Emma Stone uses coconut oil as makeup remover. Mindy Kaling applies it to her hair. And Mandy Moore loves how it hydrates her skin.
These are all appealing ways to use the oil that's loaded with saturated fat and medium-chain fatty acids.
But when it comes to eating coconut oil, that’s another story. Despite claims that it's good for your heart and other organs, it's important to do some fact — and fat — checking.
A recent study in the journal Circulation found that compared with other plant-based oils, coconut oil doesn't help reduce waist circumference or body fat, and consumption increases bad LDL cholesterol levels, increasing your risk for heart disease.
Another recent trial published in BMJ Open examined the potential benefits of extra-virgin coconut oil (EVCO) and found that over a four-week period, neither EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) nor EVCO increased LDL levels.
But there's not enough research to say if EVCO is healthier than regular coconut oil in the long run.
We're betting it's not, and may be less healthy than the omega-3s 7s, and 9s in fish oil, avocado oil, walnuts, and extra virgin olive oil.
And then there’s the claim that coconut oil is used in traditional cuisines where people have lower rates of heart disease than in the U.S. But those societies also eat heart-healthy, plant-based diets, and more fish than Americans do.
Therefore, coconut oil is not likely the source of their heart health.