So, if you’re interested in health and fitness you’ll know that unless you follow a good and healthy diet, you won’t hit the fitness goals you have in mind as easily or as quickly… and if you also keep your ear to the ground where health and fitness trends and news are concerned, no doubt you’ll have spotted that coconut oil has been hitting headlines for quite some time, lauded for its positive health benefits in cooking and beyond.
But now, a Harvard professor has spoken out against the wonders of coconut oil, describing it not only as “one of the worst things you can eat” but also as “pure poison”, which no doubt will put off many of you out there from swapping out your olive oil while cooking or using it in your baking.
Epidemiologist at the Harvard TH Chan school of public health Karin Michels’ main concern was that coconut oil has a high proportion of saturated fat, which is known for raising the levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and therefore increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
According to the Guardian, coconut oil actually contains over 80 per cent saturated fat, which is over twice the amount you’ll find in lard and 60 per cent more than you’ll find in beef dripping.
So if it really is that bad for you and you’re suddenly worried that you’re doing more harm than good in your pursuit of being fit and healthy, what should you have instead of coconut oil?
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association and registered dietitian Chloe Hall recommended going for oil or rapeseed oil, both of which have monounsaturated fats which could be beneficial for heart health.
She went on to say: “They maintain our ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, whilst reducing our ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. It is still important to use them in small amounts, however, as they are still energy dense. However, they would be a good swap for coconut oil.
“Omega 3 fats, found in oily fish, are essential fatty acids, which may play a role in heart health, inflammation and mood. Monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocado and some nuts are thought to be particularly beneficial.”
A quick guide to cholesterol
This is both good and bad for the body, a natural substance that transports fat around. LDL cholesterol will transport fat to your cells but if they’re already too full, this will be deposited in your arteries instead. And these blockages can then lead to heart attacks and strokes. But high density lipoprotein does the opposite, collecting fat from your cells that are already too full and taking it back to the liver so your body can flush it out – which will reduce your risk of blocked arteries.
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