I can use coconut oil every day

It used to hold the "cold dog" dessert together as palmin and was considered unhealthy and sinful. Today coconut oil is a kind of miracle cure, especially for people who pay special attention to their diet. It is said to protect against cardiovascular diseases, help with weight loss, increase athletic performance and even alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer's and AIDS. Many vegans use coconut oil instead of butter or cream and use it for frying.

In the midst of this hype, the Freiburg scientist Karin Michels recently described coconut oil as "the pure poison" for the heart, for example. The YouTube video with her lecture was clicked hundreds of thousands of times and discussed heatedly. In the meantime, the scientist has apologized for her "unfortunate choice of words", but at the same time explained in more detail in a statement on the university website why she still considers coconut oil to be unhealthy.

Some believe that coconut oil makes you lean

In fact, coconut oil consists predominantly, around 90 percent, of saturated fatty acids, which, according to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), should not make up more than ten percent of the daily energy intake. Saturated fats, which are mainly found in animal foods such as bacon and butter, increase cholesterol levels and are therefore suspected of being a risk for heart disease. This also applies to coconut oil, as an overview study from 2016 showed. Accordingly, all test subjects who had consumed coconut oil had higher LDL values ‚Äč‚Äčthan study participants who had, for example, eaten sunflower oil.

"There are reliable indications from human studies that a high proportion of saturated fatty acids is really harmful to the heart," says Stefan Lorkowski, nutritionist at the University of Jena and Vice President of the DGE. It is scientifically proven that replacing saturated fats, such as those in coconut oil, with unsaturated fatty acids in olive, walnut, linseed or rapeseed oil lowers the risk of heart disease.

From a health point of view, however, it is positive that coconut oil is sometimes used in finished products to replace partially hydrogenated fats and thus reduce the content of trans fatty acids. Because trans fatty acids have been proven to be harmful to the arteries. "Replacing partially hydrogenated fats is a good thing," says Eric Rimm, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health. "When it comes to small amounts." As always, the dose makes the poison. Regardless of the saturated fatty acids, virgin coconut oil actually also contains healthy accompanying substances such as vitamin E and secondary plant substances such as polyphenols.

You should be careful when frying with coconut oil: According to Stiftung Warentest, virgin oil is only suitable for heating at low temperatures. When used in moderation, coconut oil is definitely not toxic. "Humans have a very high metabolic flexibility, otherwise they would have been extinct long ago," says Lorkowski. But there is also no good reason to consume coconut oil in large quantities.