Stop the press. A new study has shown coconut oil may not be the complete universal cure-all we all believed it to be.
Research conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA) published earlier this month has highlighted the high level of saturated fat content in coconut oil.
Over the past few years, the tropical oil has been endorsed and recommended by lots and lots of people – dieticians, nutritionists, and celebrities alike.
We know coconut oil plays a star role in Gwyneth’s Goop recipes, and that it’s the main ingredient in Gisele Bundchen's organic skin care line, Sejaa Pure Skincare. Emma Stone and Kourtney Kardashian use it as an all-natural make up remover.
Coconut oil is also a big part of Angelina Jolie’s breakfast routine, and Jennifer Anniston was once a devotee of the Coconut Diet – a low carb, coconut rich plan that is supposed to hurry up your metabolism and ignite weight loss.
Then there’s the celebrity-hyped practice of ‘oil pulling’ – where you swish coconut oil around in your mouth for white teeth and, apparently, supple skin.
The super oil has been said to have tonnes of beneficial uses – though the AHA is specifically interested in cardiovascular health, and therefore the truth about eating a spoonful rather than applying a slick as part of your beauty routine.
The report pools coconut oil alongside known baddies like “dairy fat (butter), lard (pork), beef tallow, and palm oil” as the main sources of saturated fat to be avoided to lower cholesterol and maintain heart health. The report also begins by stating that cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, “accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year.”
“Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, and has no known offsetting favourable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil,” the report states.
There are lots of studies which have suggested that consuming coconut oil can boost metabolism, support immunity, ease digestion, and control weight. And while jars and jars of the stuff appear in the health food isles of most supermarkets - for the AHA, this evidence is yet to prove conclusive.
Like lots of other ‘super food’ fads, to absorb the superhero nutrients coconut oil claims you’d have to chow down on a pretty unfathomable amount. And, in the case of the coconut, the saturated fat content would vastly outweigh any other chemical benefits.
For the AHA, the best oils and fats to include in your diet are found in “sunflower oil, olive oil, avocados, and tree nuts such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, and pecans.”
But don't throw away that pricey jar of organic coconut oil just yet - here are some great ways to use it in your everyday beauty regimine. It's also a great, natural cleaning product.