It is really difficult in this day and age to know what is meant to be good for you or not.
Coconut oil has become a fashionable “superfood” with people claiming all sorts of health benefits, from treating Alzheimer’s to fighting urinary tract infections. One claim that has been under scrutiny is that it can lower your bad cholesterol and increase your level of good cholesterol.
The problem is that it is a saturated fat and these normally do the opposite by raising your bad cholesterol levels. And there are some studies that support this. In a news article published on the website of the UK newspaper The Daily Mail, they talk to TV doctor Dr Mosley who has carried out research with the University of Cambridge comparing daily consumption of coconut oil, butter or olive oil. This is because butter also contains a lot of saturated fat (although less than coconut oil) and olive oil can lower bad cholesterol levels.
For 4 weeks, over 100 volunteers aged over 50 consumed 50g of either olive oil, coconut oil or butter per day. They found that the group eating the butter had increased levels of bad cholesterol as expected, and all 3 treatments increased levels of good cholesterol. But whereas butter and olive oil increase levels by 5%, coconut oil increased the levels by 15%.
So there you go. I am not going to start spreading it on my toast anytime soon but maybe I’ll take a “Coconut Oil Power Coffee” or swap some for butter in my next cake.