Hyderabad: Recent studies have suggested that the use of coconut oil in food, which was once thought to be heart-clogging, actually has benefits, like weight loss, helping blood glucose regulation and preventing strokes.
Doctors and clinical dieticians caution that it should be used occasionally rather than daily. Cardiologists do not recommend coconut oil strongly despite new studies.
Dr M. Gayathri, clinical dietician, Apollo Hospitals, said, “Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides which are fatty acids of the medium chain: it’s good for the heart and other inflammatory diseases, but should be taken in moderation. Coconut oil allowance should be about 10 gm a day.”
According to her, coconut oil is used to replace butter or ghee in baking. “And we must get most of the fat we need from unsaturated fats, such as sunflower, olive oil or avocado oil. It’s likely that other factors, like genetics, overall diet and physical activity may act to neutralise any negative impact that high coconut intake can have on heart health,” says Dr Gayathri.
According to the American Heart Association, saturated fat has to be limited to 13 gm a day which amounts to one tablespoon of coconut oil a day. Studies point out that medium chain triglyceride-saturated fat in coconut oil could boost HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol, but it also raises LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Dr G. Ramesh, consultant cardiologist at Yashoda Hospital, said, “Coconut oil consists of trans fatty acid and is generally not good for health. Combining mono unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids is good for health. Rice bran oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, olive oil and mustard oil are better than coconut oil.”