Over the last few years the healthy eating industry has claimed that coconut oil is a healthy fat and even a superfood, but recently this trendy ingredient has been in a controversial spotlight as experts debate whether coconut oil is really good for you. What's the truth behind this dispute?
Is coconut oil as healthy as we once thought?
This anti-inflammatory, antioxidant filled oil has been revered for supporting fat loss, your nervous system, brain and memory function, as well as increasing good cholesterol and promoting heart health.
However, in recent weeks coconut oil has sprung up all over the news as its benefits are now being hotly debated by experts after the American Heart Association published an advisory about dietary fats and cardiovascular disease, stating that coconut oil has more ‘bad' fat than beef and butter and even recommends replacing coconut oil with polyunsaturated fats like corn, soybean and peanut oils.
So what's the truth? Are you more confused than ever? We've rounded up some of the top articles on this topic so that you can read the various opinions and decide for yourself what is right for you.
My opinion: I still believe that coconut oil is an extremely healthy oil to eat in moderation, but I also believe that every body responds differently to different foods and that you need to explore what works for you. Here is some more food for thought on the topic!
What the American Heart Association (AHA) says about coconut oil
This “presidential advisory” from the AHA started a ripple effect after its release announcing that coconut oil raises ‘bad' cholesterol and stating that, “We conclude strongly that lowering intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, will lower the incidence of Cardiovascular Disease.” Since coconut oil is a saturated fat, this advisory didn't fare well for coconut oil proponents.
What Chris Kresser says about coconut oil
Chris Kresser, a globally recognized leader in the fields of ancestral health, Paleo nutrition, and functional and integrative medicine, responded to the AHA publication citing his extensive report on why saturated fat does not cause heart disease and that coconut oil in fact does have a myriad of health benefits. In this article, he summarizes his counter argument, stating that the AHA subjectively hand picked the studies they wanted to cite – influenced by the industry leaders who fund them – and reveals flaws in their research.
What The Huffington Post says about coconut oil
The Huffington Post followed up the AHA's report with this article, reinforcing the ‘bad' affects of coconut oil and suggests to stay clear of it, replacing it instead with olive oil in our diets. They echo the AHA in recommending that, “you can put it on your body, but don’t put it in your body.”
What Dr. Axe says about coconut oil
Dr. Josh Axe is a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic and a clinical nutritionist with the second-most visited natural health website in the world. He firmly believes that, in general, the recommendations in the AHA's report are “nearsighted” and that “the AHA is looking only at heart health and basing heart health on total cholesterol levels. This isn’t necessarily the most accurate way to determine heart health.”
Instead, Dr. Axe shares that, “The truth is saturated fats from coconut oil, cacao, ghee and grass-fed sources likely aren’t the culprits when it comes to heart disease. Hydrogenated oil, refined grains, sugar and processed foods are the biggest villains.” Read his full report here!
What Diana Rodgers Says about Coconut Oil
Diana Rodgers, founder of the Sustainable Dish, is a “real food” Licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who breaks down the ‘who' behind the AHA, the problem with nutrition research, and cites in this post how, “There’s no strong data connecting saturated fat and cardiovascular disease.” She goes on to say, “I don’t think we all need to throw out our coconut oil. Focus on eating real food, including coconut oil, butter and other traditional fats. Please do not avoid healthy fats in favor of margarine, as the AHA recommends. Real, whole, environmentally sustainable food will always be healthy, regardless of what the latest report may claim.”
So – what's your opinion on coconut oil? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Will you continue to use coconut oil?
For me, I will continue to consume fats that are as close to their natural form as possible and are minimally processed, like organic unrefined coconut oil, organic grass-fed ghee, organic grass-fed butter and organic avocado oil, as I always do – in moderation!
If you want to learn more about the benefits of ‘real food', check out my Ultimate Guide: What is Real Food? here!
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