|So many uses! Source: Crisco 1492 (CC 3.0)|
However, the USA Today article ignores all of this, instead focusing on the possibility that it could raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol. But the most recent Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee removed cholesterol as a cause for concern, stating that there is "no appreciable relationship between dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol or clinical cardiovascular events in general populations”. Many studies have found that low cholesterol may in fact be associated with a higher risk of dementia, suicide, homicide, accidental death and depression!
Coconut oil is not only safe, it also could have health benefits! In a small study of 20 people with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment, supplementation with medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which coconut oil is rich in, resulted in improved cognitive performance in some patients. Only patients who had a 4- APOE gene saw improvement in their condition. Higher levels of ketones were associated with better performance in paragraph recall with MCT use relative to placebo. Additionally, in another study, taking coconut oil helped patients to achieve reductions in weight, BMI, waist and neck circumference, and diastolic blood pressure. Coconut oil also gave them higher HDL ("good") cholesterol. All patients had coronary artery disease and high blood pressure, and most of them were "elderly" with an average age of 62. Looking at newer and more nuanced evidence, there is no reason to throw out your coconut oil! It's vegetable oils that belong in the bin.