There has been a lot talk about coconut oil lately and if it is actually good or bad for you. A study was recently published by the American Heart Association (AHA) connecting saturated fats to heart disease. The AHA is stating that coconut oil raises cholesterol, which in turn will cause heart disease. This is actually true, but only partly. Coconut oil will increase your HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”). So while the overall total cholesterol does go up, it is only due to the rise in HDL numbers.
Studies in Brazil have shown that increased levels of HDL cholesterol actually help those with heart disease lose weight and protect the heart (1). Other studies have actually proven that low cholesterol, not high, can increase a person’s risk of early death (2).
Instead of looking at cholesterol as the culprit to heart disease, we should start looking to inflammation. Chronic inflammation causes damage to the arteries over time. This damage leads to plaquing and hardening, and eventually to heart disease.
The overall takeaway here is that coconut oil is actually great for you. When you consider if a fat or oil is healthy, you really just need to think about where it is coming from. Coconut oil, olive oil, butter, etc. can all be traced back to their sources. Oils such as Canola oil, vegetable oil, and margarine are synthetically processed and produced. So please consider this next time you’re shopping at the store. Natural is always better.