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Coconut Oil Is "Pure Poison", Says Harvard Professor

Adding coconut oil to everything won't make it healthier.       Flickr  Meal Makeover Moms

Coconut oil reached it's peak popularity in 2015 when it was considered the trendy superfood that was guilt-free and rich in health benefits.

Dr Michels' claims follow a move by the American Heart Association (AHA) previous year to update its guidelines, which recommended that people avoid the saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil.

Coconut oil in particular also contains a unique saturated fat called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), she adds. Frank Sacks said in a statement in 2017.

The American Heart Association report noted that replacing saturated fats, including coconut oil, butter, beef fat or palm oil with healthier, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil lowers cardiovascular disease risk by about 30 percent - as much as cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. A 2016 survey by the New York Times showed that 72 percent of the public versus 37 percent of certified nutritionists believe coconut oil is "healthy". If a fat is saturated, that means it is molecularly structured so that each carbon atom in the fatty acid chain is linked to its maximum number of hydrogen atoms. "For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, that's about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat".

"But the reality is when you look at what coconut oil is made of, 80 percent of it is saturated fat and that's similar to butter which is about 60 percent saturated fat or beef fat which is about 40 percent", CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula told "CBS This Morning" a year ago. In fact, many so-called superfoods may not be all they're cracked up to be.

"The coconut industry - or some other industry - is promoting coconut oil", he said. The rats did indeed stop eating and lost weight, but the injection also slowed the animals' heart rates and lowered their basal body temperature, a toxic effect - though fortunately not one particularly relevant to eating coconut products, given that the study was not about diet or even coconut oil.

Dr Michels just simply doesn't agree - she says it's even worse than lard (that thing you might remember from your granny's pantry, made from fat from the abdomen of a pig - gross we know).

There are several indigenous populations around the world that indulge in coconut oil as their main cooking oil.

"I think Americans, in general, like to look at something independently, and we can't look at any food like that", she said.

In contrast, there are many studies showing that unsaturated fat, especially olive oil, may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. She declared that "coconut oil is pure poison".