Get the facts on coconut oil
Coconut oil has seen decreased use in recent years due to its high saturated fat content but has seen resurgence on the market lately. Health claims abound for coconut and coconut oil via websites, product literature, magazine articles and books. According to these sources, the health benefits of coconut oil include a wide range of medical conditions like weight loss, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, thyroid conditions and Alzheimer’s.
So is coconut oil slimming? Those who claim coconut or coconut oil helps stimulate the metabolism and aids in weight loss base the claim not on studies done with coconuts or coconut oil, but instead with MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides), which is distilled from coconut and palm kernel oils. There is a small amount of data indicating that MCT oil may be less likely to promote weight gain but that alone does not prove that coconut oil will have the same effect. There are no well-designed clinical trials that demonstrate using coconut oil in place of other oils promotes weight loss.
How about heart healthy? Like other tropical oils, such as palm and palm kernel oil, coconut oil is high in saturated fatty acids, specifically lauric acid and myristic acid. Individual saturated fatty acids differ in their effects on lipid levels. Both lauric acid and myristic acid have been shown to markedly raise total cholesterol as well as LDL-cholesterol levels.
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