American Heart Association Coconut Oil Warning
The recent coconut oil warning issued by the American Heart association is creating a huge stir in the health and nutrition industries. The reason is that this food product has been celebrated as a healthy alternative to many other kinds of fats.
American Heart Association Findings
What the American Heart Association found in recent research was that this cooking oil is on par with beef fat or butter in terms of its saturated fat levels. This prompted the coconut oil warning for people who may have been eating this ingredient very freely under the belief that it is a healthy alternative.
Should You Stop Eating Coconut Oil?
That said, before you raid your cupboard and start throwing things away, it’s a good idea to understand what the coconut oil warning really meant. The media grabbed hold of the AHA’s statement of caution and has blown it into huge, shocking headlines that would make people believe that they’re shortening their lives or putting themselves at risk of disease by eating coconut oil. The truth of the matter is that this ingredient isn’t dangerous. It must merely be understood before it is used in recipes and for cooking.
How to Spot Quality Research
AHA report lead author Dr. Frank Sacks explained that “want to set the record straight on why well-conducted scientific research overwhelmingly supports limiting saturated fat in the diet to prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels.” He added that “Saturated fat increases LDL – bad cholesterol – which is a major cause of artery-clogging plaque and cardiovascular disease.”
Good Fat vs Bad Fat
However, it should also be understood that the idea of “good fat” and “bad fat” has been growing in its controversy. Nutrition isn’t necessarily as easy as labeling these foods as good or bad. Moreover, the ACA was not trying to use this report to stop everyone from eating coconut oil. Instead, they were using it to better educate consumers so they can make improved choices regarding the oils and fats they include in their diets.
Coconut Oil Warning Means Consume in Moderation
Indeed, it’s not a good idea to eat tremendous amounts of coconut oil, but that can be said about pretty much any kind of fat. Fats are a macronutrient that must be consumed in moderation. This is particularly true of many animal fats, palm oil – the most common cooking oil in the world – and, likely coconut oil as well.
How to Use this Coconut Oil Warning
In order to follow a healthy diet, it’s a good idea to reduce the amount of saturated fat in our diets. Equally, Neither Dr. Sacks nor the American Heart Association as a whole has recommended that saturated fats be entirely eliminated from our diets. As such, a touch of coconut oil in your favorite recipe likely won’t do the slightest bit of harm to your health. Just don’t overdo it.
Healthy Fat Alternatives
In the cases when you want an alternative cooking oil because of the coconut oil warning or you need something else for the recipe you’re making, there are many alternatives. The following are your top options for healthy fat alternatives.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Most cooking and nutrition experts look to extra virgin olive oil as the healthiest and most versatile option. This is high in monounsaturated fats with a certain amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids without being overly processed or refined. That said, this type of cooking oil’s smoke point is relatively low, so it’s best when you’re leaving it raw (that is, using it in salad dressings, for example), or when you’re cooking with low heat or medium heat. This is often considered the best alternative when you want to follow the coconut oil warning.
Vegetable oil isn’t actually a specific type of oil. It’s important to take care if you’re using it as a replacement due to the coconut oil warning. This can be a very healthy cooking oil or not very good for you at all. It depends on the source of the oil. All this term means is that the source is plant-based. Usually, they are a combination of canola, soybean, corn, safflower, sunflower, and/or palm oils. Certain vegetable oils are acceptable in moderation, but it’s best to choose one that you can identify specifically, such as canola oil. That way, you know what you’re eating as opposed to simply knowing that the product comes from a plant.
Like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil is unrefined. That said, its smoke point is higher, so it’s possible to use it to cook at higher heats than its olive-based alternative. This makes it a great option for stir-fries. At the same time, it doesn’t have a lot of flavor, which means it doesn’t make the rest of the ingredients taste different from how they already would.