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Coconut oil: the facts behind the hype

Coconut oil is touted as a Superfood that can help us lose weight, improve cholesterol, and even cure Alzheimer’s, but how many of these claims are really legitimate?  Today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on an up close look at the facts behind the hype!

What it is: 

  • Pure, white coconut oil that hasn’t been bleached or refined
  • Solid at room temperature, with a texture more like butter than oil
  • 120 calories , 14 grams fat, 12 grams saturated fat per tablespoon

 

The Skinny on coconut oil’s saturated fat:

  • Coconut oil has more saturated fat than butter.
  • Most health organizations recommend that we limit saturated fat
  • But recent studies suggest that saturated fats may not raise risk of heart disease like previously thought.
  • More research is showing plant-based saturated fat may have a neutral (or positive) effect on cholesterol.

The Skinny on coconut oil and cholesterol:

  • Several studies suggest a link between a higher intake of coconut oil and higher levels of good HDL cholesterol levels, especially when coconut oil is used in place of animal-based saturated fats, like butter.

 

The Skinny on coconut oil & weight loss:

  • More than half of coconut oil is medium chain triglyerides (MCTs).
  • Unlike other long-chain types of fats, MCTs are rapidly metabolized, meaning they’re more easily burned as energy and less likely to be stored as fat.
  • MCTs have been shown to increase metabolism slightly, and help us feel full faster.
  • Two small studies showed two tablespoons of coconut oil daily for 6-12 weeks slightly reduced belly fat, but no significant change in weight.

How to use coconut oi:

  • Substitute cup-for-cup in place of butter or oil in baking
  • Stir-fried or sautéed dishes
  • In oatmeal or whole grain toast
  • On steamed veggies
  • Blended into smoothies

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