Nutritional Tools |  Top 10 Foods |  Press Room |  Testimonials |  Newsletter |  Download Our Brochure |  Help
NutritionVista
NutritionVista

Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad For Heart Health? Coconut's Effects on Cholesterol & Health

Monday, March 28, 2011
Rate it!
  • Currently 4.25 /5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

 

Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad For Heart Health?
Coconut's Effects on Cholesterol & Health

Who doesn’t love the tantalizing aroma of a simmering coconut Thai curry, or the crunchy coconut flakes in a cookie or mithai, but is this divine fruit and its oil contributing to our raised cholesterol levels?

Coconut oil has been the most popular cooking medium in the coastal areas of Asia and the Pacific since generations. It has been described as having a "haunting, nutty, vanilla flavor" that also has a touch of sweetness that works well in baked goods, pastries, and sautés (Wikipedia). The medicinal value attributed to it, the economic factor, easy availability in many areas, heat stability and resistance to rancidity probably added to its widespread use.

Once accused as one of the worst cooking mediums for heart health, it is now being upheld by many as a valuable food for maintaining good health. This article evaluates both sides of the battle line.

What is coconut oil composed of?
Oils and fats are made up of different kinds of fatty acids- either saturated or unsaturated. Most animal fats (except some fish oils) contain saturated fatty acids, which are harmful for the arteries, since they cause their clogging and hardening. Most vegetable oils (except coconut & palm oil) contain unsaturated fatty acids which are considered heart friendly.

Coconut oil has a high percentage of saturated fats and is thus considered by many doctors to be bad for the heart.

 

NutritionVista

 Next Page

User Comments

20 January, 2013 | Ivan Pedro J.Schiffer | Reply

Ivan Pedro J.Schiffer Everyone wants to believe that Coconut oil is a good oil for health, the business side of it is very big and this obscures the real facts.
The usual cliches, to be read everywhere, ¨older studies suggested this or that, now the truth is this¨etc... The fact is that among all fats, Sunflower, Sesame, Olive, Safflower, Coconut oil should be only rarely used if at all, bottom line, it is a highly saturated fat as most tropical tree oils, the various Palm nuts. One just needs to look at the Fatty Acids charts of each oil to understand why it is not an oil to be taken internally. Saturated fats do not become Trans, they have no Cis-Cis fatty acids to be rotated, they are already in a bad isomeric configuration that do not agree with the deep chemistry of human blood cells. There are no benefits to be drawn from this kind of fat, as for Vitamin E Sesame has all 4 kinds of the main ones Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta among more than thirty different kinds, Sesame also has enough and good Toco-Trienols, Sunflower is the richest in A vitamin (22%) both are very well composed of Omega 6 and 9 opposed to 9,12 and 15 in Coconut Oil, which is 90% Omega 9 and that is really not good for anyone unless you lived in Siberia working outside in temperatures under 100 fahrenheit.
What composes the saturation of Fats is the amount of Carbon molecules,in Coconut that is absurdly high.
Travel around the areas where coconut oils are consumed daily and see how the ladies over 40 look like, there is no better study to be conducted than that. Thailand for that sake has over 50% of the population with bad heart condition and exagerate build up of hardened platelets. The average life span is less than 60 years.
The number 1 in the world for males and females in Liver Cancer...
There are many things to understand before anyone embarks on a specific choice of a fat for a life time, Tree Oil plants are high in Omegas 9,12, and 15 (mono Saturated, Saturated and very Saturated), herbaceous plant oils are high in Omegas 3, 6 and always less of the omega 9. That means a good balance of Essential Omegas (unexistant in Tropical Tree plants except in Walnuts, Almonds and Hazelnuts, all trees grown in colder climates). Also very important to observe, Oils must be cold pressed, temperatures under 35 degrees centigrades, protected abslolutely from Oxygen and Light. Only then one is getting the full important and necessary benefits of the Fatty Acids so important for blood cell quality and brain maintenance. If these conditions at pressing the seeds into oils are not observed the Cis Fatty Acids, by a rotation of its molecular fragments will turn into Trans Fatty Acids, again ONLY essential fatty acids become Trans, short Chain fats are already in a would be bad chemical configuration.

24 October, 2012 | Marty | Reply

Marty I have been always plzzued by numerous kinds of fats mentioned in many health related books and conflicting information pieces provided in there. I bought a couple of medical books to understand fats, but they were too tough to read for the poeple like me who are in non-medical fields. And then I found this amazing book. This book explain almost everything about what fat is, how it is metabolized in our body, all the different kinds of fats, how fats are related with our health, and etc. And it does not simply explain to us. The book explains using chemical symbols. So there are a lot of chemical diagrams of all kinds of fats: 3HC-C .C-COOH stuffs.If you didn't take General Chemistry course in College, this book is a tough reading. However, the author says that you can skip such chemistry part without losing any flow of the book, which I agree. However, I think that it is that chemistry part which makes this book shine and stood from any other books that simply say the confusing results or incorrect information.I thought that I had quite a good amount of information regarding general nutrition and fat in particular, since I read good amount of books available. After I read this book, I realized that I was misunderstanding or had misinformation on fats, which is the most important nutrient. Understanding fat is not simple. And I think that understanding fat is very important, before we plan our healthy diet. I would recommend this book anyone who would like to understand fats and who are interested in health in general.

