Is Coconut Oil Healthy To Cook With?

Many people, when they hear the word, “fat,” automatically think that this dietary macronutrient is bad for you. It’s too bad that fat isn’t called something else, such as the more scientifically accurate, “lipid.”

Doesn’t that sound better if a food contains, say 10 grams of lipids rather than 10 grams of fat?

If you want to cook healthy, choosing a healthy cooking oil is a must (read: What are the healthiest oils to cook with?). Coconut oil is often touted as a healthy to cook with. But at 12 grams of saturated fat per serving, if you’re trying to lose weight, is it healthy to cook with coconut oil?

Do the benefits of coconut oil outweigh the high saturated fat content (60 percent of the total fat is saturated), not to mention the 115 total calories in just one tablespoon?

Unless you’ve been recommended by a trusted medical or health professional with a thorough understanding of nutrition to abstain from coconut oil, you shouldn’t worry about the high calorie or saturated fat content.

A little dab'll do ya All you need is one-half tablespoon of coconut oil to coat a cooking pan or sheet. The fat in the coconut oil will help you keep full. If you’re cooking a veggie stir-fry with your favorite low-calorie, all-natural pasta substitute (ahem, Miracle Noodle, for instance), your total calories and fat will remain low.

And though it still might seem counterintuitive, even though coconut oil is high in saturated fat, it could actually help you lose weight. A study in the journal “Lipids” (sounds better than a journal called, “Fats,” right?) concluded, about coconut oil, “It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia [high blood cholesterol levels] and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity.”

Coconut oil can be good for your ticker

A non-profit dedicated to all things scientifically related to coconuts, the Coconut Research Center, says on its website that medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil may help prevent heart disease.

If you’re trying to eat and cook healthier, the Center says that lowering your saturated fat intake without regard for what you would replace it with will not necessarily lead to improved health. In other words, most of the time, when people reduce their saturated fat intake, and fat intake in general, the nutrient that replaces the fats tend to be high-starch carbohydrates, which can lead to heart disease, due to inflammation.

Coconut oil also has been scientifically proven to be an effective anti-microbial, as well as help raise HDL (high-density lipoproteins, aka ‘good’ cholesterol) levels.

So don’t get scared by the fat content of coconut oil; it’s a healthy fat that’s excellent for cooking. It will give your veggies a nice flavor as well.


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