While it’s important to consider what you’re eating, health experts say it’s also important to know how it’s prepared. “When we’re talking about coconut oil, this is a fat. It’s important to know the different types of fat that we’re looking at: there’s saturated fat, there’s unsaturated fat, The unsaturated fat is what we consider heart healthy,” explained Noel Konken, a clinical dietitian with Lee Health.
Coconut oil is saturated fat—which means moderation is key. “What makes it of interest is the nature of fatty acids in coconut oil. So coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides, and this is a bit different from other saturated fats which tend to be higher in long-chain triglycerides. The smaller carbon bond that’s found in medium chain triglycerides are found to be rapidly absorbed and metabolized by the body,” said Konken.
While this makes coconut oil controversial in the sense of is it healthy or not–health experts say the bottom line is coconut oil is still a saturated fat. “People think of the benefits of coconut oil, thinking it has fewer calories, helps you lose weight, some people like the flavor of it, but we still have to consider it as a saturated fat,” she said.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to seven percent of our daily calories.
Coconut oil is a healthier option than choosing butter or margarine, but to improve your health, you’re better off trying heart-healthy oils like olive oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil. “Coconut oil is great for your face and your hair, but maybe not so much eating a bunch of it,” said Konken.
With so many oils to choose from, health experts recommend reading the labels to make sure your meal is prepared as healthy as possible.
View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/
Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care.