Coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil ... Intuitively, you'd think all these items are healthy, right?
I mean, they come from coconuts after all. And health nuts go nuts for coconuts. Right?
Unfortunately, our dear friend coconut oil is not as healthy as we may have thought. In fact, it may be downright bad for you. If you've been eating coconut oil with everything, thinking it's a health food, put that jar down right now. Now.
U.S. heart experts say that eating coconut oil is just as unhealthy as eating beef fat and butter, BBC reports. Yikes.
Beef fat and butter are two items we definitely would not describe as "health foods." I mean, definitely not the first things you go looking for on a trip to Whole Foods.
But why is poor coconut oil getting this bad rap?
Because it's packed with saturated fat, which is known to raise the "bad" kind of cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. This is the kind of cholesterol that can clog up your arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Coco-not good.
“Coconut oil doesn't entirely deserve its bad nutritional rap,” says the Whole Foods Market Blog. “However, that doesn’t mean the versatile, sweet-flavored oil is a nutrition gold mine.”
You can say that again.
According to the AHA, a whopping 82 percent of the fat in coconut oil is saturated, while butter has 63 percent saturated fat and beef fat has 50 percent saturated fat.
Even pork lard, seemingly the least healthy option of the three, has less than half of coconut oil's saturated fat, ringing in at 39 percent.
When pork lard is less fatty than you, that’s not the best sign.
While some still claim that the mixture of fats in coconut oil make it a healthy option, the AHA says there is no solid evidence for this, according to BBC.
Still, despite the negative connotation fats have, they are still an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.
"To eat well for your heart health it is not just about reducing fat but reducing specific types of fat and taking care over what these are replaced with - unsaturated fats and wholegrains, rather than sugars and refined carbohydrates,” said Victoria Taylor from the British Heart Foundation, per BBC.
Taylor recommends switching saturated fats for foods like avocado, oily fish and nuts, which are full of healthy fats (but again, all in moderation).
Personally, I’d trade a jar of coconut oil for an avocado any day.
Are you still hooked on the coconut oil fad, or are you done with it forever?