Did You Know #1: Is Coconut Oil Healthy?

 

Hiiiii-day. It’s Friiiiday! It still amazes me how fast the weekend comes when there’s a snow day thrown into your work week. It still makes Friday feel ah-mazing. Never gets old.

 

 

Even after all that huffin, puffin, and shufflin the snow yesterday, I still had the energy to power through my Insanity workout for the day. Hooray for being able to find any video on the world wide web nowadays. Gym membership? Psshhh. Google ain’t got nothin’ on you Planet Fitness.

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Now that I got my selfie out of the way for the day let’s get down to bid-ness. Today is quite the special day in the world of Sinful Nutrition. I am linking up with my good blends Amanda and Emily for a little event we like to call “Did You Know…”

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After becoming an RD and landing my first job in the real world. My learning, studying, and catching up on the latest health trends, research, and diet claims have taken to the back burner. As in to a stand still. My job doesn’t require a lot of nutrition to be honest, since it is more of a management position. Being the nutrition geek and lover of learning that I am I wanted to find a way to do some nutrition research and share with the wonderful world of…YOU!

I was inspired from Em’s weekly ‘Did You Know’ posts that she does every Friday, which lead me to reach out to her and Amanda to join in on the fun since they are both involved in nutrition like moi. And thus the link up was birthed.

So for my first post, I’m talking all about coconut ol. Woops, got a little Southern on you after watching too much Paula.

Coconut Oil.

After all this hype about the miracle of coconut oil, I wanted to get right on to seeing what it was all about.

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Health Claims

So what’s all this hype about? Coconut oil has recently exploded on the market and carries a lot of health claims to go with it. From protecting against illnesses, controlling blood sugar, boosting metabolism, help digestion, treat Alzheimer’s, to moisturizing skin…the list goes on. Before you go grabbing for a spoonful of this nutrition wonder, let’s put a little lime in the coconut first..

Types of Coconut Oil

There are a few different types of coconut oil out there, virgin, refined, and partially hydrogenated.

Much like olive oil virgin coconut oil is the healthiest since it is unrefined without the use of chemicals or high heat to extract from the coconut. It has a slightly sweet flavor and is best used for medium heat and baking.

Refined coconut oil is extracted from dried coconut which is more often chemically bleached. It has a neutral flavor and is better for higher heats and any dish you don’t want to add flavor to.

Partially hydrogenated is…stop. Just stop there. Avoid at all costs! ANY partially hydrogenated oil equals trans fat which is the worst of all. Make sure to read your labels and avoid any foods containing it.

Saturated Fat

We’ve all heard it’s bad for us. Butter, eggs, ice cream, should be limited because of the saturated fat which can raise LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol which contributes to heart disease (Rewind back to my Monday post for some French insight to that). Take a look at coconut oil’s stats and you’ll find that it is a prime suspect in the sat fat world. It is roughly 90% saturated fat as compared to butter with what looks like a meager 64%. So how is it healthier than butter?

I won’t get to all the scientific mumbo jumbo with stearic and palmitic acid, it basically boils down to the difference between coming from plants or animals. Since coconut oil comes from a plant the saturated fat digests differently than what is found in butter. Some studies have shown that coconut oil raises your healthy cholesterol and lower your bad cholesterol.

Bottom Line.

So if you scrolled down to this point like I do on a lot of research articles, here’s the down low. There are no significant studies that link eating coconut oil with treating Alzheimer’s disease. There are studies that have shown that is may help lower cholesterol levels and raise your healthy cholesterol levels…But there are some limitations. A lot of the countries studied who use coconut oil regulary, ALSO consume a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and fish, and little to no refined sugars or processed foods. Coincidence? I think not.

While there is still some debate whether or not coconut oil is actually better for you despite it’s high levels of saturated fat, it is clearly proven than vegetable oils such as olive safflower, and sunflower are beneficial to preventing heart disease and improving cholesterol levels.

My thoughts.

Personally, I have never even tasted the stuff. I’ve heard it is delicious, but so is butter so I’ll stick to the key dietitian phrase of moderation. It is still a saturated fat and high in calories (113 in 1 tablespoon), but can still be a part of any diet. If it came down to it, I would still use a sunflower oil over coconut if looking for a high heat cooking oil, but it can serve as an alternative to butter or shortening in baking since it is solid at room temperature. It is also a good moisturizer so use the virgin coconut oil on skin instead of lotion and even shaving cream.

There you have it, my first Did you know post! If you were interested, my research was found from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, University of California at Berkley, and Harvard Medical Center… And also Dr. Oz for all those health claims.

Everything you need to know about coconut oil | sinfulnutrition.com

Here’s the link up so feel free to add your own and explore all the other great topics!

Join in an awesome nutrition link-up happening at 3 different blogs the first Friday of each month! 

Connect with the lovely hostesses:

Amanda at Diary of a Semi-Health Nut

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Emily at More Than Just Dessert

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Emily at Sinful Nutrition

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Happy Friday!

Do you use coconut oil?

Did you know all of these facts?

11 thoughts on “Did You Know #1: Is Coconut Oil Healthy?

  1. Nice work!!! Smart to point out that it is other countries with better diets that the research is coming from for example….did you know 80% of drug addicts can read? so reading leads to being a drug addict! …. okay not really! But numbers can say a lot of things, so its always good to link sources!

  2. Hey Emily,

    Thanks for taking the time to write this, not going to lie I jumped on the “miracle train” and have a big jar of this stuff in the cabinet unused! Going to use it eventually but it sound like it may just be a good oil for some unique flavor and texture profiles!

    Awesome Read,

    Zach

  3. Thanks for the enlightenment! I was so believing all the hype that it was so good for you and have been using it to cook my eggs with in the mornings. Maybe I’ll just stick with the olive oil and use the coconut oil for the body!

  4. Hey Emily,

    Nice article presented here and nicely done with Carlton banks. About coconut oil, that stuff is magical(well mainly because I like the taste), but still only needs to be used in moderation. Great job of pointing out why it could be useful in certain situations to prevent ppl from using other choices that are far worse.

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