While I feel that coconut water may be nature's sports drink, I have always been a bit wary of the claims people make about coconut oil. I was happy to read a nutritional explanation of the oil from a source I can trust – Lance's Armstrong's trainer Chris Carmichael. Well, not his trainer exactly, but a nutritionist on Carmichael's team.
The article has lots of great information on coconut oil and here are highlights:
- Coconut oil has relatively high smoke point of 400°F, this makes it stable and ideal for many commercial kitchens and bakeries.
- It has a long shelf life, which is why many food manufacturers are switching to coconut oil to avoid using hydrogenated oils – aka trans fats.
- It is 90 percent saturated fat, and in case you forgot, that is the "bad" fat. But 60 percent of those fats are a form of lauric acid, which is more effectively metabolized than other kinds of fats. This translates into less stored fat. Read this article for a more scientific explanation of this aspect of coconut oil.
- Fats, no matter the type, are not metabolized before carbs, and this oil should not be considered a good fuel for exercise. Unless you are training for super-distance events like ultra marathons (or training sessions over 5 hours).
- The high percentage of artery-clogging saturated fats in coconut oil should not be taken lightly. For comparison, olive oil contain 13 percent saturated fats and canola oil only 7 percent.
All in all, coconut oil doesn't really make the grade. Stick with oils like olive, canola, and grape seed, while the lauric acid content is not as high, they are nutritionally sound. Good to know!