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The 411 On Coconut Oil – Can You Really Overuse It?

Whether you use it for cooking or as a skin moisturizer, coconut oil is on-trend at the moment and we can’t seem to get enough of it. But do we need to take it easy with the stuff? Yes and no.

With fat being all the rage in the weight loss community, it’s no wonder we are seeing the stuff in recipes and skin care regimes all over the place. One tablespoon contains 14 grams of saturated fat, which is roughly the recommended amount the average person should be consuming according to the American Heart Association. If you’re concerned with your intake of saturated fats, don’t be alarmed. The fats in coconut oil are metabolized differently from other saturated fats because they contain medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). For those on a ketogenic diet or who have done a little research are well aware that MCTs can be used as an energy source and can help treat many diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Coconut oil has even been linked to fat loss and has appetite regulating abilities. Studies have shown that coconut oil can reduce abdominal fat specifically as well as regulate blood sugar.

So you might be thinking, what’s so bad about coconut oil? It seems like there are more pros than cons. Clearly, this is a source of pure fat and as anything in life, practicing moderation is key. If you think about it, coconut oil is a processed oil similar to olive oil. While going for whole, minimally processed foods should be at the core of any healthy eating regime, adding in a teaspoon or two of coconut oil won’t hurt. Whenever possible, getting your fat source from avocados, nuts and olives is always best.
Aside from the amazing health benefits, coconut oil should be avoided in some situations. According to some health experts, coconut oil can wreak havoc on the good bacteria in your digestive system if you don’t consume plenty of vegetables. Coconut oil has a tendency to take the bad bacteria in your gut and transfer it into your bloodstream. Without eating enough fiber from vegetables, this will have negative consequences on your body.

Coconut oil can help burn fat as mentioned but it can put on the pounds as well. Just because it’s a health food, it doesn’t mean its void of calories. Coconut oil like all fats is calorically dense and if you are overconsuming calories from any food, you will gain weight. Simply monitor portion sizes and you can still reap the benefits.

Consuming too much coconut oil or any oil for that matter can also cause digestive issues. The liver can only process so much at a time and every one’s bodies are different. You might have a more sensitive stomach and need to air on the side of caution. The overall recommended healthy intake to see the greatest benefits is one to two tablespoons per day.  As far as using it as a moisturizer or for hair conditioning, go nuts!