“You can put it on your body, but don't put it in your body."
In recent years, coconut oil has transcended. Its multifunctionality rivals that of duct tape. Coconut oil is not only used as a natural health and cooking resource, but as a dynamic beauty tool. Among the many health claims regarding coconut oil, it has been said to boost the metabolism, fight various forms of cancer and restore gut health.
However, a recent study by the American Heart Association (AHA) reveals major health concerns regarding coconut oil consumption and directly connects coconut oil to Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).
According to the study, up to 82% of the fat found in coconut oil corresponds to saturated fat. Compared to other natural oils, like canola — containing only 7% saturated fat — coconut oil way surpasses the recommended daily amount of 5-6% saturated fat. Based on a diet of 2,000 calories, this percentage would only correspond to 13 grams — or 1 tablespoon– of saturated fat per day.
The AHA also explains the misconception that exists in relation to this matter. A recent survey reported 72% of the American population rated coconut oil as a “healthy fooNew Evidence Suggests Coconut Oil Is NOT The Health Food You Think It LSD”, while only 37% of nutritionists shared this impression.
Frank Sacks, professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and lead author of the report, says the huge misconception is almost unfathomable. However, it is partially explained by the continual onslaught of advertisements and studies that support this idea.
Marie Pierre St-Onge, associate professor of nutritional medicine at Cornell University told TIME magazine, “The reason coconut oil is so popular for weight loss is partly due to my research on medium-chain triglycerides”. The research explained that consuming higher rates of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) in comparison to long-chain triglycerides (LCT) may increase the metabolism.
Yet, the problem is St-Onge’s research used 100% medium-chain triglycerides content, while regular sold coconut oil only contains up to 15% MCT.
The AHA report also revealed that this high-fat oil increases the presence of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the system, which consequently can increase the risks of suffering from cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Robin Berzin, physician and founder of Parsley Health, explains that it’s not the coconut oil itself that increases high cholesterol levels on the blood system but combining high-fat oils consumption with bad dietary habits.
In parallel, Dr. William Cole, a functional medicine practitioner explains “If you’re not going to eat vegetables and avoid carby junk foods, I suggest limiting your saturated fat intake, coconut oil included”.
Or as Dr. Sacks said, “you can put it on your body, but don’t put it in your body”.