As far as food fads go, the past couple of years have stuffed us full, with healthy trends such as acai bowls and avocado toast having massive surges in popularity. One of the most popular food fads that is gaining traction today is coconut oil, either as a cosmetic product or as a dietary supplement. It finds itself as a substitute for olive or canola oil in cooking, as well as an appetite depressant with potential therapeutic effects. With its distinctive flavor and versatile utility around the home, it’s no surprise that coconut oil has received the popularity it has in recent times. The legitimate health benefits of coconut oil are still to be decided, however, as some studies show real promise in health, such a 2006 study that saw the fatty acids present in coconut oil, ketones, boost brain function in Alzheimer’s patients. Despite growing popularity and an increased focus with medical studies, there still seems to be hesitation on advocating for coconut oil from major organizations such as the American Diabetes Association. This is due to the high amount of saturated fat contained in coconut oil, which has been linked to higher rates of diabetes and heart attacks. Despite this, a scientific consensus has not been reached, and everyone still wants to know the answer: Is coconut oil actually good for you?
One of the most optimistic viewpoints on coconut oil comes from some recent studies that have concluded that saturated fat, the main health hazard in coconut oil, is mostly harmless. Several studies since 2015 have eliminated the connection between saturated fat and heart disease, although they are too preliminary for major organizations like the American Diabetes Association to pick up. On top of that, the saturated fat that is in coconut oil is a medium length triglyceride, meaning it is metabolized differently from more common, longer length fats. This different length is the cause of coconut oil’s therapeutic effects on several brain disorders. Its specific length allows coconut oil to have even more benefits, such as helping you burn more fat and calories, as well as curbing your appetite and even lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Coconut oil has a lot of potential, but the most important obstacle in its way is the lack of real research done about it. Without the time and numbers behind consumption of coconut oil, doctors recommend that you limit yourself to about a tablespoon a day before more studies are done to legitimize it as a true healthy food. While this oil may find its way into many households nowadays, stay informed, limit your consumption, and know the real risks and benefits here with us at Skinny Gene.