Wait, Coconut Oil is BAD for You?

The AHA (American Heart Association) recently published an article claiming that coconut oil is not part of healthy eating habits. This announcement has come as a surprise to many that consider coconut oil to be a healthy alternative to other food items like butter or margarine. If you search enough, articles about the wonders of coconut oil range from weight loss, heart health, skin moisturizer, and even hair conditioner. So why has the AHA come out and made these claims telling individuals to avoid coconut oil? How can a natural food item be detrimental to one’s health? Let’s look more closely into the AHA’s claims on coconut oil.


The claim the AHA is making is actually fairly simple; they are stating the fact that coconut oil is high in saturated fat. Yes, that is very true. Saturated fat is often referred to as the “bad fat,” while unsaturated fat is often known as the “good fat”. The container of organic coconut oil I have contains 14 grams of total fat, which is made up of 13 grams of saturated fat and only 1 gram of unsaturated fat. That is a large proportion of saturated fat.


Fats Impact on Heart Health

Saturated fat is considered “bad” because it has often showed in scientific tests to raise the LDL (Low density lipoprotein) cholesterol in the body. When the LDL cholesterol is much higher than the HDL (High density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which raises the risk of heart disease. This can result in plaque building up in the lining of blood vessels. If the plaque interrupts the flow of blood enough, then a heart attack can occur. If some of the plaque breaks off and travels through the bloodstream, it can cause a stroke.


Possible Benefits of Coconut Oil

It may seem fairly cut and dry that coconut oil is bad, but some coconut oil advocates are not convinced, stating that the type of saturated fat in coconut oil is still actually good for them. Look at any container of coconut oil and it will likely boast that it is high in MCT’s (Medium chain triglycerides) and high in lauric acid. This starts to get into the area of chemistry, but the question remains, is coconut oil bad for you?


Personally, I enjoy the taste of coconut oil but I would recommend it in moderation. Do I believe it is a miracle food that should be cooked with and slathered on many of your meals? Not really. If you use coconut oil for hair or skin care, feel free to continue as it will not impact your health negatively. Foods that have large amounts of saturated fat like coconut oil have been shown to negatively impact heart health, a particular area of health I study closely. Will future research give us a definitive answer on this coconut question? Possibly. I would not say to cut out coconut oil altogether from your diet, but from the current research, I would say it is best to use it sparingly.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


Nutrition & Exercise Myths

It can be easy to confuse what exactly are the best foods to eat or exercises to do. There is an abundance of information available online that can both aid and impede the ability to understand the best ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Different sources you find may even contradict each other. Let’s set the record straight on some common misconceptions and myths in the nutrition and exercise world.


Eggs are Very Bad for Your Cholesterol

The yolk of an egg is high in cholesterol, and that is where the confusion begins. For this reason, eggs were thought of as a food that should be absolutely avoided to have good cholesterol. Later it was found that cholesterol in food does not impact your own cholesterol as much as it was once thought. It is easy to see how this myth was perpetuated for so long. The main dietary culprit of poor cholesterol levels is saturated fats which cause your body to produce more cholesterol. Feel free to have an egg or two in the morning without the worry of damaging your health.


No Pain, No Gain

When exercising, whether it be cardio or strength exercise, it is not uncommon to feel soreness in your muscles after working out. This is especially true of individuals new to exercise. Pain should never be a part of the equation. Pain in your joints during or after exercise is a sign that your form is incorrect or you are trying to lift too heavy of weight. This can cause both short term and long term injuries if not corrected. If you experience these types of pain, try to decrease the intensity of your workout and focus on having the best form possible. Avoid the pain, get the gains.


Sports Drinks are the Best Drink During/After Exercise

Watching commercials and reading ads online would lead you to believe that sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade would be the absolute best drink to have while in the middle of physical activity. In reality, these drinks are more or less glorified Kool-Aid. These drinks do contain the three electrolytes, Potassium, Magnesium, and Sodium, which are depleted in the body through exertion and sweat. Advertising can make it seem that electrolytes need to be replenished much more often than they actually do. The best source of hydration, of course, is water and it has none of the sugar.


There is a lot of confusion for multiple different reasons when it comes to a wide variety of health topics. The main goal of my blogs is to give my readers a better sense of what they can do to live a healthy lifestyle. With so much information available, especially online, try to take the advice of respected, experienced, and reputable professionals. This way, you will be able to understand and control your own health.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant