Health, Physical, Wellness

Quit freaking out about coconut oil!

It’s not going to kill you—and it’s not going to save your life either. Plain and simple. Since coconut oil has become the rage in alternative health and medicine, it is being used in everything that is available. Stir fry, salad dressings and hair softening —and we mean everywhere—in between.

However, according to a recent report from the American Heart Association (AMA) states that coconut oil is a saturated fat. Consuming it in large quantities is quite unhealthy. This has been quite a shocker for those who have called it healthy for all these years.

What are you supposed to do with that jar of Piña Colada scented cooking oil, moisturizer, and sexual lubricant?
Well, you can keep that jar in your naughty little goody drawer and in your pantry.

Truth is, coconut oil is goddamn delicious. However, don’t drink it. It’s not going to cure anything. If you really want to understand what the entire hoopla is about, you should think about that report a bit. Allow us to help.

Let’s talk about fat!

Are some fats good and some fats bad? As tends to be the case, it’s not that simple. Mono, poly, and saturated, oh my! When you look at a food label, along with calorie counts and grams of carbs and protein, you’ll also see a few sub-categories of fat.

These include monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated. They all have the same number of calories per gram. Your body has uses for all of them, but they definitely have variations in chemical structures and how much you consume of each type can have different levels of impact on your health over time.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil

The evidence at this point is a little nebulous regarding which fats directly contribute to heart problems. It’s been shown that switching saturated fats out of unsaturated fats can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) significantly.

Everything you thought about coconut oil is wrong. Coconut oil caught a ride on the green wave, too. Doesn’t it seem less processed than the other fats? Coconut oil looks like it’s just been pressed from the plant and even smells like a coconut, making it easy to sell with marketing trends. Even if you can read a bunch of data and studies that show how other oils like canola and olive oil have healthier components, in a push to be more “natural” it’s easy to be swayed into thinking something is bad because it doesn’t resemble the original product. Smelling like the beach doesn’t make coconut oil healthier than other fats.

What to do with that jar of coconut oil?

Keep using it in moderation like any other fat, but note that “moderately” for something that’s an incredibly dense form of saturated fat calories tends to mean “minimally.”

We have to be reasonable. Coconuts are saturated fats, but as far as saturated fats go, this one isn’t the worst. It’s a really good inert fat with a pleasant taste, and if you’re burning it off it’s not really quantifiable as much more dangerous than any other fat.


That jar of coconut oil!

That jar of fat!

Again, this means being reasonable with the amount of intake, and the evidence points to an intake of between 7.5 and 15 grams for the average person. Enjoy your coconut oil, but stop pretending it’s going make you lose weight, cure your acne, do your taxes, and prevent Tinder dates from ghosting.

A request to all the internet junkies, alternative health bloggers, people who just want to live in Margaritaville: Coconuts are not a cure-all. Coconut oil is not a miracle for weight loss, coconut water is not better than water for hydration, and whatever Gwyneth Paltrow tells you to do with coconuts next week will probably be bullshit, too.

But that’s no reason to stop enjoying coconut oil occasionally, from whatever drawer in your house you keep it in. Have fun with coconut oil. But not too much!

Looking for some inspiration for healthy eating, check out these quotes!

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