COCONUT OIL: WONDER FOOD OR FAD?
Q Is coconut oil better for me than other oils? —Hennie Lawrence, via email
See the facts on how popular oils compare
Coconut oil attracts a lot of attention for its health-benefit claims. However, many of these claims represent marketing forging ahead of science.
Being an oil, coconut oil naturally contains no sugar. But keep in mind, the same can be said for all vegetable oils. You will only find sugar in oil when it’s specifically added as part of a recipe.
Another popular myth is that coconut oil is lower in kilojoules than other cooking oils. In reality, the difference in kilojoules is insignificant. (For more facts on fat and sugar, see table below.)
Coconut oil is very high in saturated fat, at around 90 per cent. Advocates claim that the type of saturated fat in coconut oil is healthier for us than other types of saturated fat, and there is some merit to this. Coconut oil appears to have less of an adverse effect on blood cholesterol than other types of saturated fat, such as butter, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthier than other oils.
Instead, use a variety of
The difference in kilojoules between oils is insignificant
oils, depending on the style and method of cooking.
Olive oil, for example, has many well-researched and proven health benefits such as lowering your chance of heart disease. So, there’s no valid reason to only use coconut oil in your cooking.
Coconut oil may be a good choice for cooking at times, but olive oil shines for its use in dressings and marinades, and cooking in medium temperatures.