US heart experts claim that regardless of the misconception about coconut oil being a healthier replacement for butter and beef dripping, it is in fact just as unhealthy.
It is packed with saturated fat that causes the “bad” cholesterol levels to rise, firmly assures the American Heart Association in their latest piece of advice.
We have witnessed, these past couple of years, how coconut oil was been untruthfully advertised as food that is incredibly healthy and some claim that the contained fat is much more beneficial for us than other saturated fats.
The AHA, nonetheless, claims that there have been no studies so far to support this theory.
- Coconut oil health benefits
Just a myth?
Fats from animal origin, like lard, are usually perceived as bad, while on the other hand, those from a plant origin, like olive and sunflower, are considered healthier alternatives.
That theory is founded on how much of one specific kind of fat – saturated fat or “sat fat” – these products have in them.
Saturated fat is allegedly harmful for our health, even though opinions are split on this one.
Maintaining a diet mostly based on saturated fat can increase the level of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol in the blood, that, as a result, can clog the arteries and improve the chances of getting a heart disease and stroke.
Based on the AHA, 82% of the coconut oil fat is indeed saturated. Which makes it worse than butter (63%), beef fat (50%) and pork lard (39%). Thus, such as other saturated fats, studies show it can increase “bad” cholesterol.
Based on the AHA, studies indicate swaps like this can reduce cholesterol with the exact strength as cholesterol-lowering medications.
The main AHA advice author, Dr Frank Sacks, said: “We want to set the record straight on why well-conducted scientific research overwhelmingly supports limiting saturated fat in the diet to prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels.”
Public Health England suggests that people reduce their saturated fat consumption:
- 30g of saturated fat a day maximum intake for men
- 20g of saturated fat a day maximum intake for women
You can see the amount of saturated fats a product contains on the nutritional label.
However, specialists emphasize that this fat is still a vital part of a healthy, balanced diet. We shouldn’t eliminate it entirely. It is a source of needed fatty acids and aides the body with the absorption of vitamins, like A, D and E.
Victoria Taylor, a representative of the British Heart Foundation said: “To eat well for your heart health it is not just about reducing fat but reducing specific types of fat and taking care over what these are replaced with – unsaturated fats and wholegrains, rather than sugars and refined carbohydrates”.
“Any change should be viewed in the context of a whole diet approach. The traditional Mediterranean diet has benefits for a range of risk factors for heart disease, not just cholesterol levels”.
“We recommend replacing the saturated fats in the diet with unsaturated fats – using oils instead of butter and choosing foods like avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds instead of foods high in saturated fats like cakes, biscuits, chocolate and fatty meat.”
Good fat vs bad fat
- Cholesterol is in fact a fatty substance
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is established as ‘bad’ since it can be stored in the artery walls and inflict hard plaques to build up that can cause clots, causing heart attacks and stroke
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is ‘good’ since it takes LDL cholesterol to your liver where it is eliminated. A huge ratio of good to bad cholesterol is the best way to go.
Let’s stop the lie from getting spread and wake people up. Share this story!