Coconut Oil Isn't Actually That Healthy

The American Heart Association isn't a fan

For years, we've been hearing about the benefits of coconut oil, whether it be in cooking, for our hair or as a healthy/vegan substitute for butter. And while most of us know saturated fat is bad for our health, we may have all been ignoring one very sad factor: Our favorite superfood is a huge offender when it comes to saturated fat. In fact, according to its recently updated fat guidelines, the American Heart Association says we should avoid coconut oil just as we would butter or other fatty animal products like beef and lamb. Party's over.

Products like coconut oil that are high in saturated fats can raise the levels of harmful cholesterol and increase the risk of things like heart disease and strokes. The AHA says saturated fats should be reduced to no more than 5 to 6 percent of one's total daily calories.

Unsaturated fats (found in foods like salmon, avocados, olives and nuts) on the other hand, may help improve your cholesterol, when used in place of saturated and trans fats, the guideline says.

So all those health food bloggers swapping coconut for olive oil might want to reconsider their ways. One tiny tablespoon of coconut oil has a whopping 12 grams of saturated fat, while the same serving of olive oil has only one gram, Food & Wine reports.

Might be time to revisit all those Mediterranean diet recipes.