Lauric acid is a type of saturated fatty acid; fatty acids join together with a glycerol molecule to form triglycerides, which are the storage form of fat. 89% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are saturated fatty acids, 6% are monounsaturated fatty acids and 2% are polyunsaturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids increase the risk of heart disease as they increase “bad” LDL-cholesterol. Proponents of coconutoil however argue that lauric acid, the main fatty acid found in coconut oil, also significantly raises the level of “good” HDL-cholesterol, so it is a healthier option. It is important to note though that lauric acid makes up only half of the fatty acids in coconut oil, and current advice from the Heart Foundation is to reduce saturated fats in the diet and include moderate amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In comparison to coconut oil, 8% of the fatty acids in both olive oil and canola oil are saturated, 11% of the fatty acids in sunflower oil are saturated, and 20% of the fatty acids in peanut oil are saturated.
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