A recent USA Today article states that coconut oil isn’t healthy and has never been. It quotes the American Heart Association recently released report which advises against the use of coconut oil,
“Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD [cardiovascular disease], and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil,” the American Heart Association said in the Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory.
Nothing could be further from the truth! And should we really trust the American Heart Association whose dietary advise is consistently confusing?
It’s important to remember that the AHA played a huge role in telling people to start using margarine and other trans fat products. Saturated fats were falsely demonized and those lies were believed by many.
Many recent review studies found that there really is no link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease. A meta-analysis published last year, which pooled data from 21 studies and included nearly 348,000 adults, found no difference in the risks of heart disease and stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.
Dr Mercola put together a list of studies that debunk saturated fat myth:
The Oslo Study (1968): A study of 412 men, aged 30-64 years, found eating a diet low in saturated fats and high in polyunsaturated fats had no influence on rates of sudden death.
L.A. Veterans Study (1969): A study of 850 elderly men that lasted for six years and is widely used to support the diet-heart hypothesis. No significant difference was found in rates of sudden death or heart attack among men eating a mostly animal-foods diet and those eating a high-vegetable-oil diet. However, more non-cardiac deaths, including from cancer, were seen in the vegetable-oil group.
London Soybean Oil Trial (1968): A study of nearly 400 men that lasted for two to seven years. No difference in heart attack rate was found between men following a diet low in saturated fats and high in soybean oil and those following an ordinary diet.
The U.S. Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT): Sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, this is another study that is highly misleading. It compared mortality rates and eating habits of over 12,000 men, and the finding that was widely publicized was that people who ate a low saturated fat and low-cholesterol diet had a marginal reduction in coronary heart disease. However, their mortality from all causes was higher.
Your Body NEEDS Saturated Fat for Optimal Function. It cannot function without saturated fats! Saturated fats are needed for the proper function of your cell membranes, heart, bones, liver, lungs hormones, immune system, genetic regulation and much more.
But please… understand that coconut oil is fine!
Despite coconut oil being more than 90 percent saturated fat, most of which are medium chain triglycerides, the lauric acid is the chief contributor to its assimilation. It also is rich in linoleic acid, oleic acid, poly-phenols, which are responsible for its fragrance and taste, vitamin E, vitamin K, iron, and organic sulfur.
In fact, for heart disease, despite its high saturated fat content, the lauric acid helps in preventing heart problems including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The saturated fats in coconut oil are not harmful and does not increase LDL (bad cholesterol) levels) and in reducing injuries in the arteries is effective in preventing atherosclerosis.
Bull N Y Acad Med. 1968 Aug; 44(8): 1012–1020.
Circulation. 1969; 40: II-1-II-63
The Lancet September 28, 1968, Volume 292, No. 7570, p693-700
ClinicalTrials.gov October 27, 1999