Coconut oil gets a bad rep for being high in saturated fat, which is the kind of fat that’s associated with obesity and heart disease. But before you write it off completely, listen to this: 50% of the saturated fat found in coconut oil is lauric acid, a healthy variety that boasts antibacterial and immune-boosting properties. Consumption of coconut oil is also linked to improved weight loss and regulated blood sugar.
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It’s important to note, though, that not all types of coconut oil are considered equal. Many manufacturers refine and bleach their coconut oil to remove debris, taste, color and odor, plus they hydrogenate it to make the product more heat stable. This process adds nasty trans fats, which are linked to heart disease, not to mention that bleaching has negative effects as well. On the other hand, unrefined (also called organic or virgin) coconut oil is in a raw, natural, non-hydrogenated state, so all of its benefits remain. Like all fats, though, coconut oil should be consumed in moderation as part of your clean-eating lifestyle.
To learn about more cooking oils see The Best (And Worst) Cooking Oils For Healthy Fat.
Registered dietitians Tiffani Bachus and Erin Macdonald are the co-founders and creators of URockGirl.com, a website dedicated to promoting wellness and a healthy, balanced lifestyle.