Health Check: Coconut oil

Experts are warning people about the high levels of saturated fat in coconut oil (Photo: Danner Evans).

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - A cooking trend may not have all the health benefits many thought it did.

Coconut oil is really popular in the kitchen right now, but the American Heart Association recently released a report advising you to put it down.

The Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory looked into the data on saturated fat, showing coconut oil increased LDL (or bad) cholesterol in seven out of seven controlled trials.

Researchers didn't see a difference between coconut oil and other oils high in saturated fat, like butter, beef fat and palm oil according to USA Today.

Dietician Stacey Evans said 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated. That’s much more than butter, which is 63% saturated.

"It's a saturated fat,” Evans said. “It does contain some antioxidants so it does have some small benefits but too much at a time will cause cardiovascular disease."

Instead, Evans suggests you turn to extra virgin olive oil, avocado, canola and peanut oils -- with GOOD fats that help your body absorb vitamins and nutrients.

The American Heart Association recommends you have 6% or less of your calories from saturated fat. The average American gets 11% according to Evans.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year.

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