Sales of coconut oil have boomed in recent years, thanks to the rise of healthy eating bloggers and the ‘wellness movement’. The basis of its popularity stems from the fact that coconuts are free from gluten and lactose, and so can be used in vegan recipes. However, the health benefits of coconut oil are under debate among scientists.

What you need to know about coconut oil

One tablespoon of coconut oil contains 12g of saturated fat,

which is roughly the same amount found in:

  • 3½ jam donuts or
  • 10 squares of chocolate

Coconut oil contains approximately 82% saturated fat, 

in comparison:

  • Rapeseed oil contains 7% saturated fat
  • Olive oil contains 14% saturated fat
  • Butter contains 52% saturated fat

The Science: Saturated fat consumption raises levels of LDL (the bad cholesterol), which, when consumed over long periods of time, can cause the build up of plaques in arteries and lead to heart disease.

This is important, as heart disease is the No.1 cause of death in Ireland, and is largely preventable!

Coconut oil tip

If you really love the taste of coconut oil, try using it sparingly to flavour dishes. Treat coconut oil as you would butter, and use rapeseed oil or olive oil instead for your everyday cooking. These oils lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (the good cholesterol), making them perfect for household use.