The American Heart Association came out recently with a report advising against the use of coconut oil.
The Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory looked on existing data in saturated fat, which clearly shows that coconut oil increased LDL cholesterol in seven out of seven controlled trials. Researchers didn’t differentiate between coconut oil and other oils that are high in saturated fat, like butter, beef fat and palm oil. Actually, 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated, according to the data — far beyond butter (63%), beef fat (50%) and pork lard (39%).
These are the oils you should be using because coconut oil heightens 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.
Frank Sacks, lead author on the report, said he has no knowledge why people think coconut oil is healthy. It’s almost 100% fat. A previous weight loss studies might be responsible.
“The reason coconut oil is so popular for weight loss is partly due to my research on medium chain triglycerides, Marie-Pierre St-Onge, associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, told TIME in April. Coconut oil has a higher amount of medium-chain triglycerides than most other fats or oils, and my research showed consuming medium-chain triglycerides may increase the rate of metabolism more than eating long-chain triglycerides.”
The problem is St-Onge’s research used a “designer oil” filled with 100% MCTs. Traditional coconut oil only have about 13 to 15%. Another study she published showed smaller doses of MCTs doesn’t help in reducing ones weight in overweight adolescents.
The AHA advised consuming no more than 6% of saturated fat as part of total daily calories for those who need lower cholesterol.
Before you dispose your coconut oil, know that saturated fat is a loaded term. While the AHA warns against it, people who cut saturated fat out of their diet might not necessarily reduce the risk of heart disease, a 2015 BMJ review suggested. That’s because some people fill the void with sugar, white flour and empty calories. Also, some fat is very helpful in the body in absorbing nutrients from other foods. It has been said that butter has gotten a bad history.
Still, it might not be bad to consider vegetable oils or olive oil, according to Sacks. Plus, coconut oil can still be a good moisturizer or hair conditioner.
You can rub it on your body, but don’t put it in your body.