Coconut oil is a fat solid at room temperature, and it’s produced from the white flesh of coconuts. Being made of up to 90% of saturated fat, coconut oil was demonized for a long time together with butter, lard and drippings, but it’s increasing popular now that low carb, keto and paleo diets are on the rise.
A significant difference compared to the animal saturated fats, that are mostly made of long chain triglycerides (LCTs), about 70% of the triglycerides in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). This gives coconut oil a very important place in terms of energy production, because MCTs are quicker to digest and are rapidly utilized by the liver to produce energy.
MCTs also increases basal energy expenditure, and it’s reasonable to expect the same effect eating coconut oil that contains a large percentage of them, and seem to be able to help shed intravisceral (belly) fat, particularly unhealthy compared to other fat deposits in the body.
Coconut oil is often used to prepare keto or low carb desserts, but also as a butter substitute in the paleo diet. It’s also used to protect lips, hair and moisturize the skin, and has a mild anti bacteric effect.
It’s also delicious.
Short answer: no, you don’t have to use it if you don’t want, but you can certainly do if you like it.
If you want to use coconut oil, be sure to buy “virgin” or “cold pressed” oils, the oil should be solid and white at room temperature (unless it’s Summer in Australia…) and not liquid in the jar.