Doubts over coconut oil health benefits

Cooking with coconut oil could be a health hazard. The oil has become increasingly popular, but the Heart Foundation says there is no evidence to support its widespread use in the kitchen.

Morning coffee for nutritionist Lee-Ann Wann means adding fat. The coconut oil convert feeds it to the Warriors and acts as a brand ambassador for a distributor.

"I have seen it time and time again with clients – they have improved energy, they lose body fat, they improve mental function, so they feel better," says Ms Wann.

But the fat in coconut oil is saturated, and the Heart Foundation says that's too risky.

"What we see from the research we looked at is that it did increase cholesterol levels, and we know that cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease," says the Heart Foundation's Delvina Gorton.

"As far as I'm aware, modern science now says there is no causal link between saturated fat and heart disease," says blue coconut oil distributor John Drew.

The Blue Coconut company says coconut oil is no longer being demonised, endorsed by TV's Dr Oz. American doctor Mary Newport claims it helps her husband's Alzheimer's and there are health and beauty tips all over YouTube.

But the Heart Foundation says a review of all relevant studies shows coconut oil shouldn't replace normal cooking oils.

"People are paying a lot of money to switch to it, thinking they are doing something for their heart, and that's just not the case," says Ms Gorton.

But Mr Drew thinks otherwise.

"We have got something here that's made by nature, which is hugely beneficial for us, and we need to look at it more closely," says Mr Drew.

For years the good fat/bad fat argument was clear-cut, but now with the push to make saturated a saint, both sides agree on one thing – more research is needed.

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source: newshub archive