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Is Coconut Oil a Heart Healthy Fat?

September 5, 2013

Instead of just passing on high-calorie recipes, some people are now using social media to promote heart healthy eating. One item people have been buzzing about lately is coconut oil. Some people are saying it can cure all kinds of ailments and that is should now be your fat of choice. However, is the positive buzz surrounding coconut oil true?

COCONUT Oil Heart HealthyWebMD cautions consumers about going crazy for coconut oil. There is not enough conclusive evidence to indicate that coconut oil can cure diseases and alleviate things like thyroid malfunction, cancer, or heart disease.

According to WebMD, "Coconut oil, like all saturated fats, should be limited to 7%-10% of calories because it can increase risk for heart disease, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and 2010 Dietary Guidelines."

While one should not go overboard in using coconut oil, some experts think that coconut oil may be better for your system than butter or trans fats. The caution indicated earlier is still in place, however, because although it beats butter, coconut oil is not better for you than vegetable oils. And you also have to consider that coconut oil is often an ingredient in foods that do not contain a lot of other nutrients, so again the benefit of it is limited if the rest of what you are eating lacks nutrients.

When you are choosing what fats to use in cooking and looking at the fats used in prepared foods, you best bet is to go for things made with unsaturated fats such as "…vegetable oils, fish oils, and plant fats in nuts, avocados, and seeds."  And while you certainly do need to limit fats, you do not need to eliminate them: fats do provide some health benefits as long as we don’t consume too much of them.

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