If you Google “coconut oil,” you’ll see a slew of stories touting the alleged health benefits of this solid white fat, which is easy to find in supermarkets these days. But how can something that’s chock-full of saturated fat — a known culprit in raising heart disease risk — be good for you?
Coconut does have some unique qualities that enthusiasts cite to explain its alleged health benefits. But the evidence to support those claims is very thin, says Dr. Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
When most people talk about coconut oil, they immediately think of it as saturated fat and are labeled as a sin food. However, the biggest difference between it and other fats is that it contains 62% of the medium-bonded fatty acids (lauric acid, caprylic acid, decanoic acid) that are beneficial to the human body. acid)
These middle-bonded fatty acids are also one of the main components in breast milk, which are easy to digest and inhibit fat accumulation. Note 9. Antibacterial. Note 10 and rapid conversion into energy, which are very different from the fatty acids of general animal origin
Coconut oil has been used for food and medicine in history. Studies have shown that people living in tropical countries whose main food is coconut products are healthier and have fewer cardiovascular problems. Note 8
Therefore, coconut oil is not an evil food recognized by the mainstream, and most people should agree with this statement.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat, can cause cardiovascular disease? (No obvious connection)
It is generally believed that saturated fat is related to heart disease, and because coconut oil is also a saturated fat, it is often judged to have the same risk
A controlled study showed (for a period of 2 years, with hundreds of coronary heart disease patients receiving conventional treatment), compared to sunflower oil (unsaturated fatty acids), using coconut oil for cooking does not increase any cardiovascular disease risks and events The change (related to lipids). Note 1
Several epidemiological or case-control studies also show that the types of fats ingested from the diet (including coconut sources) cannot be used as indicators to predict cardiovascular events (disease is instead related to animal products, total protein intake, dietary cholesterol and Lower intake of fruits and vegetables). Note 2-Note 3
Therefore, we cannot simply deny that a certain oil is saturated fat, nor can it be a good oil because it is a multi-element or monounsaturated fatty acid. The quality of an oil depends on the type of fatty acid in it, not simply by its saturation.
＊Coconut oil contains a variety of middle-bonded fatty acids that are beneficial to the human body, such as lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid
Is coconut oil easy to cause obesity? (The right amount is the key)
Coconut oil is different from common fats and oils. It contains about 64% of medium-chain triacylglycerols.
A meta-analysis pointed out that, compared with the common long-chain fatty acids in the diet, medium-bonded fatty acids have an excellent heat-generating effect and can help the body consume more calories. Note 4
The underlying mechanism is related to the fact that the middle bond fatty acid can directly pass through the portal vein of the liver, penetrate the mitochondrial cell membrane and generate energy (and long bond requires more steps to achieve)
Another systematic review (including 11 studies) and meta-analysis pointed out that replacing fats in the diet with medium-bonded fatty acids can help reduce weight and body fat. Note 5
Although coconut oil has related fat-reducing effects, like other fats, 1 g also contains nearly 9 calories. Therefore, after taking coconut oil, you must reduce your intake of other calories, otherwise you may still gain weight.
Does coconut oil increase cholesterol? (Neutral)
If the fat in food is not immediately used for energy purposes, it will be stored in the form of adipose tissue, while coconut oil fat (mostly middle-bonded and short-bonded fatty acids) is decomposed into the body and is mainly used for energy. Less body fat is formed and accumulated in blood vessels
A cohort study (cohort study, participation of 1,839 Filipino women) indicated that moderate intake of coconut oil from daily diet is only related to the increase of high-density and good cholesterol. Other indicators such as low-density cholesterol and triglycerides have no significant effect (showing It can be beneficial to blood lipids). Note 6
Can coconut oil cause diarrhea?
Many people experience soft stools and diarrhea after trying coconut oil for the first time. The reason is mostly related to intestinal irritation caused by excessive intake. Other oils have similar effects. It is recommended that you start with a small amount at the first use and let your intestine get used to it.
In addition, coconut oil can also be added to warm milk, coffee or soy milk, or directly added to dishes or rice to eat to reduce intestinal irritation.
Is coconut oil sweet? So diabetes can’t be used?
Coconut oil is a natural oil separated from the squeezed coconut kernel, especially cold-pressed virgin, it has the special sweetness of the flesh (the aroma will vary slightly depending on the manufacturing method or the fruit variety), but the oil itself does not contain sugar , Will not cause blood sugar to rise after consumption
A double-blind controlled study (two-week period, 60 diabetic patients) pointed out that eating a diet rich in medium-chain fatty acids does not have a negative impact on heart function and fasting insulin (on the contrary Yes, it may also bring benefits). Note 7
Is coconut oil prone to rancidity and oxidation?
Compared with unsaturated fats (mono or multiple, mostly plant-derived), the biggest advantage of saturated fats is that they are less prone to oxidation and generate free radicals (because there is no double carbon bond), so they are relatively stable and especially suitable for cooking (smoke point) About 180 degrees Celsius, suitable for medium and high temperature cooking methods)
At normal room temperature, coconut oil can be stored for 1 to 2 years and still retain the original flavor. If stored in a low temperature environment, it can be stored for longer (this is rarely achieved by other oils)