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Is Coconut Milk Bad For Your Cholesterol

Is Coconut Oil Bad For Your Cholesterol

Is Coconut Oil Bad for Your Cholesterol?

Ever since I started using coconut oil, my cholesterol has spiked, writes this weeks house call. Im afraid coconut oil with all that saturated fat is creating more harm than good. Should I continue to use it?

Since I expressed my love for medium-chain triglyceride oil or MCT oil, Ive received this question several times.

I call MCTs a super fuel for your cells because your body uses this kind of fat very efficiently. Your cells burn MCTs for energy while storing very little as fat, boosting your metabolism and supporting your immune system.

MCTs also help balance many hormones, including the ones that control your appetite. They keep you feeling full and satisfied. They actually improve your cholesterol profile.

They also help your body burn fat. One study found that consuming MCT oils helped reduce body fat and triglycerides more than omega 6 vegetable oils. After eight weeks, the experiment showed the MCT oil group lost more weight, body fat and subcutaneous fat, all while experiencing a 15 percent drop in triglycerides and LDL.

At the same time, as MCT-rich coconut oil becomes more popular, it also becomes a concern among some folks because of its high amounts of saturated fat and potential for raising cholesterol.

The reality is, cholesterol is not black and white. Classifying it as good or bad vastly oversimplifies this molecule, which among its duties helps synthesize vitamin D and hormones while maintaining cell structure.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Coconut: Good Fat Or Bad

Mixed messages abound about coconut and health. Is it a fatty treat, to be eaten with care? Or a miracle food, as some websites claim?

Much can be said about the pleasures of coconut. Certainly the cuisines of a large number of countries, from India to Indonesia, would be much the poorer without it. But would they be healthier?

Coconut is one of those foods that seems to ping-pong between the ‘good food’ and ‘bad food’ list, and if you’re confused about this, don’t worry even the experts can’t quite agree.

The confusion starts because of the differences between the use of coconut oil in cooking, and the use of coconut milk or coconut flesh. Both the American Heart Association and the National Heart Foundation recommend avoiding the use of coconut oil for cooking, but both their websites include recipes that contain coconut milk, albeit a reduced-fat version.

Despite the fuzzy perception that all things plant must be better for us, oil made from coconuts actually contains a whopping 85 to 90 per cent saturated fat. Saturated fats, usually the dominant type in animal foods, are generally regarded as the baddies when it comes to heart disease.

Even reduced-fat coconut milk contains about 10 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, compared to about 2.3 grams per 100 ml in reduced-fat cow’s milk.

You Could Be Allergic

If you have tree nut allergies, you may want to avoid coconut milk. Coconut isnt a nutits a fruit, though the Food and Drug Administration recognizes coconut as a tree nut.

A small percentage of people with tree nut allergies are also allergic to coconut, says Jodi Greebel, a pediatric dietitian and nutrition consultant.

This has to do with coconuts makeup.

The protein found within coconut is similar to those found in tree nuts, explains Gaffen.

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Camel’s Milk: High In Saturated Fat And Cholesterol

The latest craze to make its stamp on the milk market is camel’s milk. One 8-oz glass contains 107 calories, 3 g of saturated fat, and 17 g of cholesterol. And this milk option is packed with vitamins and minerals: According to research published in October 2011 in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, camel’s milk has 10 times more iron and 35 times more vitamin C than cow’s milk. Small studies have shown that it could be beneficial to people with diabetes, too. A study published in January 2015 in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking camel’s milk, as compared with cows milk, was associated with increased insulin levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. It’s also a natural probiotic that can contribute to gut health.

This milk option is still hard to come by in the United States and it’s expensive. Its certainly something to look out for, and it needs to be pasteurized, says Krivitsky. As a note of caution: Camel’s milk may be one of the animal in the Middle East.

How Bad Is Canned Coconut Milk For You

Does Coconut Milk go Bad and How to Tell

In moderation, coconut milk can have health benefits, but consuming too much can cause problems. Coconut milk contains high levels of calories and fats. Consuming too much of the milk and eating a carbohydrate-rich diet can result in weight gain. Coconut milk also contains fermentable carbohydrates.

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Is Coconut Milk Safe For Everyone

Allergic reactions to coconut are rare, although contact dermatitis and sensitisation to the tree pollen is more often seen.

Coconuts are one of those foods that oscillate between the good and bad food camps. Coconut milk, especially the lower-fat variety, can be used in moderation . However, The British Heart Foundation recommends swapping saturated fats and sources of them, including coconut oil, for unsaturated varieties.

This article was last reviewed on 5 November 2021 by Kerry Torrens.

Kerry Torrens BSc. PgCert MBANT is a Registered Nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.

