Rich in saturated fatty acids, coconut oil is far from being a miracle food, although it has been dubbed as “miracle product,” “full of benefits,” or even “superfood.” Is coconut oil a healthy food?
One of the primary benefits attributed to coconut oil is its power to postpone Alzheimer’s disease. Since the brains of people with the disease are no longer able to use the sugars in their blood, the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil would behave as a substitute for glucose. At least that is the hypothesis put forward by Dr. Mary Newport in 2014.
“To prevent it, omega-3 fats can have a positive effect. However, coconut oil does not contain it,” said Florence Foucault. Alzheimer’s Society says that “coconut oil could be an alternative energy source for brain cells,” while the British NGO states that “there is currently insufficient experimental evidence to support these claims.”
Overall, the coconut oil does not have the advantages that other vegetable oils can have, as it is low in vitamin E and essential fatty acids (omega-3, omega-6). However, its high content of lauric acid would have an antibacterial effect, but, again, nothing is proven.
Is coconut oil a healthy food?
Last August, Karin Michels, an epidemiologist at Harvard School of Public Health, issued a resounding warning describing coconut oil as “pure poison.” As the Guardian reported back then, Michels even claimed that this oil is “one of the worst things you can eat.”
Coconut oil does indeed contain 90% saturated fatty acids which are renowned as some unhealthy fats that can cause cardiovascular diseases. While other saturated fatty acids do not have any side effect and could even be positive for health, the trio of lauric, myristic, and palmitic acids that make up the coconut oil are causing heart conditions.
In 2017, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a notice advising against coconut oil consumption, since it had increased LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) in participants in seven clinical trials, without providing any measured positive effect on cardiovascular or general health.
That being said, we should avoid consuming coconut oil.