Is Coconut Oil Bad For You?
In recent years, there has been a lot of hype and buzz surrounding the benefits of coconut oil. It is often mentioned in television advertisements and featured in cooking magazines. Is coconut oil good for you? If you are like most people, the simple answer is yes. The real question is whether it is healthy for you to eat a lot of it.
Coconut oil is naturally high in saturated fats, which raise bad cholesterol and also triglyceride levels. The cholesterol in saturated fat is more of a “bad boy” variety than a “good girl” variety. Some people argue that the high levels of saturated fat may be beneficial to the heart. But, it is also generally acknowledged that eating a high level of saturated fat is unhealthy. Indeed, many in the medical profession recommend that no person should consume more than a half pound of saturated fat per day. Indeed, many in the coconut oil industry to promote it as a “miracle” saturated fat, because it contains all of the necessary fatty acids.
But, the cholesterol levels in coconut oil are not that different from other vegetable oils. Why is this so? Is it that coconut meat contains very low levels of saturated fats, while all vegetable oils are very high? Or, is it that it is the total fat content of the product that makes it less healthy for you to consume than other vegetable oils?
One of the most cited health benefits of coconut oil is its ability to keep cholesterol levels down. This is certainly true. Dr. Kenney’s research shows that when livers from monkeys were fed high amounts of a fatty acid called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), they had lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels than livers from people who did not eat the fatty acid. EPA is partially produced by our bodies, but what happens when we consume large amounts of it is that it gets converted to EPA-DHA and then to EPA acetate. This is how coconut oil bad for you turns into good cholesterol.
However, there are some reasons why consuming coconut oil bad for you may be a bad idea. The first is that long-chain saturated fatty acids are partially hydrogenated, which means that they have a short chain of carbon atoms attached to each carbon. When these chains are broken down in your body, they tend to pull the bad cholesterol into your blood stream instead of leaving it where it belongs. Long-chain saturated fats are also known to interact with your body’s enzymes, increasing the rate at which they are converted to cholesterol. You can see how this could help to increase your risk of heart disease.
However, the benefits of consuming this kind of fat are limited. It is actually better to eat other kinds of saturated fatty acid, such as those found in fish and nuts. You might think that by eating more stearic acid you are going to get more cholesterol, but this is not the case. Stearic acid is actually a plant sterol, which is different from the saturated fatty acid. So eating more stearic acid does not increase your risk of heart problems.
Instead, the benefits of consuming coconut oil is that it is high in unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are much healthier than saturated fats, so consuming more of them is actually good for you. This is probably why Dr. Kenney recommends it: because it has twice the amount of unsaturated fat that olive oils has. The only way that you will ingest too much unsaturated fat is if you eat a lot of animal products, especially meat and butter. Eating any sort of saturated fat, saturated or polyunsaturated, is actually dangerous for your health, especially for people who already have high cholesterol counts.
So what’s the problem with consuming stearic acid? According to Dr. Kenney, it is a “bio-active” fat, which means that it can be converted into other kinds of fats. These other fats are not very healthy: they tend to raise cholesterol levels. They can also clog blood vessels, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. This is why Dr. Kenney recommends consuming other kinds of unsaturated fats instead, like coconut oil. If you would like to learn more about other alternative saturated fats, including the benefits and the negatives of each type, check out the website mentioned below.