Last week a report was released by the American Heart Association, which highlighted the association between coconut oil consumption and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This is no news in the scientific community; research over the past decade has pointed out the association between high saturated fat intake and poor cardiovascular health. However, coconut oil became a trendy food item last year, which did cause a lot of confusion. Even my close friends and family members have since been purchasing coconut oil and using it as a part of their regular diet! Like everything else in nutrition, my suggestion is “moderation“.
Of course, emerging research suggests that different “types” of saturated fatty acids may have different impact on health. However, this is still being investigated and we cannot make recommendations that take this into consideration. Knowing that overall, high saturated fat intake is associated with poor cardiovascular health, we do recommend that saturated fat is limited to less than 10% of total caloric intake.
Just like butter, coconut oil could be great in cooking and baking. Just make sure that it is not used excessively!
Hooper, L., Martin, N., Abdelhamid, A., & Davey Smith, G. (2015). Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease. The Cochrane Library.
Sacks, F. M., Lichtenstein, A. H., Wu, J. H., Appel, L. J., Creager, M. A., Kris-Etherton, P. M., … & Stone, N. J. (2017). Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation, CIR-0000000000000510.