When it comes to coconuts: Water good, oil bad.

Diet & Nutrition

Coconut is the latest health food craze, with everyone from athletes to nutritionists to Dr. Oz talking about its potential benefits. But there is more to coconut water than meets the eye. And the trend has carried over into other coconut products like milk and oil, that are not nearly as good for you.

Coconut oil is actually anything but healthy. It’s an artery-clogging tropical oil – possibly one of the least healthy oil options out there (to eat). Tropical oils are very high in saturated fat, a key contributor to heart disease.

Coconut water vs. sports drinks

Coconut water – the clear stuff – is actually a relatively healthy drink. It is low in calories, fat free and has more potassium than four bananas. The form of carbohydrate in coconut water is easily digestible, making it a good alternative to sugary sports drinks. But it has far less sodium than sports drinks, so it may not be as effective for athletes exercising rigorously for long periods in high temperatures.

The other thing to pay attention to with coconut water is the taste. If you don’t like the nutty flavor of plain coconut water, don’t opt instead for more sugary versions or you may as well be drinking a high-calorie sports drink.

Even with low-calorie plain coconut water, the calories can add up quickly if you drink a lot of it. For most people, plain, no-calorie water is still the best hydration option.

Coconut oil vs. butter

Yes, butter—that long maligned contributor to heart disease—has less saturated fat than coconut oil. And you won’t find many people picking up butter from the supermarket shelves for its “health” benefits. Yet somehow, people have gotten the idea that coconut oil is healthy.

When it comes to oil, you are better off using one of the many other oils that are lower in saturated fat than coconut oil. To name a few of the healthiest:

  • Sunflower
  • Grapeseed
  • Safflower
  • Sesame
  • Olive
  • Canola

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