Unfortunately, you have to believe that coconut oil is good for you, which I don't. I'm sure when enough people join Cake we'll hear passionate arguments for the other side, but here's what I believe:
The food companies have enormous incentive to get us to accept some form of saturated fat because it makes baked goods yummy without feeling greasy or leaving oil stains on papers and boxes. First it was lard, and the claim was it made your hair shiny. Then it was margarine, healthy because it was made from vegetables (well, vegetable oils. Part of the marketing was to use the term vegetable oil when none of them actually come from vegetables). Then it was partially hydrogenated fat, like Crisco. You could put all you wanted in the brownies because it wasn't lard. And now it's coconut and palm oils, because they are just like partially hydrogenated oils without the scary name that has been blackened by actual health studies.
As the dean of cardiology at Stanford told us in a talk last year, he's spent the last 38 years giving heart disease to herbivores—monkeys, antelopes, rabbits—for research using the most atherosclerotic agent known: coconut oil. It only takes a few months.
Is there just no such thing as a "good oil"? Is it that excessive coconut oil is bad, but a small or moderate amount is ok? I really have no sense of how bad 4g of coconut oil is.
I'm trying to understand the thresholds without going straight to the nuclear it's bad if it has any coconut oil option.
That's a good question and I think the answer is it depends on your DNA. If your cholesterol stays below 150 with a little coconut oil, then I don't think it hurts you. There are no guarantees in life, but the closest you come is if your total cholesterol is below 150 without using statins to get there, your chance of a heart attack is about like your chance of dying in air travel.
Between 150-200, however, 2.3 million Americans die per year, and above 200 heart disease really gets rolling.
The thing is, you can have <150 and then have a double cheeseburger at lunch, and it can go to >200 in the afternoon as the fat bomb circulates. Cholesterol only reflects the last two weeks of your eating, and your weight. The only real way to know is go to a local lab (they are all over the place and you don't need a doc to order the test) and get your cholesterol measured every two weeks. It doesn't take long to figure out what your DNA will let you get away with.
Interesting, should we be getting our cholesterol tested regularly?
My neighbor can bask in the sun all day and never get burned, but with my Scottish skin I'll never be able to.
So it is with cholesterol. If you get a cholesterol test and your total is above 150, then you're like most people who live in America. I'm not aware of anyone who couldn't get it close to 150 without medication, but cholesterol tests are like a scale is to people who are trying to lose weight. Once the weight is off, maybe you don't need to weigh as often because you can tell by how tight your belt is, but the scale is really useful along the way. You find out you can't get away with the late night bag of Doritos.
A slender and fit friend who has relatives who died in their early 40s from heart disease, sent me his annual blood test last month. 280 total cholesterol. He was upset because he tries to eat healthy and he runs. But cheese and coconut oil. Could they really be culprits?
So he cut them out for a few weeks and went to someplace like CVS pharmacy to get his cholesterol checked. 178. Bummer because cheese is yummy. Can he have a little? What if its feta and not hard cheddar? A few weeks of trial and a quick cholesterol test and he'll know.