Coconut oil is touted as some kind of liquid white gold.
It’s amazing for hair and skin. People use it for everything from removing makeup to whitening teeth.
It’s amazing to cook with, to add to coffee, to fry with, to use in baking instead of butter or margarine.
Coconut oil can do wrong – despite the terrifying smoke that it emits after a second in a frying pan.
But it may well have had its time in the sun because scientists are suggesting that it’s no better than other oils.
In fact, it might actually be worse.
The American Heart Association released a report earlier this week recommending against cooking with coconut oil because it increased bad cholesterol in seven out of seven controlled trials.
According to the study, coconut oil is made up of about 82% saturated fat – far greater than most other oils.
In fact, coconut oil has a higher percentage than beef fat and pork lard.
It’s worth pointing out that not all saturated fats are bad for you but ultimately, they do help build up plaque in the arteries which can lead to heart disease.
In other words, it’s not worth forking out the extra money by swapping your butter or olive oil for coconut oil in the vain hope that it’s the healthier option.
‘To eat well for your heart health it is not just about reducing fat but reducing specific types of fat and taking care over what these are replaced with – unsaturated fats and wholegrains, rather than sugars and refined carbohydrates,’ Victoria Taylor from the British Heart Foundation told the BBC.
‘Any change should be viewed in the context of a whole diet approach. The traditional Mediterranean diet has benefits for a range of risk factors for heart disease, not just cholesterol levels.
‘We recommend replacing the saturated fats in the diet with unsaturated fats – using oils instead of butter and choosing foods like avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds instead of foods high in saturated fats like cakes, biscuits, chocolate and fatty meat.’
If you love the taste, by all means, cook away with the stuff. As with anything, moderation is key so as long as you’re not chugging away on the stuff every day, there’s no real harm.
But if you’re just doing it for health or wellness, you might want to stick with the lighter options and reserve your jars of white gold for moisturising your skin and split ends – something it really does do with aplomb.