You don’t have to look far to find myriad “experts” hyping the purported health benefits of coconut oil:
- “Powerful Medicinal Properties”
- “Quite Beneficial For The Heart”
- “Proven Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment”
- “Clears Up Herpes”
- “It Prevents [Choose Your Favorite Disease]”
While some of the scientific study on coconut oil seems promising, the new advisory from the American Heart Association, or AHA, didn’t address claims about coconut oil’s use for herpes, Alzheimer’s or epilepsy. But it did debunk what is probably the best-known myth–that coconut oil is somehow good for your heart.
Contrary to what hawkers of coconut oil claim, says the AHA, coconut oil will raise your LDL cholesterol. (Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol is the so-called “bad” cholesterol which has long been believed to increase your risk of coronary heart disease.) And in that respect, it is just as bad as butter, palm oil or tallow.
“I just don’t know who is pushing [coconut oil],” said the advisory’s lead author, Frank Sacks, “but it’s not scientists.” He speculates that the current coconut fad “may be driven by manufacturers” or, possibly, even by nations whose economy is based on coconut oil exports.
What The American Heart Association Recommends Instead
Fat is a necessary nutrient but many of us simply eat too much of it, especially when it comes to saturated fats. Some good swaps include canola, corn, soybean or olive oil for cooking.
Avocado oil and oils made from tree nuts are also healthier choices.
Coconut Oil Lovers Fight Back
Of course, legions of coconut oil lovers aren’t taking the advisory in stride. Since the AHA made public its recommendations on Thursday, “natural” bloggers have struck back with claims that the advisory is just another example of the pressure “Big Pharma” is feeling from the coconut oil industry. “Clearly a Threat to Big Pharma’s Drugs,” claimed one blogger. Another speculated that the AHA is “influenced by pharma corps” while yet another pronounced the entire advisory “propaganda.”