Coconut Oil–Superfood or the Devil?

The answer is NEITHER.

Photo 35--Coconut Oil

There really are no superfoods. All whole, natural, real foods here on Earth contain nutrients. This week, I’ve had a few McIntosh apples since I picked some at a local farm last Sunday. To some people, these apples would be considered a regular, basic fruit. They might think that blueberries, because they contain more antioxidants, are a better fruit. Or acai berries, because the sound so exotic (they really do), are a superfood that contain nutrients that just can’t be found in fruits that we are more used to like apples, bananas, and oranges. This all comes from nutritionism—focusing on nutrients, not food. Right now, studying antioxidants is a hot topic, so blueberries and other foods high in antioxidants seem like they are better for us. But what will happen as scientists continue to study nutrition. They may just find that McIntosh apples contain the next sexy nutrient.

And to whole, natural, real food can be the devil. This brings us back to coconut oil. Some people are scared of it because it contains saturated fat. It’s true that some studies do show that intake of saturated fat can increase blood-cholesterol levels, but these are short-term studies. Long-term studies show no correlation between saturated-fat intake and blood-cholesterol levels. In fact, studies of low-carbohydrate, high-saturated-fat diets show beneficial impacts on not only blood-cholesterol levels, but other markers of cardiovascular wellness. Could saturated-fat intake create cardiovascular problems via a mechanism other than raising blood-cholesterol levels? The studies don’t show this. A study of nearly 60,000 men followed for an average of 14 years showed no correlation between saturated-fat intake and cardiovascular disease and there was an inverse relationship between saturated-fat intake and stroke. Like olive oil to olives, coconut oil contains most of the nutrients found in coconuts, a whole, natural, real food. When considering what to eat, the last thing you should be leery of is a whole, natural, real food. Coconuts and coconut oil are far superior to any food product (a.k.a. processed food) that accounts for 90 percent of what is sold in most food stores.



2 thoughts on “Coconut Oil–Superfood or the Devil?

  1. Jason,

    Great article on Coconut, alway’s have felt the same way in my years using different smart fats! I have found that any of the good fats Coconut seems to burn fat better then others at least for me:) Just make sure it’s not sweetened, it does carry some sugar however not in excess can serve well for many reasons. Fat is your friend, sugar is the enemy.


    1. I would add to this a bit, Franco. The terms protein, fat, and carbohydrate and terms like starch and sugar are first and foremost words that describe compounds that exist in nature. I think it’s helpful to avoid the rush to label any of them as good or bad or friend or foe. For example, blueberries contain sugar. Are blueberries the enemy? The game of glorifying or vilifying certain food components is generally a zero-sum game. Our society has been doing it for decades with poor results. A more effective approach is to eat a wide array of whole, real, natural foods that you enjoy. Coconut, blueberries, kale, eggs, cashews, oh my. Sounds good. I’m hungry.


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