Monday, September 17, 2012

About Fats, Part 1: Olive Oil vs. Coconut Oil

Often people ask me about fats. The most common question is what fat is better among the “good” fats: Olive oil  vs. Coconut oil. The truth is, there is really no one single answer to this question because both of these fats are very different. Let’s investigate…

Olive Oil:

-       Also known as oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid that is very common in the Mediterranean Diet. 

-       One tablespoon contains 119 calories.


-       Studies shown this to lower total cholesterol and raise HDL (aka “good” cholesterol).
-       Linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (as well as a number of other chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s).
-       Associated to reducing risk of cancer.
-       Powerful antioxidant (phenolic compounds).
-       Linked to reducing hypertension (high blood pressure).
-       A natural anti-inflammatory.
-       Is part of the treatment to delay the onset (but not a cure) to ALD aka Lorenzo’s Oil disease.

Coconut Oil:

-       Also known as primarily lauric acid.

-       One tablespoon contains 117 calories (and 12 grams of saturated fat).


-       Although coconut oil has been shown to raise overall cholesterol (due to high saturated fat content), it has also shown to raise HDL (aka “good” cholesterol).
-       Contains anti-fungal properties.
-       Has some antioxidants (polyphenols).
-       Contains medium chain fatty acids, which are absorbed optimally in the small intestine (especially among those who have a difficult time absorbing fats - such as ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease).


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