- Celebrities and proponents of ketogenic and paleo diets have been backing up the health claims of coconut oil
- Findings of a new study published in the journal Circulation suggest that coconut oil may not be that healthy after all
- The analysis provides evidence that coconut oil is not a cure-all oil, contrary to what some people claim
Use of coconut oil became popular in recent years because of its touted benefits, which range from reducing belly fat and strengthening the immune system. Celebrities and proponents of ketogenic and Paleo diets have also been backing up the health claims of coconut oil.
In an interview with Australia’s the Herald Sun, Australian Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr said she takes four tablespoons of coconut oil per day, which she said she adds to her food, salads, and green tea.
Findings of a new study, however, suggest that coconut oil may not be that healthy after all. In a new study published in the journal Circulation on Jan. 13, researchers looked at 16 earlier studies about how the body reacts after consuming coconut oil.
Study researcher Rob M. van Dam of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at National University of Singapore and colleagues found that coconut oil significantly increases LDL cholesterol, or the so-called bad cholesterol by about 9 percent compared with non-tropical vegetable oils.
Increased LDL cholesterol levels can increase the risk of h
eart conditions. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people with increased risk for cardiovascular conditions lower their LDL level to 70 mg/dL, although the normal range is below 100 mg/dL.
“There is no evidence from medical studies that coconut oil is beneficial for health. In fact, high consumption of coconut oil increases LDL-cholesterol levels,” van Dam said.
Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program director Donald Hensrud, who was not part of the study, said that the new data from the analysis provide additional evidence that coconut oil is not a cure-all oil, contrary to what some people claim.
“Coconut oil consumption results in significantly higher LDL-cholesterol than nontropical vegetable oils. This should inform choices about coconut oil consumption,” the researchers wrote in their study.