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


2 Simple Ways for a Healthier 4th of July

The 4th of July is synonymous with gathering alongside friends and family, fireworks, and grilling. As with most holidays, greasy foods, lots of beer, and lounging around are common with 4th of July celebrations. There are options you have to keep this holiday healthier better food options and physical activity.


Be Active

The 4th of July is a time to be spent with friends and loved ones. But that does not mean you have to be setting around all day/ Take advantage of the summer weather and everyone being together. Maybe it is a friendly game of football in the backyard or running around with a soccer ball at the park. Whatever your group of finds fun and gets everyone active is a great idea.


Grilling is Not Just for Meat

When it comes to grilling, everyone has their favorite foods. Steak, hotdogs, hamburgers, bratwursts, etc. But the grill is not just for the meats. There are quite a number of vegetables, and even some fruits that are great options when cooked on the grill. Corn on the cob is not uncommon to have grilled, but try zucchini, portobello mushrooms, and my personal favorite, asparagus. They all taste great on their own and are easy to flavor for your desired taste. Portobello mushrooms make a great meatless substitute for a hamburger. For a little sweetness, add some fruit on the grill. Pineapple, cantaloupe, and peaches help add variety to your grilled meals with a smoky, sweet flavor. So clear some space on the grill for the fruits and vegetables to make your meals healthier and more flavorful.


It does not take drastic changes to make your holidays healthier. Keeping active and adding fruits and vegetables to your cookouts can help stay in shape and avoid putting on unwanted weight. Make sure to have some water alongside your beer or soda to stay hydrated on these warm summer days. Give some of these small changes a try and enjoy your 4th of July holiday.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant