I've heard that coconut oil is the best oil to use. Is that true?

bottle of coconut oil beside a coconut

Does it seem like you are hearing a lot about the benefits of coconut oil lately? Before you stock up, read on to learn about the facts and myths about coconut oil.

What is coconut oil?

Coconut oil is made from pressed coconut. There are two kinds of coconut oil – unrefined and refined.  Unrefined coconut oil is sometimes called virgin coconut oil and has a stronger taste and richer flavour.  Refined coconut oil is more processed and is better for cooking at high temperatures.

Is coconut oil good for cooking and baking?

Coconut oil has a high smoking point which works well when frying foods.  It is also useful in baking because it has a “nutty” flavour. Coconut oil has a long shelf life and can be kept on the shelf without going rancid for up to one year.

Why is coconut oil thought to be “healthy”?

Coconut oil is made up of medium-chain saturated fats, which may offer some health benefits like raising HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”).  However, there is not enough research to confirm this health benefit.  Coconut oil is also thought to help with weight loss.  Some research shows that taking coconut oil supplements along with eating a low-calorie diet may help with losing belly fat in obese adults. More research is needed before recommending coconut oil supplements to help with weight loss. There is no evidence that says using coconut oil will help with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or viral infections.

Should I use coconut oil?

If you enjoy the taste of coconut oil, use it in small amounts once in awhile, like for special occasions.  There is not enough evidence to show that it has health benefits.  Instead, choose mostly heart healthy oils like canola and olive oils.  Remember, too much of any oil or fat can cause weight gain.

You may also be interested in: 

Facts on Saturated Fat
How to use different oils when cooking

Last Update – December 18, 2018

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