12 May, 2012 | Twobee | Reply

Twobee Vijayalakshmi Iyengar..in 2011 you said "The hype about Coconut oil being bad for health is slowly being dispelled as it is now clear that only the hydrogenated version of refined coconut oil, rich in Trans fats is the one that is harmful for the heart" ...In May 2012 you say " Hello Mr Elouard
Yes, coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). It is supposed to be healthy but there are still more studies needed for any conclusive evidence to give the go ahead to any of the health benefits claimed from coconut oil.
Neither the American Heart Association (AHA) nor the U.S. government's 2010 Dietary Guidelines suggest that coconut oil is any better or preferable over other saturated fats. So as part of the saturated fat intake it should be limited to 7%-10% of calories because it can increase risk for heart disease, according to the AHA and 2010 Dietary Guidelines.
Thank you
SO WHICH IS IT? Is it true it's only the "hydrogenated Coconut Oil" is bad...OR we need more studies? You are also saying it's very good for the Brain, which we now see evidence it's bringing some people, with Early stages of Alzheimer's, back into the World to the point of being able to function w/o supervision. You also say " Great news, at last they have sufficient evidence that dietary cholesterol does not affect blood cholesterol." A few of your posts seems to support the usage of Coconut Oil, and another seems to add warning before one uses it...Also, are you an M.D??

14 May, 2012 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Hello Mr Twobee
To answer your questions
1. No I am not an MD but a Postgraduate in Foods, Nutrition & Dietetics from a prestigious University and I have 2 decades of teaching experience behind me .
2. Yes you are right even though COCONUT OIL per se is getting a good health claim it is from virgin coconut oil only. We may have numerous studies which have shown that coconut oil helps health in many ways, however unless it is approved and accepted by AHA or USDA dietary guidelines we do not advocate it .They are the authorities who advise the public at large and authenticate any health claim.
Normally we do report new findings from other studies published ( in this case on health benefits of coconut oil) and most of them come with a cautionary note that we still need more studies to conclusively prove their findings. I am sure you are aware that unless the same findings are reported after many studies and from various parts of the world, unknown or unreported parameters could have influenced the result. This is why we wait for AHA to make the claim as they would want to check many times before they authenticate it.
3. It has been proven that dietary cholesterol does not affect blood cholesterol and so we need not and should not avoid dietary cholesterol altogether. However excess of anything is bad including water, so dietary cholesterol yielding 7-10% of the body’s required energy should be from a good dietary source and one of them can be coconut oil (virgin)
4. Even Refined coconut oil is not as healthy as virgin coconut oil. During refining where it undergoes a fermentation process etc -Vit E and many phytochemicals are lost.
5. Finally hydrogenated fats from any source including Coconut oil are bad for health and there is no denying that.
I hope this response helps remove all your confusion.
Thanks

05 May, 2012 | Elouard | Reply

Elouard Im confused with the coconut oil saturated fat and the term medium-chain-t. Is the saturated fat in coconut oil a medium chain t???

Is also the saturated fat in coconut oil proven to cause inflamation by trials or theory. Becouse some theories are ingridient base but coconut oil has many things that influence the health in it and should be proven by science with the complete coconut oil as raw as posible and organic.

09 May, 2012 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Hello Mr Elouard
Yes, coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). It is supposed to be healthy but there are still more studies needed for any conclusive evidence to give the go ahead to any of the health benefits claimed from coconut oil.
Neither the American Heart Association (AHA) nor the U.S. government's 2010 Dietary Guidelines suggest that coconut oil is any better or preferable over other saturated fats. So as part of the saturated fat intake it should be limited to 7%-10% of calories because it can increase risk for heart disease, according to the AHA and 2010 Dietary Guidelines.
Thank you

05 August, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Coconut is also a rare source of alpha-tocotrienol, a powerful form of vitamin E. And new research* suggests this little-understood vitamin may have a strong influence on brain and nerve health.Unlike saturated animal fats, coconut and palm oils contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)… and MCTs don’t carry the heart-health risks of other saturated fats. So if you’d like to get more alpha-T3 in your diet, moderate use of these oils should be fine.
*Park, H.-A., et al, “Natural Vitamin E a-Tocotrienol Protects Against Ischemic Stroke by Induction of Multidrug Resistance-Associated Protein,” StrokeAHA. June 30, 2011;

19 April, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Great news, at last they have sufficient evidence that dietary cholesterol does not affect blood cholesterol.

