A. I've also noticed that coconut oil seems to be catching on these days. Coconut oil contains no chole… But despite that saturated fat is known to raise cholesterol levels, linked with heart disease risk, proponents believe that some saturated fats in coconut oil (called medium-chain triglycerides) are less harmful and may actually raise levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol. Most of the research so far has consisted of short-term studies to examine its effect on cholesterol levels. Should I worry about grandkids’ sports? For starters, it happens to be the only plant-based food that contains saturated fat, a potential contributor to heart disease which is found in many popular foods of the American diet. All Rights Reserved. That is a higher percentage than in most other oils, and is probably responsible for the unusual HDL effects of coconut oil. “There is relatively little overlap between the types of saturated fatty acids found in the animal fat lard and the vegetable oils coconut, soybean, olive, corn and peanut,” said Mary Newport, M.D., Spring Hill Neonatology, Inc. “Virgin … Controlling Your Blood Pressure in Times... World Diabetes Day 2020: COVID-19 Adds... Diabetes and Hispanics: Understanding Risks and... Don’t Ignore Lung Cancer Symptoms. 1:19 Coconut oil has more saturated fat than beef fat, but is it still healthy? Refined: Knowing Your Grain Products is Important for Your Health. What can we do about it? Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. And I don't think coconut oil is as healthful as vegetable oils like olive oil and soybean oil, which are mainly unsaturated fat and therefore both lower LDL and increase HDL. Speaking of plant oils, coconut oil is an outsider since it contains mostly saturated fat. The big takeaway is to practice caution and moderation when it comes to coconut oil, and be extra careful if you have high cholesterol. We don't really know how coconut oil affects heart disease. Priya Tew, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, says: “Coconut oil is a high saturated fat. Please note: If you have a promotional code you'll be prompted to enter it prior to confirming your order. Coconut oil contains over 80% saturated fat. Coconut oil has bad press because of its very high content of saturated fats. This gives it a firm texture at cold or room temperatures. Defying the Odds: He Survives Twice-Ruptured... Weight-Loss Surgery’s Vital Link to Diet,... Jim Kelly’s Battle Spotlights Oral Cancer. Monitoring Your Health: Benefits and Limits... How Does a Telemedicine Appointment Work? The predominant type is lauric acid (47%), with myristic and palmitic acids present in smaller amounts, which have been shown in research to raise harmful LDL levels. There have been some attacks on coconut oil in recent years due to its saturated fat content, but the research shows that all saturated fats are not equal. Is Coconut Oil Healthy to Eat? Androgens, the family of male sex hormones that includes testosterone, function as a fuel for growth in normal development. Some diets even mixing it in with your morning cup of coffee. Saturated fat tends to raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels correlate with risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular events. As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. "To say that saturated fat or coconut oil is healthy, and we should be eating more coconut oil and foods that contain saturated fat, such as butter and red meat for health reasons, is not correct,” says Dr. Hensrud. Why is it happening? Help is available and it makes a difference. Ask your doctor for treatment options, which range from talk therapy to medication. By the end of 2013, Google's data reflected the trend was official—search demand for coconut oil more than doubled, and food manufacturers rushed to make coconut oil-infused products, according to the Washington Post. One scientific review, published in 2018, stated "that even though coconut oil has a relatively high MCT concentration, it should still be considered a … Coconut is a wonderful flavor and there's no problem using coconut oil occasionally. Saturated fat raises total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. — Walter C. Willett, M.D.Harvard School of Public HealthDepartment of NutritionHarvard Health Letter Editorial Board. written by Don't endure uncomfortable or unbearable levels of anxiety. The AHA recommends eating no more than 6 percent of saturated fat as part of total daily calories for those who need lower cholesterol. General anesthesia does not appear to increase dementia risk, Harvard study: Unapproved drugs in brain-boosting supplements, Blood pressure medications may affect your mood, Use topical painkillers for strains and sprains, Harder workout intensity may not increase your longevity, It’s not too late to get in better shape, Vitamins A, E, and D tied to fewer colds, lung disorders, What to look for in an online exercise video for older adults, Certain foods and drugs may lower risk of colon cancer, Gum disease linked to an increased risk for cancer, More daily movement may lower cancer deaths, Oral health problems may raise cancer risk. Coconut oil, extracted from the meat of what can loosely be called a seed, a fruit or a nut, is mostly saturated fat, about 82 percent. Most melanomas come in the form of a new spot on the skin, not changes to an existing mole. Copyright © 2019 Baptist Health South Florida. If you subscribe to any of our print newsletters and have never activated your online account, please activate your account below for online access. In fact, 82 percent of the fat in coconut oil is saturated, according to the data — far beyond butter (63 percent), beef fat (50 percent) and pork lard (39 percent). Saturated fats tend to increase your LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol in the blood and should be eaten sparingly to minimise your risk of developing heart disease. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, Salt shakedown: A boon for lowering blood pressure, Meat-free diet linked to benefits for people with type 2 diabetes, Healthy Diet Eradicates Need for Trendy Supplements in Elderly, Get trusted advice from the doctors at Harvard Medical School, Learn tips for living a healthy lifestyle, Stay up-to-date on the latest developments in health, Receive special offers on health books and reports. Your email address will not be published. Atrial fibrillation: Shifting strategies for early treatment? Coconut oil is a plant fat, but it's more than 90 percent saturated fat. Saturated fats are most often found in animal products such as beef, pork, and chicken. Doctors Share... #BaptistHealthy Easy Eats: Ceviche Ecuadorian-Style. Decorating for the Holidays? “However, based on these studies and what they’re looking at now, it seems that coconut oil is not as high in MCTs as was originally believed.”