Jo Lewin is a registered nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition with a specialism in public health. Follow her on Twitter .

All health content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

Ask The Doctor: Coconut Oil And Health

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Q. I have started noticing more coconut oil at the grocery store and have heard it is better for you than a lot of other oils. Is that true?

A. Ive also noticed that coconut oil seems to be catching on these days. Coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat, which is a higher percentage than butter , beef fat , or even lard . Too much saturated fat in the diet is unhealthy because it raises bad LDL cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease. So it would seem that coconut oil would be bad news for our hearts.

But whats interesting about coconut oil is that it also gives good HDL cholesterol a boost. Fat in the diet, whether its saturated or unsaturated, tends to nudge HDL levels up, but coconut oil seems to be especially potent at doing so.

Coconut is a wonderful flavor and theres no problem using coconut oil occasionally. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so cooks are experimenting with using it instead of butter or vegetable shortening to make pie crust and other baked goods that require a solid source of fat. And if youre preparing a Thai dish, cooking with coconut oil may be essential.

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Does Coconut Milk Whiten Skin

Coconut milk for Skin brightening

As coconut milk has Vitamin C and Vitamin E. It removes dead skin cells from your skin and makes your skin brighter and smoother. You can also make a natural face pack with coconut milk to get brighter skin. Read also White Tone Soft & Smooth Face Cream Product Review.

Coconut Oil Bad For Ldl Cholesterol

Mayo Clinic Minute: Why coconut oil is bad for your heart

But other long-chain saturated fatty acids, like the ones that make up most of the saturated fat in coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils , do in fact raise LDL cholesterol considerably. These saturated fats are called palmitic, myristic, and lauric acids. They also make up most of the saturated fatty acids in meat, poultry, and dairy fats like milk, butter, and cheese.

Other saturated fats that have little impact on LDL cholesterol levels include medium-chain varieties like caproic, caprylic, and capric acids. A small percentage of the saturated fat in coconut oil, about 10%, is made up of these less harmful saturated fatty acids, but virtually all the rest of coconut oils saturated fat is made up of the long-chain varieties that send LDL soaring.

And coconut oil is full of these artery-busting long-chain varieties by the sheer fact that theres such a huge percentage of saturated fat, 92%, packed into coconut oil to begin with.

Ounce for ounce, coconut oil has more saturated fat than butter, beef tallow, or lard.So coconut oil raises LDL cholesterol as much or more than animal fats, cautions Dr. Kenney.

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Benefits Of Specialty Yogurts

While we say that yogurt is good for high cholesterol, the cholesterol-lowering effects of yogurt can be boosted by choosing a specialty yogurt with added plant stanols. A study found that drinking a yogurt drink fortified with plant stanols helped participants with metabolic syndrome lower bad cholesterol, including both LDL and very-low-density lipoprotein, and triglyceride levels as well. This is better than yogurt with probiotics, which only reduce cholesterol but not triglycerides.

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What Type Of Milk Is Best For Me

Perhaps the most important basic fact you should know is that whole milk, which is dairy milk from which no fat has been removed, has more calories, fat, and cholesterol than any other form of milk. Other important factors to consider include:

  • Periods of growth and development have specific nutritional requirements. Pregnant women, children over age 2 years, and teenagers need the protein, calcium, and vitamin D that are abundant in dairy milk.
  • People who need to limit their cholesterol intake , should consider fat-free cow’s milk or other, nondairy, forms of milk.

So how do you decide which form of milk to use? You should consider their different nutrition profiles, suitability based on your dietary needs and/or allergy concerns, , and health benefits.

The information here can help you make your choice. If the taste is important to you, you can try them all as you decide.

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Rice Milk Is Least Likely To Trigger Allergies

Made from milled rice and water, rice milk is the least allergenic of all of the milk, so it can be a good choice for people who are lactose intolerant or have nut allergies. Its not a good source of calcium or vitamin D unless its supplemented with these nutrients.

Rice milk is very low in protein and very high in carbohydrates, which is an important consideration for people with diabetes.

Are The Coconut Milk Products I’m Using Keeping My Cholesterol High

Health Benefits of Drinking Coconut Milk

I am an fairly active 27 year old vegetarian who doesn’t eat any meat or dairy. I only include very limited amounts of egg and shellfish in my diet. I do everything that I am supposed to be doing to lower cholesterol . My HDL is way above optimal, but my LDL and triglycerides are slightly above where they should be.

The only thing I can think of that is keeping these numbers up is coconut milk. I don’t eat dairy and I limit soy, so I have been using coconut milk products to replace things like milk, coffee creamer, yogurt, and ice cream. I know that coconut is high in saturated fat, but I thought that it was a good type of fat. Is it possible that the coconut milk in my diet is keeping some of my cholesterol numbers high? My diet is about 90% vegan, so I don’t know what else I could be doing wrong.

