Verify: Is coconut oil actually unhealthy?

We're tackling a big question about a big-selling supplement: Coconut oil. Last week, the American Heart Association released a "Presidential Advisory" against the supplement, but several people online said it was really the work of "Big Pharma." So, is i

QUESTION:

Is coconut oil actually unhealthy?

ANSWER:

Yes, we can verify coconut oil is not recommended to be a part of your diet.

SOURCES:

Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association

PROCESS:

Last week, the American Heart Association released a "Presidential Advisory" claiming coconut oil is as unhealthy as pork lard, beef tallow, and palm oil because it has 82 percent saturated fat.

The advisory sparked a frenzy online with some people saying it was really the work of “Big Pharma.”

So, WUSA9 reached out to the lead scientist at Harvard University who’s advising the American Heart Association on the topic.

“Coconut oil, because it’s so heavily saturated, prevents the breakdown of cholesterol in the body. So, essentially it keeps cholesterol circulating at higher levels and that gets into the arteries and causes inflammation and eventually ruptures the artery wall and causes a heart attack,” explained Dr. Frank Sacks through a Skype interview.

Dr. Sacks’ study, released just a few days ago, says that because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol—the bad kind of cholesterol—and because it has no favorable effects to your health, they advise against using it.

He says the science speaks for itself.

“We review the evidence, it gets vetted and peer reviewed externally and internally multiple times. It’s meant to be an authoritative advisory to the public and health professionals. Those kinds of advisories from the American Heart Association are very carefully vetted, and the public should trust them.”

The AHA said the advisory is meant to clear up misinformation about saturated fat and to fight heart disease, which is the leading cause of death around the world.

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© 2017 WUSA-TV


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