Despite the popularity of coconut oil and many eulogies, it received a harsh criticism from healthy food advocates Harvard professor's trend has sparked a barrage of debates and conversations.
In a recent lecture at the University of Freiburg, Karin called Michel's coconut oil "pure poison" and urged people not to eat it.
In the 50-minute talk entitled "Coconut oil and other nutritional errors," Michels, director of the Institute for Prevention and Tumor Epidemiology at the University of Freiburg and a professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said the much beloved sweet-tasting oil is the worst thing you can do in your body.
This is not the first time that coconut oil has been scrutinized and raises many questions about its health benefits compared to risks. What are you worried about?
Coconut oil contains more than 80 percent saturated fat, which makes it firm at room temperature. In comparison, animal fat contains 40 percent saturated fat and butter contains about 27 percent ̵
"As you increase your LDL cholesterol, you risk heart disease," said Drs. Robert Segal, cardiologist and founder of Manhattan Cardiology, and co-founder of LabFinder.com to ABC News. "What some people do not know because, instead of researching, they were following a health trend that coconut oil actually contains more fat than lard or butter."
Last year, the American Heart Association said that because of its high saturated fat content, coconut oil raises bad cholesterol, or LDL, which is known to cause heart disease. The group found that only 37 percent of certified nutritionists agreed that coconut oil is healthy. The AHA recommended that the public opt for naturally occurring vegetable oils such as rapeseed, safflower, sunflower or olive oil.
What to look for when buying coconut oil and how much you should consume
The popularity and marketing of coconut oil may have obscured some important information about the fat and the variety of different labels can be confusing. Coconut oil could also be confused with other coconut based products.
"The misconception that coconut oil is healthy is probably due to a wave of marketing efforts by the coconut oil industry or to people's confusing the benefits of coconut oil with coconut oil," added Segal.
Coconut oil should be bought in its natural state – as a solid. The useful fatty acids in coconut oil are naturally solid at room temperature. In addition, edible liquid coconut oil has been processed and other chemicals may have been added.
"Eating a healthy, balanced diet is better than consuming an artificial dietary supplement that you're not sure which processes it went through while it was made." Segal said.
For those concerned about lowering their cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends "reducing saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6 percent of total daily calories." For someone who eats 2,000 calories a day, that is about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat. "
One tablespoon of coconut oil contains more than 11 grams of saturated fats, according to the National Federal Nutrition database. That's almost the entire daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association – 13 grams.
"The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fats and tropical plant oils such as coconut oil, which contains high levels of saturated fats," Dr. Frank M. Sacks, Harvard Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Professor TH Chan's School of Public Health, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a senior physician at Brigham & Womens & # 39; s Hospital said in a statement to ABC News. He said that rigorous clinical trials and observational studies show that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats helps reduce heart disease and related deaths.
Does coconut oil have some health benefits?
Yes. Coconut oil contains fatty acids with known health benefits. More than 50 percent of the fats in coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids, including lauric acid, which can fight bacteria and help increase good cholesterol or HDL.
Moderation, however, is still important. Experts warn that the consumption of large quantities of coconut oil does not benefit the risk groups for cardiovascular diseases.
"It's more important to remember the overall picture of the diet," said Sacks. "Saturated fats are just part of the puzzle, and the American Heart Association recommends eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and eating fewer calories if you need to lose weight."
Coconut oil could have other good applications that do not exist (19659010) "If you eat coconut oil and use it for cooking, you should consider checking your cholesterol," Segal said. "Coconut oil is better used on the skin than digested and can alternatively be used as an excellent moisturizer."
Aditi Vyas, MD is a specialist in radiology, occupational and environmental medicine and is based in the ABC Medical Unit
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