Nutritional properties of coconut oil
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Coconut oil has been one of the most widely used vegetable oils since the agricultural revolution. Only in recent years has there been controversy over the desirability of its uso. Controversy has usually stemmed from observed disturbances of calcium or cholesterol metabolism when hydrogenated coconut oil was fed, frequently with inadequate linoleate supplementation, to experimental animals. Furthermore, in many of the studies involving cholesterol, entirely unphysiological amounts of cholesterol have been included in the diet. It is contended here that the findings in such studies are the consequence of abnormal nutrition rather than inherent defects in coconut oil. Evidence from epidemiological studies of arteriosclerosis in populations consuming large amounts of coconut oil are cited to show that coconut oil in a natural diet is not disadvantageous and may even be of advantage. The high level of medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil is discussed from the point of view that they may contribute to beneficial effects on the part of coconut oil under some abnormal conditions.