Coconut oil is constantly touted as the fail-safe healthy ingredient that we should all be including in our diet. It's generally marketed as a superfood we should be cooking with, or baking with, in order to stay healthy and in shape.
So the revelation that the ingredient isn't nearly as good for us as first thought has come as a shock to lots of people, leading many people to ask: is coconut oil bad for you?
The American Heart Association have released updated advice revealing that the oil is as unhealthy as butter and even beef dripping, due to the level of saturated fat found within it. The saturated fat levels in coconut oil could raise ‘bad' cholesterol in people who comsume it, according to the AHA.
Previously, coconut oil was thought to be the healthy alternative for things such as butter or olive oil, with many health and fitness experts from social media - including The Body Coach - advising its use over other oils. But this new advice casts doubts on those recommendations.
Saturated fat is one of the main things responsible for heart attacks and strokes, given that it easily clogs up our arteries. And saturated fat from animals is thought to be far worse for us than fats
coming from more natural, plant-based sources. These include things like
olive oil and rapeseed oil.
But according to the AHA, 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated. By contrast, the amount found in butter is a much smaller 63%, while that in beef fat is 53%, and there's 39% of the stuff in pork lard.
People have previously said that the mixture of fats in coconut oil made it a healthy option - but the American Heart Association admitted there's little evidence for this.
Coconut oil is also used in beauty products which are often praised for being natural and gently effective. It's practical applications include make-up removal and conditioning hair treatments. The AHA's findings do not speculate on it's effectiveness in this area.