Why Coconut Oil’s Comeback Ain’t Cool
We get the allure of the coconut – tropical, natural, exotic, and the perfect food for those that find themselves stranded on a desert island for an indeterminate length of time.
Coconuts are also super versatile – they’re a food, a water, a milk, an oil, a makeshift bra, a musical instrument, and if you like piña coladas or getting caught in the rain… well, you get the point – the coconut is one of the great memes of the fruit universe.
And this is why, every so often, coconut oil makes a comeback – and in 2016, it’s back – like a bad mullet.
Yep, coconut oil, like flares, vinyl, and facial hair, is once again trending, and being touted as one of nature’s most miraculous superfoods.
In fact, all you need to do is google raw, virgin, or organic coconut oil and you’ll have absolutely no problem finding innumerable brands of beautifully marketed bottles of the white gloop being sold by supermarkets as well as health and organic stores around the globe.
Unlike fashion-trends however, the nutritional properties of food aren’t subjective – they’re measurable thanks to science and peer-reviewed research.
Coconut oil, unlike most oils, is solid at room temperature. Its solid white form is the result of it being almost entirely comprised of saturated fat. The name coconut oil may sound a bit nicer but in reality, coconut oil is basically pure saturated fat.
In fact, the Heavyweight Champion of the World, WEIGHING IN AT 82-92% saturated fat has always been coconut oil. Neither butter, lard, nor shortening even come close in terms of saturation.
In the short-term coconut oil delivers hits to physical performance and appearance, reducing blood flow for over six hours immediately following its consumption. In the long term, continued use of coconut oil is liable to increase inflammation, damage blood vessels, and lead to conditions such as erectile dysfunction, heart attack, and stroke.
The New Zealand Heart Foundation, American Heart Association, World Health Organisation, British National Health Service, and American Dietetic Association all agree that consuming coconut oil is definitely no good for you.
All food has some nutritional content, but in the case of coconut oil, like any other highly processed food, it’s negligible.
Coconut oil contains four times the saturated fat, almost twice the calories, and less fibre, vitamins, and minerals than a Mars Bar. In fact, coconut oil is nutritionally inferior even to pure sugar!
So why is coconut oil being promoted as a health food? Well, in a nutshell, (or in this case, a coconut shell) we really don’t have the slightest idea…
But if the fashion-trend analogy helps, then think of coconut oil as the hairstyles of the 1980’s – they came, they went, we moved on.
And just like any other nutritionally-deficient highly-processed food, coconut oil is very energy-intensive to produce, uses vast amounts of non-renewable resources in its manufacturing process, and has an unnaturally long shelf-life of years.
Lastly, coconut oil is significantly more expensive than many other oils and fat consumables. If you absolutely must use oil to cook, save your hard-earned cash by using any other oil. Coconut oil should really be your last resort.
However, we’d encourage you to trying cooking with no oil at all for a change. Steaming, sautéing with water or vegetable stock, or baking using oil substitutes such as applesauce, banana, or even pumpkin can be just as effective and delicious. Avoiding highly processed oils and fats will drastically reduce the amount of fat you’re consuming as well as save you money, improve your performance and appearance, and positively impact the environment.
As for the occasional piña colada – hey, you only live once!