Coconut oil is 'pure poison', says Harvard professor

A Harvard professor just busted the myth that coconut oil is good for you, calling it 'pure poison'

Health Matters: Coconut Oil, Good or Bad?

Notice that coconut oil is not included in the list of fats that are the smartest, healthiest options.

According to Michels, coconut oil is more unsafe than lard because it nearly exclusively contains saturated fatty acids, the kind that can clog the coronary arteries.

The speech was called Coconut Oil and other Nutritional Errors.

"It's not a hard topic, scientifically", said Frank Sacks, a professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of an AHA advisory on dietary fats released a year ago.

Coconut oil in a jar on wood table close-up.

In 2017 the American Heart Association issued an advisory that recommended against the use of coconut oil. While Michels isn't wrong about the whole saturated fat thing - coconut oil contains 12 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon - the coconut oil conversation is more nuanced than Michels' statement is leading people to believe. "In general, I recommend that people aim to get a wide variety of fats in their diet to get the balance of fatty acids our body needs". Other foods rich in saturated fats include hard cheese, ghee, meat pies, sausages etc. Foods with high content of unsaturated fatty acids include nuts, seeds, oily fish, vegetable oils, soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil and avocado etc.

Coconut oil has become hugely popular but many health experts aren't sold on this "superfood".

Another study commonly cited as evidence that coconut oil boosts metabolism does not, in fact, make any such claim, said that study's author, Columbia University's Marie-Pierre St-Onge. At this portion, any benefits could easily be negated by the adverse effects of ingesting so much saturated fat.

While scientists never reached any conclusions that should have elevated coconut to its extreme superfood status, what they found wasn't all bad - and it certainly wasn't poison. "This is one of the worst foods you can eat". "People think of the benefits of coconut oil, thinking it has fewer calories, helps you lose weight, some people like the flavor of it, but we still have to consider it as a saturated fat", she said.

"My message is that we can eat coconut oil", Majumdar said, "but to be mindful of how it fits into our daily life". This review had shown that coconut oil can raise the levels of HDL cholesterol but also raises total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides over and above unsaturated fats such as those contained in olive oil.

"For the time being, if you like the taste of coconut oil, then, as with butter, it's fine to use it every now and then".

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