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Different Types Of Coconut Milk

Coconut milk products can differ in a lot of ways, including the container , texture , and how processed they are.

Supermarket shelves are packed with coconut milk beverages, which often come in cartons and appear beside plant-based milks like almond, hazelnut, and soy milks.

This type of coconut milk is a good option for pouring into coffee, tea, smoothies, and other drinks. If youre eating cereal with plant-based milk, youll choose this kind.

The coconut milk youd use for cooking is often sold in a can.

Canned coconut milk usually has a thick, cream-like consistency, while coconut beverages tend to be thin and have a consistency closer to cow milk, says Danielle Gaffen, a registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition consultant based in San Diego, California.

The milk beverages often also contain added flavor, thickeners, and stabilizers, so they are considered more processed,’ says Melina B. Jampolis, MD, an internist, board-certified physician nutrition specialist, and author of Spice Up, Live Long.

Dont confuse either type of coconut milk with coconut waterthats the liquid found naturally in young green coconuts. Coconut water is about 95 percent water, and is low in calories and fat.

While it contains electrolytes like potassium and sodium and can be used as an alternative to sports drinks for rehydration, coconut water tends to have lower levels of certain nutrients than coconut milk.

Skip The Cakes And Pastries

Baked goods may taste good, but they are loaded with sugar and saturated fat that can make triglyceride levels climb. Bake goods and pastries may also contain dangerous trans fats. These types of fats should be avoided in all amounts. Read nutrition labels before you indulge in baked goods. If you strive for weight loss, to reduce high cholesterol, and to modify other factors for cardiovascular disease, limit your consumption of baked goods. Eat high-fiber, whole grain foods instead of baked goods. Just be mindful to stay within the carbohydrate intake limit your doctor has established for you to reach your triglyceride goals.

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Make Your Own Macaroni And Cheese With A Healthy Twist

The typical mac-and-cheese ingredients whole milk, butter, and cheese are loaded with saturated fat. But this all-American comfort recipe does not have to be a cholesterol-inducing food. By substituting 1 percent milk and evaporated milk for butter and whole milk, and using reduced-fat cheese, you can decrease the calories and have macaroni and cheese with about a third less fat and saturated fat compared with the traditional recipe.

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What Are Your Numbers Hdl Ldl Triglycerides And Why They Matter

Is Coconut Oil Going to Raise Your Cholesterol?

Your risk for cardiovascular disease is determined by a lipid panel, which is a blood test that measures your high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. High cholesterol is defined as 200 milligrams per deciliter , according to the CDC.

When coupled with high LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides can lead to a buildup of fat in the artery walls and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, according to the AHA. Knowing these numbers is an important part of managing your cardiovascular disease risk.

Ader was diagnosed with high cholesterol and prescribed statins when he was in his early 30s, despite a fairly healthy lifestyle he ran, ate healthy, and didnt smoke prior to diagnosis. When he was in his early 40s, Ader, who has a family history of heart disease, had angina, or chest pains that occur when your heart muscles dont get enough oxygen-rich blood, and had to have a stent put into his heart.

He continued to stay physically active and tried to make his diet even healthier by cutting out red meat, limiting cheese, and switching to soy milk. Despite his efforts, Ader, who had a relatively stressful job working for an investment bank, had a heart attack when he was 49, on an international flight in the midst of an intensely busy business trip.

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Does Cow’s Milk Have Cholesterol

Whole cow’s milk has 149 calories and 24 milligrams of cholesterol in an 8-ounce serving.

Milk comes not just from cows , but also from plant-based sources such as soybeans, almonds, rice, and coconuts. Dairy milk from a cow is available in different varieties of fat content, and plant-based milk has varying amounts of calories and cholesterol well.

Consuming high amounts of cholesterol and calories can lead to health problems, especially heart disease. Research suggests that for most people, a moderate intake of cow’s milk does not have an adverse effect on cardiovascular health. Learn more about your different milk choices and their nutrients, including cholesterol.

Which Milk Is Best

Whole milk. 2%. 1%. Skim. Almond. Rice. Coconut. Chocolate. Almond-Coconut. Ai yai yai!

Is it any wonder that people are confused these days about which milk is best for health? On supermarket shelves are seemingly endless varieties. Get answers.

With so many milks to choose from, what’s truly best for your health? Find out, and learn a surprising fact about 1% and 2% milk.

To help streamline your grocery shopping, the registered dietitians and doctors at the Pritikin Longevity Center recently scrutinized the many types of milks currently available.

Here are their recommendations for helping you decide which milk is best, which ones are passable, and what ought to just remain on the shelf.

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