How I wish things would just stay clear and simple. But, not in this world. If you look beyond all the articles posted on sites trying to sell you coconut oil you'll find that there is some controversy over just how healthy coconut oil really is. The controversy seems to be swirling around the molecular structure of fatty acids. In coconut oil, these fatty acids are "medium-chain" --which, supposedly, makes them good for your body. And that may be true. But here's the rub: no matter how long or short those chains may be, the fatty acids in this oil are still saturated fatty acids. And that's bad.
So. Though people (as in some Hollywood and naturopathic types) swear by this yummy oil's weight loss and anti-microbial attributes, there are also some pretty credible medical folks (i.e. Dr Oz--it's amazing to me that he's been able to overcome the silliness of that name. Just shows ta go ya how far a pretty face and a nimble brain will take you. . . but, I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, medical types) who are stepping up to remind the public that all saturated fats have legitimately earned their bad rap. And this is the part that I find scary. Since I've already mentioned (and digressed with) Dr. Oz, I'll use a blurb from his site to tell you the rest of the story (this is l-o-n-g so I'll hi-light the parts you speed readers don't want to miss):
[Coconut oil] has more saturated fat than pretty much any food out there. How much? A mind-boggling 87%. Compare that to 63% in butter or 38% in a burger and you get the picture.
Okay, yes, there’s still some scientific debate about whether the type of saturated fat in coconut oil raises cholesterol as much as that found in animal foods. But even if it doesn’t, there’s plenty of proof that sat fat is a major health hazard in lots of other ways. For one thing, all sat fat speeds up aging. It does this by turning on a potentially harmful family of genes that we docs call RAS genes. They tell your body to churn out inflammatory proteins that cause heart disease, stroke, wrinkles, impotence, and immune system slipups.
Feeling older yet? Well, we’re just getting started. Sat fat doesn’t do pretty things for your memory, either. It decreases a chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor that’s responsible for recall and learning. It also increases inflammation in the brain. When researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina fed rats a diet enriched with either coconut oil or soybean oil, the rats who scarfed down the chow laced with coconut oil not only developed more inflammation in their gray matter but also made more mistakes on memory tests. . .
No surprise, as many studies reveal the ugly secret that if you feast on foods rich in saturated fat, you are much more likely to develop dementia. Period, exclamation point.
So there's the Skinny. Pick your poison. Me, I'd rather be fat (the UNsaturated version) and still able to remember my name, thankyouverymuch. Sorry for getting you all excited about the cookies. Lovely bunch of coconuts indeed.