I know what you’re thinking: If I’m supposed to be avoiding saturated fats, why would I be using coconut oil for cooking instead of olive oil? I thought that too when I first heard it, but then I discovered why…
Coconut oil is a saturated fat extracted from the coconut. They are comprised of MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides), which is a type of saturated fat. Most saturated fats that we consume in our diet are LCT’s (long chain triglycerides) which are metabolized differently. MCT’s are more quickly burned and used as fuel, along with various studies showing that they have the ability to play a role in controlling appetite and improve cardiovascular health.
Aside from its molecular structure and nutritional qualities, coconut oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil. That means when you are cooking, coconut oil can withstand higher temperatures than olive oil. So why does this matter? When an oil is brought to temperature above its smoke point it actually produces harmful fumes and free radicals (bad). It will affect the nutritional value of the oil as well as the taste of your food, which is why you were using it in the first place, right?
Depending on what you are using the coconut oil for, there is a hint of that coconut taste, which may bother some people if you don’t like the taste of coconut. Coconut oil isn’t the end-all-be-all of healthy cooking, so if the coconut flavor really bothers you there are other options. Just make sure you are using an oil appropriate for your method of cooking- make sure it can withstand the temperatures that you are going to be cooking at. For a list of smoke points you can search “the name of the oil you plan on using smoke point” or you can just look at a chart that will give you a list of oils to choose from and you can make your selection from there.
So there you have it, short and sweet. I just wanted to touch base on this subject because I feel like the fact that it’s a saturated fat really confuses people on why they should be using it. Now you can understand why you are using it, rather than just using it because it’s the newest craze. Plus, its always good to have coconut oil on hand for a nice hair mask too 😉