There are so many articles about the benefits of coconut products. But are the health benefits of coconut all they’re cracked up to be? Our intern Siobhan Parry looked into the pros and cons of the most common coconut products lining the shelves of wholefoods stores and supermarkets. 

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is often framed as the solution to all of your problems. Cook with it, moisture your skin with it, remove your mascara. *pours coconut oil over entire life*

But is it really the world’s healthiest oil? Health fanatics substitute butter or olive oil for coconut oil due to its high content of lauric acid, a fatty acid that mimics healthy unsaturated fats by boosting “good” cholesterol. But a whopping 92% of the oil extracted from the flesh of a coconut contains saturated fat, which can increase the “bad” cholesterol in your blood stream. By all means, slather coconut oil all over your body (it’s a hella good moisturiser), but as always with anything delicious, consume in moderation.

Coconut water

Is coconut water really Mother Nature’s hangover cure? Should you really trade in your trusty tap water for this au-naturale thirst quencher to replace essential electrolytes after a sweaty workout sesh or a night out on the town?

It’s been proclaimed as your solution to digestion, weight loss and ageing by health fanatics. But dieticians are calling bs on these too-good-to-be-true health claims. It is marketed as a nutritional goldmine, but only contains small amounts of minerals such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Save some $$$ and opt for trusty old tap water as your thirst quencher, but for a refreshing bevvy, water straight from a fresh coconut (rather than pre-packaged bottles) is best.

Coconut sugar

Suga Suga how you get so fly? Why have alternative health food seekers turned to coconut sugar to satisfy their sweet tooth? The health claims do sound promising. A low GI of 35, minimal processing which retains its rich mineral content of calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium. But the sugar doesn’t directly come from a fresh coconut. Fresh sap from the coconut palm is collected from its cut flower buds, and it’s then boiled until it thickens and solidifies. Sorry to break it to you, but coconut sugar is no super food, because it is not a whole food! If you’re using it for its ‘health benefits,’ don’t count on it for any quick weight loss fixes.

Co-yo (Coconut yoghurt)

Is Co-Yo the new Fro-Yo? Not too long ago, frozen yoghurt was hailed as the healthy, fun alternative to a cheeky pint of ice cream. It was a short lived fad. But for many, coyo is their new fave dairy free alternative to yoghurt products. Alternative health seekers love coconut yoghurt, as it is free from dairy, soy, gluten, lactose, and added sugars. But keep in mind Co-Yo falls short in calcium and protein compared to a non-fat, greek yoghurt. Just like other products in the coconut fam, it is high in saturated fats. Compared to a low fat greek natural yoghurt, containing 3.0g of saturated fats per 100g, one pot of Co-Yo contains 13.8g of saturated fats per 100g.

Image credit: Siobhan Parry

Siobhan Parry

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