Coconut Oil Featured in Men’s Health

“Did you know there are more than 15 types of saturated fat? And despite the fact that they’ve been damned as a whole by nutrition experts for decades, some of them are actually heart healthy. That’s good news, since high-fat foods are often the tastiest.

But a bad reputation is hard to shake. And though saturated fat is the most obvious example of a bad food gone good, it’s not the only one. I’ve run the numbers and scoured the research to determine which vilified foods have been unjustly convicted. The result: six snacks and drinks that deserve an immediate pardon.”

– Jeff Volek, PhD, RD, Men’s Health


Why you think it’s bad: Ounce for ounce, coconut contains more saturated fat than butter does. As a result, health experts have warned that it will clog your arteries.

Why it’s not: Even though coconut is packed with saturated fat, it appears to have a beneficial effect on heart-disease risk factors. One reason: More than 50 percent of its saturated-fat content is lauric acid. A recent analysis of 60 studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that even though lauric acid raises LDL (bad) cholesterol, it boosts HDL (good) cholesterol even more. Overall, this means it decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease. The rest of the saturated fat is almost entirely composed of “medium-chain” fatty acids, which have little or no effect on cholesterol levels.

Eat this: Shredded, unsweetened coconut.Have a handful as an anytime snack, straight from the bag. (Don’t gorge; it’s still high in calories.) It’ll be filling, and won’t spike your blood sugar.

– Jeff Volek, PhD, RD, Men’s Health

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