Working in a supermarket I get asked about coconut oil often. Obviously I want to provide the most honest and research-based answer. I’m not going to tell someone that coconut oil is this amazing alternative to, let’s say…butter or canola oil, unless I actually believe it to be true. That being said, using coconut oil to replace your cholesterol and saturated fat loaded butter, or your trans fat loaded shortening, can be a great idea if you are someone who bakes often and uses these ingredients a lot. Afterall, the saturated fat found in coconut oil (Lauric Acid, which is a Medium Chain Triglyceride) is supposedly (and most likely) a better form of saturated fat, which has been shown to increase your good HDL cholesterol. Not so bad, right? Sure. Does this mean more is better? No, because it might also increases your LDL (“lame” or “lousy”) cholesterol. It still needs to me limited in your diet. Period.
|The type of saturated fat found in butter isn’t quite as good on your good “HDL” cholesterol.|
The New York Times wrote a great article about other ways to use coconut oil. I mean, it’s definitely a delicious-tasting alternative to butter and shortening. Heck, some people even saute with it. Pretty cool. O’m pretty certain it’s also low FODMAPs (although coocnut flesh/flakes, it not, at least it’s not in large amounts >2-3 Tbsp).
But let’s get back to the title of this post; be careful not to get too caught up in the hype of the “mad-scientist”.
Bottom Line About Lauric Acid (taken from The New York Times article above):
“There are a lot of claims that coconut oil may have health benefits, but there is no concrete scientific data yet to support this,” said Dr. Daniel Hwang, a research molecular biologist specializing in lauric acid at the Western Human Nutrition Research Center at the University of California, Davis. But, he added, “Coconut is good food, in moderation.”