? All information at a glance!

  1. There has been a lot of talk about coconut oil in recent years. One source claims it is a life-saving panacea, the other claims it is unhealthier than all other fats. What do you do with such a discussion if you just want to eat well? Is coconut oil healthy, or is it disappointing?

  1. In this article we list all arguments for and against coconut oil. This way you can decide for yourself whether you want to (continue to) use it, or whether you prefer alternative options!

  2. In this article we list all arguments for and against coconut oil. This way you can decide for yourself whether you want to (continue) using it, or whether you prefer alternative options!

What is coconut oil?

  1. Coconut oil is the fat that is obtained by squeezing the pulp of the coconut. So it has nothing to do with the coconut milk in the interior of the coconut! Because coconut oil solidifies at room temperature, it is also called coconut oil.

  1. The use of coconut oil has expanded rapidly in recent years. The product is known in many circles as an extremely healthy fat, which you could even eat unlimited. That would be nice of course - but is it also right?

Is coconut oil healthy?

  1. No, says the Nutrition Center, for example. Coconut oil consists of more than 80% saturated fats, more than any other type of fat. Since saturated fats are generally associated with cardiovascular disease, coconut oil is not recommended.

  1. About lauric acid, the fat most celebrated for its benefits, the Nutrition Center is also brief. This increases cholesterol more than all other fats and cannot therefore be considered healthy. All in all, eating coconut oil is therefore not recommended.

  2. The Nutrition Center is also brief about lauric acid, the fat most celebrated for its benefits. This increases cholesterol more than all other fats and cannot therefore be considered healthy. All in all, eating coconut oil is therefore not recommended.

Then why the hype about coconut oil?

  1. But if coconut oil is so unhealthy, then where did that unprecedented rise in popularity come from? The tricky part is that there are also scientific studies that seem to indicate that coconut oil is healthy. The coconut oil superfood camp has picked up those studies to argue just for this fat.

  1. In short, this group assumes that saturated fat is not necessarily bad for you at all. Yes, it does raise your cholesterol - but it doesn't have to be unhealthy. A distinction must be made between different types of cholesterol.

Good cholesterol and bad cholesterol

  1. Cholesterol comes in two varieties: LDL and HDL. LDL, or Low Density Lipids, is the unhealthy variety. A high content of this species does indeed increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. HDL, or High Density Lipids, clears up the LDL. A high level of HDL therefore indicates the risk of problems.

  1. For that reason it makes little sense to look at the total cholesterol level. The ratio between your LDL and HDL is much more important, according to this study, for example. Only then can you predict something about the risk of cardiovascular disease.

  2. For that reason it makes little sense to look at the total cholesterol level. The ratio between your LDL and HDL is much more important, argues this research, for example. Only then can you predict something about the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Lauric acid and cholesterol

  1. So far, all parties in the discussion agree. The disagreement arises over how exactly coconut oil affects those two types of cholesterol! It's clear that lauric acid, the main fat in coconut oil, increases both your HDL and LDL. But what exactly are the effects of that?

  1. Coconut oil advocates say: Because the HDL rises more than the LDL, lauric acid improves the cholesterol ratio. This is supported, for example, by this study, where participants with a coconut oil supplement saw their cholesterol ratio improve more strongly than participants with a soybean oil supplement.

  2. Proponents of coconut oil say: because the HDL rises more than the LDL, lauric acid improves the cholesterol ratio. This is supported, for example, by this study, where participants with a coconut oil supplement saw their cholesterol ratio improve more strongly than participants with a soybean oil supplement.

  1. But according to opponents that is too easy to say. If both the HDL and LDL levels are very high, it is unclear whether that is healthy or unhealthy. In this study, it was concluded that LDL level is a better predictor of cardiovascular disease than HDL level. In that case coconut oil is still not healthy.

  2. But according to opponents, that is too easy to say. If both the HDL and LDL levels are very high, it is unclear whether that is healthy or unhealthy. In this study it was concluded that LDL level is a better predictor of cardiovascular disease than HDL level. In that case coconut oil is still not healthy.

Coconut oil less healthier than butter?

  1. These two views have both been taken up dramatically by the media. A notorious example is the recent uproar after a major investigation concluded that “coconut oil was unhealthier than butter”.

  1. That sounds problematic, but if you look at the research itself, there is something to be said about it. The researchers themselves do not draw that comparison with butter anywhere. It has been mentioned that coconut oil actually increases bad LDL cholesterol less than butter. A typical case of media panic, so.

  1. How healthy or unhealthy coconut oil is, however, remains a little in the middle. In short, there simply isn't enough research into the effect of coconut oil on the heart and blood vessels.

Does coconut oil have other benefits?

  1. What about the countless other benefits attributed to coconut oil? Is coconut oil healthy for reasons other than its effects on your heart? Two advantages that are often mentioned are the antiviral effect of coconut oil and the effect on your weight. But is that correct?

  1. It is often said that coconut oil has an antiviral effect. Indeed, there are studies showing that lauric and capric acids in isolated form can counteract inflammation. The problem? Not all of those studies are equally good, and as said, this is about the fatty acids in isolated form.

  1. In addition, the difference is relatively small in all studies. So yes, it is possible that coconut oil has an antiviral effect. But it may well be that it is not! In any case, the effect is much smaller than that of a generally healthier lifestyle.

  1. Another popular claim: coconut oil helps with weight loss. The reason for this is that coconut oil consists of medium-chain fatty acids, which can be processed more quickly by your body. So they do not have to be stored as fat first. Bingo, says the pro coconut oil camp: you can't get over it.

  1. However, that is far too short. Yes, the fatty acids from coconut oil are 'prioritized' in digestion. However, that also means that they are burned instead of other nutrients! So those other substances end up â € in the queueâ € ™ â € “and if you don't need them, they are still stored as fat.

  1. Coconut oil does not magically cause you to burn more calories or consume less calories. There are studies that seem to prove that you lose weight, but they are often of moderate quality. In addition, they are sometimes facilitated by coconut oil producers… The EFSA has rejected the health claim that you lose weight from coconut oil.

So: coconut oil, yes or no?

  1. So what is the objective state of affairs for the question â € œIs coconut oil healthy? Â € In short, the science is not over yet. There is some evidence that coconut oil is less unhealthy than many other saturated fats. On the other hand, many of these indications have not yet been verified by qualitative research.

  1. Also for secondary benefits, such as antiviral or fat-burning effects, there is simply too little proper research done. Any source that claims these are â € ˜provenâ € ™ benefits is selective with its material.

  1. In addition, not every coconut oil is the same. The variants that you find in the supermarket are often highly refined, which makes it even more difficult to estimate the effects. All in all, therefore, we are not really sure about it.

Should you use coconut oil in your food?

  1. What do you do with that as a consumer? To reassure you, you won't fall dead from a spoonful of coconut oil every now and then. If you use it in moderation, and alternate it with olive oil and other healthy variants, for example, you will be fine anyway.

  1. It might be less sensible to eat buckets of coconut oil a week. Some people throw it in everything from smoothies to soups, as well as spread it like butter on bread. As long as science is not sure whether coconut oil is healthy, you better moderate a little more.

  1. Are you not at all comfortable using coconut oil? Then you can of course simply replace it with unsaturated fats, which you are responsible for anyway. Hopefully more good studies will be published in the coming years that will give us a clearer picture of the advantages and disadvantages of coconut oil!



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