Have you noticed, like I have, that coconut oil seems to be catching on? In a newsletter from W.C. Willett, M.D., Harvard School of Public Health, “Coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat, which is a higher percentage than butter (about 64% saturated fat), beef fat (40%), or even lard (also 40%). Too much saturated fat in the diet is unhealthy because it raises “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease.” Because of the number of carbon atoms in the fat molecule, it
gives good HDL cholesterol a boost.
But, for now, Dr. Willet advises to use coconut oil sparingly. Most of the research so far has consisted of short-term studies to examine its effect on cholesterol levels. To quote Willet, “We don’t really know how coconut oil affects heart disease. And I don’t think coconut oil is as healthful as vegetable oils like olive oil and soybean oil, which are mainly unsaturated fat and therefore both lower LDL and increase HDL. Coconut oil’s special HDL-boosting effect may make it “less bad” than the high saturated fat content would indicate, but it’s still probably not the best choice among the many available oils to reduce the risk of heart disease.”