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Coconut oil has 90 per cent saturated fat, cooking it is not healthy: Doctors
While we have all heard and read a lot about the benefits of coconut oil, doctors today have also started stressing on the ill effects of the same on a consumer’s health. Stating that the oil, when used for cooking, smokes easily, Dr Vinitha Krishnan, a Consultant Clinical Nutritionist, said that it becomes trans-fat once it smokes.
While the oil, if sprinkled in one’s food, could prove to be healthy, it becomes harmful when used for cooking, she added.
Stating that trans fats can increase one’s bad cholesterol, a city-based dietician said, “Trans-fat also lowers the good cholesterol, whose function is to mop up excess fat lingering in the blood. Removing trans fats from your diet can promote your heart health.”
Dr Vinitha Krishnan from Fortis Hospital said that having a low melting point, coconut oil, when used for cooking, can result in heart problems and other such diseases. “It is not necessarily unhealthy. It is the way we use it. Due to its low melting point, it easily smokes unlike other oils,” she added.
Stating that coconut oil seems to be catching on these days, nutritionist Nithya K, said, “Coconut oil is about 90 per cent saturated fat, which is a higher percentage than butter with more than 64 per cent saturated fat, beef fat (40 per cent), or even lard (40 per cent). Too much saturated fat in the diet is extremely unhealthy because it raises the bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol levels as it is otherwise known. The bad cholesterol in one’s body tends to increase one’s risk of heart disease. Following a number of studies that were conducted on the same in the recent past, doctors are working towards creating awareness in this aspect. It is important for the public to be aware that coconut oil could also be bad news.”
While it is important that individuals who already have suffered a heart attack or require heart surgery or angioplasty, or those who have diabetes to have LDL levels below 70 mg/dL, awareness on the same continues to be severely lacking. “From being unable to identify what oil could prove to be unhealthy, to being completely unaware of the LDL levels that need to be maintained, the public continues to be heading towards an unhealthy lifestyle,” said cardiologist Dr Aravind R.
He said that it would probably be very difficult to get your LDL into these healthy ranges if you were consuming a lot of coconut oil.
It may be noted that last year, the American Heart Association had updated its guidelines in regard to the saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil. It advised the public to replace the saturated fats in their diets with unsaturated fats instead, in order to lower their risk of developing cardiovascular disease later on in life.
Know what you eat
- Coconut oil, when used for cooking purposes, smokes easily
- It becomes trans-fat — which can increase one’s bad cholesterol
- Coconut oil is about 90 per cent saturated fat
- It has a higher percentage than butter which is over 64 per cent saturated fat and beef fat which is over 40 per cent
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