Coconut oil has recently received a ton of praise for its supposed health benefits. Therefore, it’s been embraced by a number of Americans looking to make better nutritional choices. But as it turns out, this oil might not be nearly as beneficial to your physical well-being as you thought. In fact, it could end up being seriously bad for you.
Coconut oil has been used for, among other things, the improvement of dental health. Since approximately 99.7% of adults believe a healthy smile is socially important, it’s no surprise that the practice of oil pulling became overwhelmingly popular a few years back. Swishing coconut oil through your mouth for a prolonged period will purportedly get rid of unwanted bacteria, alleviate bad breath, or even whiten your teeth. Some dentists agree that when oil pulling is used in conjunction with brushing, flossing, and other recommended dental care techniques, patients may experience positive effects. But it’s no miracle cure — and there’s little scientific evidence on the subject.
There is, however, evidence to suggest that consuming coconut oil might actually be harmful to your health. Oils are found in all kinds of products, including personal toiletries (which can contain oil concentrations of 1% to 99%) and an assortment of edible items. Typically, we use oils to make food taste better, but some oils are healthier than others. Natural oils such as olive, avocado, and other vegetable derivatives are the go-to products for health gurus, while cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil are generally considered to be no-gos. But what about coconut oil?
According to the American Heart Association, it’s not a healthy choice. In fact, it’s been over a year since the AHA revealed that coconut oil isn’t a nutritious alternative to other oils. Since coconut oil is comprised of more than 80% saturated fat, the American Heart Association has noted that its consumption can be linked to heart disease or bad cholesterol. It’s actually worse for you than eating pork lard, which is comprised of only 39% saturated fat. And while you aren’t likely to become violently ill after consuming coconut oil — an event that happens to one in six Americans each year after eating or drinking contaminated foods or beverages — it’s definitely not a smart choice for your long-term health. One Harvard professor even claimed in a lecture that coconut oil was “pure poison,” though that assessment might be a bit dramatic for some.
Ultimately, if you’ve been putting coconut oil in your coffee as part of your keto diet or are convinced that using it in your cooking can boost your immune system, you might want to rethink your approach. In an era where misinformation spreads like wildfire, it could be time to consult with a nutritionist or dietitian, rather than believing the advice you read on the internet. After all, there are other ways to lose weight or to reach your nutritional goals that don’t involve putting your body at risk.