I see a lot of Paleo recipes using Coconut products in their cooking. I've read recent research indicating that the saturated fats in coconut are at least not unhealthy since they aren't hydrogenated, which is what the studies in the 80s were performed on. However, a lot of recipes call for cooking with coconut products. I can understand maybe the pressure cooker since it is <250F but stove top has to hydrogenate those fats. Am I missing something or are we dooming ourselves to heart disease from this simple oversight?
asked bybalor123 (3747)
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on October 10, 2011
at 06:06 AM
Okay, I think there is a little bit of confusion here about hydrogenated fats and the oxidization of fats.
Exposing an oil or fat / lipid to heat can cause it to oxidize, depending on the heat and the fat. Mono-saturated and poly-saturated fats are less stable and more likely to oxidize than saturated fats. Coconut oil is highly saturated making it a good choice for cooking, that said it's smoke point of 177??C (350??F) is moderate, so you don't want to go too crazy with it. Refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 232??C (450??F).
When talking fats / lipids hydrogenation is the process of breaking double carbon bonds in mono-saturated / poly-saturated fats and replacing them with hydrogen atoms, so that they act more like a saturated fat. These are also known as trans fats, and yes they suck. This is usually done under high pressure or heat in the presence of hydrogen and it can't be done in your fry pan, crock pot or pressure cooker.
So you have nothing to worry about when it comes to hydrogenated fat and coconut oil. Just don't burn your coconut oil when cooking and you won't have to worry about oxidized fats either.