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New Study Suggests Coconut Oil Isn’t The Health Food We All Think It Is

Image: PaulReis123 on Wikimedia Commons

Coconut oil has been touted in recent years as an amazing health product and a great fat to utilize in your diet. Now it turns out that it may have all just been a huge marketing ploy.

In their latest review of dietary fats and the risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) put a strong emphasis on how coconut oil isn’t as good for you as everyone says it is. Here’s why: 82 percent of the fat in coconut oil is saturated fats that lead to a buildup of LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad cholesterol,” that accumulates plaque in your arteries and increases your risk of developing heart disease.

Despite this, the AHA feels that the public doesn’t know the truth about this plant fat because “a recent survey reported that 72 percent of the American public rated coconut oil as a ‘healthy food’ compared with 37 percent of nutritionists.”

You might be asking why coconut oil has such a good reputation if it is in fact unhealthy. As the video above explains, it’s all about the saturated fat. Coconut oil, along with palm oil and palm kernel oil, is a plant-based saturated fat, and unlike other forms of saturated fat — including lard, beef fat, and butter — does not contain actual cholesterol. While the fats from coconut will still eventually turn into cholesterol in our bodies, plants cannot generate this molecule, meaning that “cholesterol-free” suddenly becomes a usable phrase to market coconut oil with.

Coconut oil does increase both “good” and “bad” cholesterol, or HDL and LDL respectively, but the LDL produced from saturated fat makes it worrisome to regularly consume if you want to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. As such, you should limit your intake of all saturated fats, including plant-based ones, if your aim is to consume a healthy and sustainable diet.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Americans Eating More Butter Than They Have in the Past 40 Years

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There was a funny tumblr post I read recently that goes a little something like this:

“My doctor just told me to eat more Taco Bell. Well, actually he said ‘less McDonald’s,’ but I’m pretty sure I know what he meant.”

Healthy-eating loopholes make the world go-round, and according to the Los Angeles Times, it seems our fuddy-duddy little American heads have managed to logic out a “healthy” reason to eat more butter than we have in the past 40 years. Namely, because butter, unlike margarine, is “all natural.”

“Consumers are changing their perception of food and looking for healthier alternatives,” the executive director of the American Butter Institute Anuja Miner told the LAT, which reports that per-capita butter consumption rose to 5.6 pounds in 2012, up from 4.1 pounds in 1997.

Americans have come to understand that products like margarine tend to be higher in trans fats, which are known to raise bad cholesterol — as opposed to the saturated fats found in butter, which are said to be heart-healthy and raise good cholesterol. Thus, the national increase in creamy butter lovin’.

Check back in 40 years when someone inevitably runs the inverse of the story, because that’s just how the world works.

H/T LAT

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Hit-Or-Miss

So Apparently Cheering for a Losing Football Team Makes You Fatter

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Sometimes (read: every time), watching your team lose can hurt as bad as a break-up, or your dog dying, or watching the last thirty minutes of The Fox and The Hound. Well, it turns out football fans not only feel the same pain, they deal with it in the same way too. Namely, by turning into big fat fatties.

According to a recent study published in Psychological Science, football fans can consume up to 28% more saturated fats after a defeat and up to 16% less after a victory, with more pronounced numbers in cities with more fervent fanbases, like Pittsburgh. In other words, after losing games, these fans actually turn to eating their feelings for comfort. All of their greasy, ranch dressing-drenched, deep-fried feelings.

“If you’re a fan, you say, ‘We lost, I lost,’” Pierre Chandon, a co-author of the study, explained to the New York Times. “When people feel their identity is threatened, they compensate by eating indulgent food. It’s more difficult to resist temptation. No one ate broccoli after a defeat.”

The study, which compared the eating habits of fans who lost to fans whose teams did not play or to people from cities without teams, also noted the biggest binges happened on Mondays.

We can only imagine how bad it gets in the fantasy leagues.

H/T + PicThx NYT