That’s right, you read that title correctly. Surprisingly, there is quite a bit of internet controversy going on currently over the health of coconut oil. This all started when the American Heart Association (AHA) published a report outlining the negative impacts that coconut oil can have on your health, and attempting to dissuade people from consuming the product. The report, as well as the resulting articles supporting it, discusses how coconut oil has been rising in popularity under the false presumption that it is good for your health. Almost immediately after this report was released, it was met with backlash from other groups and organizations that claimed the report was misleading and even downright false. So, who’s right, and who’s wrong?
As with many issues, this one isn’t black and white, and there really isn’t a “right” side in the discussion, at least not completely.
A report from the American Heart Association reasons that the saturated fat found in coconut oil is the reason for its unhealthy nature. Saturated fats raise LDL, otherwise known as “bad cholesterol,” and because of this, the AHA recommends that people do their best to avoid consuming coconut oil.
However, other groups, such as the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), try to debunk this claim by arguing that the foundation for the “good” vs. “bad” cholesterol reasoning is based on outdated and misconducted studies (some even go so far as to claim that the outside funding received by the AHA can influence the reports). Because of this, they contest that this leads to skewed and misleading reports about the potential benefits or damage caused by coconut oil.
These rebuttals carry a lot of truth, and groups such as the ANH are much closer to the “right side” than the American Heart Association. In actuality, removing saturated fats from your diet can do more harm than good. This is largely because the replacement ingredients are sometimes much worse for your body. For example, many alternatives to coconut butter are processed and unnatural, leading to detrimental health effects. Some studies have even shown that saturated fats do not, in fact, increase your risk of heart disease. And because the AHA’s whole case against coconut oil is its levels of saturated fats, it’s not an argument that holds up well to examination. Coconut oil is a healthy option for you, though, like with all other things, it’s best when consumed in moderation.