No, nothing to do with its saturated fat. In fact, the saturated fat in coconut oil is good, not bad at all. What we're discussing here are some downsides of coconut oil in general. If you're a staunch believer of coconut oil benefits, you'll be curious to know what flaws coconut oil could have. If you're a coconut oil skeptic, all the more you won't want to miss out on such an opportunity to satisfy your bad mouth.
Anyway, whoever you are, let's see what's not so good about coconut oil. Some disadvantages might shock you.
Disadvantage #1: Not-so-high smoke point
If you're eating coconut oil raw for health benefits or putting it on your skin for daily care, its smoke point that ranges from 320 to 350 °F (160 to 177 °C) doesn't concern you at all.
But if you want to cook your food with it, then you have to watch the flame.
I used to turn up full fire for pan-searing. But ever since using coconut oil, I try to control that so that the heat won't break the oil's smoke point.
Breaking its smoke point means you're turning its properties from healthful to harmful.
So, it can be kind of challenging at times especially when you want to serve your cooked food fast.
Of course, cooking doesn't necessarily require high heat. If you cook at medium or even lower temperature, that's the ideal way for reaping benefits from cooking with coconut oil.
But if deep-frying is needed that normally requires high heat (i.e. above 350 °F or 177 °C), then the technique I use is to deep-fry longer with relatively lower heat.
This means that you'll have to wait longer than usual. I take that as a patience training. You should also plan ahead so that you have ample time to cook your food with coconut oil.
This may sound troublesome to you. But think about the benefits coconut oil can bring to your health. It's definitely worth every second waiting.
Disadvantage #2: Coconut oil may turn moldy
Have you ever seen molds growing over coconut oil before?
Yuks! But hey, doesn't it have antimicrobial properties? When we put coconut oil on our skin it helps to fight germs and keep our skin germ-free. When we consume it, it boosts our immunity. Right?
Those are true, absolutely. But coconut oil is totally useless by itself.
It can fight molds, viruses and other harmful microbes only when its triglycerides unleash free fatty acids or form into monoglycerides. These are the real brutal germ fighters.
How to make that happen?
The digestive enzymes our body produces or the friendly lipophilic (fat-loving) bacteria on our skin can help achieve that. Digestive enzymes or lipophilic bacteria can break down a triglyceride into its free fatty acids or form monoglycerides.
That explains why coconut oil (in its original form) is completely defenseless against mold attack.
But good news is, molds need water to thrive and survive. So, keeping the container clean and dry will prevent the growth of molds.
The first time I saw molds on coconut oil was in my 5-ml glass dropper bottle. I like to wash my hands first before applying coconut oil to my skin. But I didn't wipe my hands completely dry and I started to dab coconut oil on my hands with the dropper.
The dropper actually got in contact with the water on my skin. So, you can imagine how the molds started to grow inside the bottle over time.
On top of that, prolonged reaction with water can cause coconut oil to turn sour and smell like cheese or vomit.
Did you know how fractionated coconut oil is made from coconut oil?
It's via hydrolysis. Hydrolysis makes use of water to split the triglycerides in coconut oil into its individual compounds of fatty acids. More presence of free fatty acids in the oil will make the oil more acidic and hence, smell pungent and sour.
Therefore, take good care of coconut oil and coconut oil will take good care of both your health and skin.
Disadvantage #3: Coconut oil "bites" your throat
If you drink coconut oil straight off the spoon, you'll feel a bit scratchy in your throat. Same thing happens when you do coconut oil pulling and the oil "kisses" your throat.
Why does it happen?
If all triglycerides in coconut oil remain intact, then the oil will have a pH 7, which is as neutral as water.
But no matter how perfect the oil-making process is, it can never perfectly preserve all triglycerides in their complete form. This is because a small amount of triglycerides tend to give way and free up their fatty acids due to some inadvertent environmental factors.
These free fatty acids are the ones that make coconut oil slightly acidic (at around pH 5).
This value still renders the oil applicable on skin or edible as food. Thanks to this pH 5 in coconut oil that makes it a good match to our skin pH.
But how to fix that scratchy throat issue when you consume coconut oil or use it for oil pulling?
Very simple. Just mingle coconut oil with your food (or beverages like juice or smoothie). Swallowing coconut oil with food can mitigate the discomforting scratchy sensation, which can retain for hours if you were to drink it without food.
As for oil-pulling, you just have to be cautious to not let coconut oil touch your throat. When you spit out the mixture (of coconut oil and your saliva) after pulling, be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly. Use warm water for better rinsing.
Any residual coconut oil left in your mouth can be more acidic than before oil-pulling. This is because the digestive enzymes in your saliva may have already fully released the free fatty acids in the oil. That's why at this point, even swallowing a bit can "bite" your throat.
But don't worry too much about that. A little bit won't kill. And don't mistake that scratchy sensation for sore throat. This mild "side effect" from coconut oil will go away by itself. But before it vanishes, do not agitate your throat further especially by taking spicy food.
Find out next: 7 virgin coconut oil disadvantages »