In this month’s video Doctor Aaron Smith talks about coconut oil, which has been in the news a lot lately. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive our monthly videos.
Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad?
Well it all boils down to saturated fat.
Coconut Oil has a lot of saturated fat, up to 82%. The American Heart Association came out with a meta-analysis looking at dietary intake of saturated fats. When you go from a diet high in saturated fat and replace it with another type of fat or carbohydrate, what happens? When you take out saturated fats out of your diet you are not looking at diets high in coconut oil. Most people are not getting all of their saturated fat calories in their diet from coconut oil, they are getting it from diets high in red meat, poultry, and dairy. Studies show that when you change saturated fats to monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, the incidence of cardiovascular diseases went down. Conversely, when you changed calories from saturated fats to carbohydrates the incidence of cardiovascular disease went up.
The key point of the study was about the combination of decreasing saturated fats and increasing carbohydrates causing increased CVD. The focus on coconut oil was because it has a high saturated fat content. It is a little more complex than that.
On the one hand, coconut oil increases a large particle size of LDL but it also increases HDL. Coconut oil may increase overall cholesterol, but the importance is in the LDL/HDL ratio, there is a balance. The increase in LDL is not the worst type of LDL. I look at more than just cholesterol numbers,. Instead of managing everyone until their LDL cholesterol is below 100 mg/dL, I use a more balanced approach. Some of the other markers I look at include chronic inflammation, oxidation levels, hereditary risk factors, a balance between LDL and HDL, and the particle sizes of the cholesterol.
Overall I think that coconut oil is still a good option. It is not necessarily bad for you, but everything in moderation, it is a balance.