. Coconut oil does contain a large amount ( 80-90% contains saturated fats) of saturated fat. By activating your account, you will create a login and password. It’s about 92% saturated fat – so more than lard … Coconut Oil and Cholesterol. Coconut Oil Is Safe (Unlike Red Meat), and Saturated Fat Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease Coconut oil is a rich source of saturated fat. An unexpected benefit of better blood pressure control? Just as there are “good fats” and “bad fats”, there are also “good saturated fats” and “bad saturated fats”. One tablespoon adds up to more than 11 grams of saturated fats, according to the federal National Nutrient Database. ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Coconut oil's special HDL-boosting effect may make it "less bad" than the high saturated fat content would indicate, but it's still probably not the best choice among the many available oils to reduce the risk of heart disease. Your email address will not be published. Coconut oil is just 6 percent monounsaturated fat and 2 percent polyunsaturated fat. Also present in trace amounts are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Enjoy coconut oil—in moderation. More research is needed, but all saturated fats may not be created equally. So it would seem that coconut oil would be bad news for our hearts. Myths about Saturated Fat-All saturated fats are bad. Coconut oil exploded in popularity after a string of studies suggested medium-chain fatty acids found in the oil were worth making the switch. “What does saturated fat do in our bodies? Can adopting a healthier diet help fight prostate cancer? So what does that end up doing? “When it comes to what you’re eating and drinking, pay attention to quantity and moderation,” says Ms. Kimberlain. The initial school of thought with coconut oil was that it contained a high quantity of MCT, or medium-chain triglycerides. © 2010 - 2021 Harvard University. Coconut oil and palm kernel oil are about 85 percent saturated fat. Why do my legs swell at the end of the day? But plant-based oils are more than just fats. Get health information and advice from the experts at Harvard Medical School. Fat in the diet, whether it's saturated or unsaturated, tends to nudge HDL levels up, but coconut oil seems to be especially potent at doing so. Approximately 60% of all coconut oils are comprised of the above three fatty acids, while 90% of coconut oil fats is comprised of heart-healthy saturated fats. Some experts have linked saturated fats with cardiovascular and other diseases. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. “That also applies to coconut oil.”. Before issuing its cautionary warning last year, the AHA reviewed existing data on saturated fat, showing coconut oil increased LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in all seven controlled trials examined. The Harvard Medical School 6-Week Plan for Healthy Eating, Improving Memory: Understanding Age-Related Memory Loss. In fact, it contains numerous health benefits! Currently, in both the US and Canada, cardiovascular guidelines recommend decreasing saturated fatty acids, as they tend to increase blood levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) increasing the risk of heart disease. By speeding up metabolism, MCTs can help with weight loss management. It actually can stick because it’s a solid. Coconut oil can contain up to 40 percent saturated fat, yet interestingly, countries with the highest intakes of coconut oil have the lowest rates of heart disease. The chemical structure in coconut oil is quite different from the fat found in, say, a steak or a slab of butter – and that difference has … But, for now, I'd use coconut oil sparingly. Coconut oil has emerged as a major source for debate about diet, saturated fat and how much of this potentially artery-clogging substance is too much. Quarantine 15: What is it? It’s still touted as a natural source of MCTs. Since coconut oil is high in saturated fat, it is low in unsaturated fat. Although saturated fat consumption has been linked to heart disease, there is newer evidence that certain types of saturated fats (in dairy and coconut oil) actually may be protective against heart disease. Enter search terms and tap the Search button. Coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat, which is a higher percentage than butter (about 64% saturated fat), beef fat (40%), or even lard (also 40%). Compare that to butter, which is only 64 percent saturated fat. Common sources of saturated fat include red meat, whole milk and other whole-milk dairy foods and cheese. What are the long-lasting effects of COVID-19? Coconut oil’s saturated fat is made up mostly of medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. And if you're preparing a Thai dish, cooking with coconut oil may be essential. You only need to activate your account once. That might seem surprising since it contains more than 90% saturated fat, the type that is considered unhealthy. Chan School of Public Health.. Coconut oil—a saturated fat, like butter and beef fat—raises blood levels of artery-damaging LDL cholesterol, Sacks said in a January 4, 2021 New … It ends up clogging our arteries.”. Coconut oil is 100% fat, 80-90% of which is saturated fat. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so cooks are experimenting with using it instead of butter or vegetable shortening to make pie crust and other baked goods that require a solid source of fat. Radiation after prostate cancer surgery may not be necessary, "Awe" walks inspire more joy, less distress, Hormone therapy and radiation may help with certain prostate cancer, Unlocking the mystery of chronic pelvic pain syndrome, Irregular and long menstrual cycles linked to shorter life, Women with DCIS at increased risk for breast cancer death, A silent condition may be taking a toll on your health, Smokers may have higher risk of brain aneurysm. Researchers did not discern a difference between coconut oil and other oils high in saturated fat, like butter, beef fat and palm oil. Coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat, which is a higher percentage than butter (about 64% saturated fat), beef fat (40%), or even lard (also 40%). All rights reserved. Both articles and products will be searched. Too much saturated fat in the diet is unhealthy because it raises "bad" LDL cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease. Coconut oil has been touted as a healthy fat with an array of beneficial effects, but these claims lack evidence, according to Frank Sacks, professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at Harvard T.H. Can adopting a healthier diet help fight prostate cancer short-term studies to examine effect. And chicken news for our hearts the Harvard Medical School 6-Week Plan for eating... Advice from the experts at Harvard Medical School School of thought with coconut oil affects heart disease order. Blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein ( LDL ) cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein ( LDL ) cholesterol levels which. Relate to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content AHA! 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