The Coconut Oil Conspiracy - Dr. Kellyann on the Dr. Oz Show

You've probably seen coconut oil in the headlines a lot recently. Some praise, some critique, and on the Dr. Oz show I shared research to help clear up the coconut oil conspiracy! If you're freaking out about coconut oil, this is the information that you need—now.

First, why is coconut oil so popular today?

Coconut oil is incredibly versatile and the health benefits are really fabulous. I prescribe coconut oil so often that people think I have a coconut farm. This fat is popular with people who are on paleo and ketogenic diets, as well as with vegetarians and vegans, and is used in everything from baking and cooking to creating those tasty little fat bombs Dr. Oz and I talked about in an earlier episode.

Including healthy fat in your diet is an important part of my philosophy, and how I've helped hundreds of thousands of people get slimmer, and feel younger and healthier. Fat is a macronutrient the body needs but with so much conflicting research we’re all just looking for the holy grail of fats, and coconut oil, with it's many health benefits has become the darling of the decade.

So what is the debate about coconut oil?

To break it down in the simplest terms we’re at odds over two conflicting components of coconuts. Fats are classified two ways. One is in the saturation… and coconut oil is very high in saturated fat… which experts fear can raise your bad cholesterol. BUT it’s also classified based on fatty acids and the saturated fats in coconut oil—unlike those in meat—are primarily medium-chain triglycerides. These fats help do everything from fighting insulin resistance to protecting against Alzheimer’s disease.

And can coconut oil prevent weight loss?

Well, all oils contain about 120 calories per tbsp... so all oils—if they are eaten in excess—can cause weight gain. If weight loss is your goal, coconut oil, like nuts, is something you should use portion control when eating. When coconut oil is used as part of a healthy diet, and combined with fiber, it can absolutely help people lose weight and get healthier. 

So, what is the healthiest way to consume coconut oil?

When you pair the coconut oil with fiber, your cholesterol levels don’t go up as much. It can keep your numbers more under control, meaning it’s healthier for you and your heart.
  • Add to vegetables
  • Include ancient grains like quinoa—making a nutty flavored bowl
As for cooking, I use coconut oil all the time in baking, as well as for making mayonnaise. That’s because unlike olive oil, it has a mild flavor that doesn’t overpower food. And if I’m making a stir-fry over high heat, I choose coconut oil because it has a higher “smoke point” than olive oil. Of course, I’m Italian, so I love olive oil, too! I reach for it all the time when I’m making salad dressings or cooking food over low heat. Here's what to watch for with coconut oil... and this is where the coconut oil conspiracy comes in.

Coconut Oil Buyer's Guide:

Don't buy overly processed! Depending on the way the coconut oil is made depends on how much of the health benefits are retained. Some coconut oils are processed and refined and if you are buying coconut oil that was processed the wrong way, you may be getting fewer antioxidants and other health benefits. If it says refined – it may be processed. When buying coconut oil, stick to unrefined. Look for the terms “raw” or “cold pressed” — this type of coconut oil is made from fresh, raw, coconut meat. With this, you also experience more coconut flavor and it retains the maximum health benefits. Watch for sneaky marketing tricks... For example, unlike olive oil, there is no difference between “coconut oil” and “extra virgin coconut oil.” Don't fall for it! Also pay attention to the container you're buying. Glass: typically locks in the taste more effectively. Plastic: is more porous than the glass, so it can actually let in air and moisture from the environment; plus the oil can actually react with the plastic! All this means that your oil can acquire that “off” taste faster if stored in plastic.