A recently published study in the Journal of Functional Foods has raised concerns regarding the long-term consumption of extra-virgin coconut oil and its potential health impacts. The study’s findings suggest that oral supplementation of this coconut oil can lead to significant changes in various aspects of health, including food intake, weight gain, anxious behavior, and inflammation in critical body systems.
Metabolic Hormones Impaired
Researchers also observed that key metabolic hormones, such as leptin and insulin, which play pivotal roles in regulating feelings of fullness and controlling blood sugar levels, exhibited impaired activation of cellular mechanisms in response to coconut oil supplementation. Furthermore, the study indicated that the biochemical pathways responsible for fat synthesis were stimulated.
Warnings Against Excessive Consumption
Marcio Alberto Torsoni, a researcher at the State University of Campinas’s School of Applied Sciences in Brazil, stressed the importance of these findings. He cautioned that prolonged coconut oil supplementation may lead to significant metabolic alterations that contribute to obesity and related health issues. Torsoni emphasized that although these changes may occur gradually and go unnoticed, they have the potential to result in substantial health problems.
Popularity of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has gained popularity in recent years, with many individuals incorporating it into their diets. However, Torsoni pointed out that in most cases, people consume coconut oil without the guidance of a nutritionist who can tailor the daily dosage to individual needs.
Experiment on Healthy Mice
The research team conducted an experiment using healthy mice as subjects. These mice received a daily dose of coconut oil for eight weeks, equivalent to the caloric content of approximately a soup spoonful (13 grams) per day. This amount corresponds to around 5% of the daily calories from saturated fat for an average adult of appropriate weight and height.
In light of these findings, the Brazilian Health Ministry’s Dietary Guidelines recommend using coconut oil sparingly, primarily as a seasoning or part of a sauce, preferably with fresh or minimally processed vegetables. Torsoni strongly emphasized that coconut oil is not recommended as a supplement for treating diseases or improving health.
Awareness and Professional Guidance
The study serves as a crucial reminder of the potential risks associated with excessive coconut oil consumption. It highlights the importance of moderation in dietary choices and the need for professional guidance when considering dietary supplements.