30 March, 2011 | vishaka | Reply

vishaka After a long time I have come across an article that speaks good about coconut oil. I am basically from the coastal area and our everyday meal is incomplete without a fish. Also most of our cooking happens with coconut oil. There is no history of heart disease in our family. Is there any reasoning for this.

31 March, 2011 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Hello Ms.Vishaka,

To develop heart disease there are many risk factors that are involved. You have not mentioned anything about the lifestyle of your family. What type of work they do and how often do they consume other greasy/high fat and sugar food.

30 March, 2011 | Parul Bhatnagar | Reply

Parul Bhatnagar Each and every food item we consume has its own advantages and disadvantages. It is same with coconut oil. Coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides so helpful in digestion.
But as it is high in saturated fats it has to be used in limited amount.

30 March, 2011 | Alpana Deshmukh | Reply

Alpana Deshmukh What is virgin coconut oil and is much superior than regular coconut oil?

30 March, 2011 | Parul Bhatnagar | Reply

Parul Bhatnagar Virgin Coconut oil is derived from fresh coconut and chemicals and heating is not further used to preserve as natural coconut has longer shelf life. Refined coconut oil is extracted from dry copra and heated to refine, bleach and deodorize.

29 March, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar The hype about Coconut oil being bad for health is slowly being dispelled as it is now clear that only the hydrogenated version of refined coconut oil, rich in Trans fats is the one that is harmful for the heart
1. Coconut oil being a medium chain fatty acid is easier & faster to digest and thus advisable to people who find it difficult to digest fats. More important it is easily miscible in our body fluids and also gets absorbed readily and is carried to the liver were it can quickly oxidise to release energy.
2.Coconut oil is almost always used in infant milk formulation to supply fat. This facilitates absorption of both calcium and magnesium essential for bone development. Mother's milk, especially the `Colostrum’, is rich in `lauric’ fatty acid is the one responsible for protecting the newborn baby against disease and many more. Lauric acid is also a major component of coconut oil.

 Post Comments

Contact Name:
E-mail:
(Will show your Gravatar icon)
Comments:

User Rules

Tags: Cardiovascular Disease, Cholesterol, Diet, Fats, General health, Health Hazards, Heart Health, Nutrition

 

© 2007 - 2014 NutritionVista.com. All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. All articles and content written by the Nutritionvista.com team for NutritionVista.com are the sole property of J.L.S Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. Content may not be copied without express permission to do so. If you want to link back to an article, please ensure a working link to the article title is used and is functioning at all times.

NutritionVista

Nutrition BUZZ Tags

This will be shown to users with no Flash or Javascript.
Speak Up!

Nutrition BUZZ

Read other Buzz posts

CLINICAL Nutrition Packages

At Risk Prevention Program Health Risk Assessment & Prevention Program
One Month
Obesity | Cholesterol | Diabetes | CVD
Cholesterol Reduction Program Cholesterol Reduction Program
Three Month
Weight Loss | Cholesterol | Pre-diabetes | CVD
Glucose Stabilization | Obesity Reduction Program Glucose Stabilization | Obesity Reduction Program
Six Month
Pre-diabetes stabilization | Cholesterol reduction | Weight Loss | Cancer management
Intensive - Disease Management Program Intensive - Disease Management Program
One Year
Diabetes | Obesity | Cholesterol | CVD | Cancer Management
Sign Up Now View Details

Free Newsletter

Awareness leads to healthier lifestyles.
Sign up!

Free Newsletter
NutritionVista
NutritionVista

Health Solutions | In Depth Coverage

www.NutritionVista.com provides web-based nutrition tools and services that enable consumers to take charge of their own health. Our clinical nutrition programs provide online nutrition counseling services for weight-control; nutrition therapy for managing diabetes and cancer and customized menu plans to lower cholesterol. Our online nutritionists provide health risk assessments, diet evaluations, guidance and support to address the consumers underlying health conditions and personal likes and dislikes.

RSS  Facebook  Twitter 

Suggestions / Feedback / Queries

Contact Name: E-mail:
NutritionVista

Reply To Comment

Contact Name*
Contact Email*

(Will show your Gravatar icon)
Comments*
Notify me when new comments are added
Speaker Up!

Any way - here's an opportunity to send in your topics - bright ideas - even your take on a subject - or even an article you've written and want published for feedback and commentary

If your topic is selected (topics are reviewed for copyright and thought process) it will get posted under your name and title. Please understand that not all submissions can be accepted.

Please note - Any article that has been submitted but not posted, will be respected and not used by the NutritionVista team for any other publication.

Submit your articles to SpeakUp@NutritionVista.com

Speak Up!
Contact Name*
Contact Email*
Topic Suggestions*