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Time for an Oil Change

Don’t go too nuts for coconuts.

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Coconut oil

More and more, it appears that the broadcasted health benefits of coconut oil are based largely on a sales pitch instead of science.

A meta-analysis in Circulation of 16 previous studies showed that consumption of the tropical oil, which is laden with saturated fat, leads to higher levels of low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol compared with other vegetable oils, and this can lead to heart-health woes over time. The research also found no evidence linking coconut oil to lower rates of inflammation, high blood sugar or adiposity.

This aligns with dietary recommendations to replace saturated fat with unsaturated fats like olive oil. That said, sporadic use of coconut oil for cooking in the context of an overall healthy diet is unlikely to have a substantial detrimental effect.

See also: Correcting Misconceptions About Fat

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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