Coconut Oil Vs Olive Oil
Last month, I blogged about my decision to remove coconut oil from our home kitchen and our Fruitive menu. But as I researched olive oil over the past few days, coconut and extra virgin olive oil comparisons kept surfacing.
So I wondered, what if I had to choose between them? What if I became stranded on a desert island with nothing to provide my plant-based fat but coconut palms, olive trees and an oil press?
Which would be better for my heart?
With just a few quick searches, I found my answer at the Harvard Health Blog. Emily Gelsomin, a senior nutrition specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, sums up a National University of Singapore meta-analysis of coconut oil’s effects:
“Coconut oil… did not fare as well as … olive oil, with respect to reducing … cardiac risk factors. In fact, coconut oil increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the kind associated with an increased risk of heart disease.”
That’s not surprising, given this NutritionFacts gem:
“… coconut oil is one of the rare plant sources of saturated fat (normally only found in animals), which tends to increase LDL, or bad cholesterol, the #1 risk factor for our #1 killer, heart disease.”
In the same video Dr. Greger shares some advice from another Harvard expert, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition Dr. Walt Willett: If you’re going to use it, use it ‘sparingly’”.
Taking another look at the subject, he underscores Willett’s recommendation:
“So, basically ‘coconut oil should be [treated no] differently than [animal] sources of dietary saturated fat.’The latest review, published in March 2017 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, put it even more simply in their recommendations for patients: ‘Avoid.’”
If I am ever stranded on a desert island with nothing but coconut palms and olive trees, I’ll think I’ll skip the coconuts and eat the olives whole. I’ll get the monosaturated-fat benefits of their oil, but they’ll come with the phytonutrients still attached!