New study says coconut oil not as healthy as initially thought

(WFLA) - We've heard eggs are good for you, then we hear they're bad. Butter was once healthy, but then others say margarine is better. This time, the debate is over coconut oil.

Some call it a cure-all and a key to weight loss, but now, a new American Heart Association study says go ahead and put it ON your body, just not IN your body.

Regardless of this new information, local trainers like Rafael Justo say it's something our bodies can use.

"I think most definitely coconut oil should be used on an everyday basis," said Justo.

The new report advises people not to use coconut oil in their food because of the saturated fat.

Studies show coconut oil to be about 82 percent saturated fat, whereas butter is 63 percent saturated fat. Beef fat is 50 percent and pork lard is about 39 percent saturated fat.

Dietitian Abigail Dougherty says coconut oil comes in many different variations and this study only focused on one of them.

"A lot of the coconut oil that this person was using in the study was 100 percent medium chain triglyceride. But, the stuff we get at the store is like, 13 to 15 percent. There are so many different things you want to look at, so I'd would just wait for more research, honestly, and stick with moderation," she said.

Moderation is exactly what Justo will continue recommending to his clients.

"You can take it as supplements. You can use it on your skin. You can use it on your hair. You can cook with it, just use it every day," he said. "It's great."

The American Heart Association says coconut oil increases our LDL cholesterol. That's the kind we want to avoid.

When it comes to cooking with coconut oil, you can. However, a few healthier options would be to use olive oil or vegetable oil.

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