American Heart Association says that coconut oil isn't healthy


You might think you're doing yourself a favor by cooking food with coconut oil, since it's often sold as a health food at your local supermarket.

Well, sorry to burst your bubble, coco-nutcases, but according to the American Heart Association (AHA), it is just as unhealthy as butter and beef dripping.

Some studies have suggested that lauric acid, which makes up about half of coconut oil's saturated fats, does have some unique health benefits: It's antimicrobial, doesn't break down at high temperatures the way other fats can, and may have metabolism-boosting properties.

This is because coconut oil contains high levels of saturated fats - nearly six times higher than olive oil.

"A recent survey reported that 72 percent of the American public rated coconut oil as a "healthy food" compared with 37 percent of nutritionists", the AHA's review notes.

It issued a reminder this week that swapping out artery-clogging saturated fats such as butter with healthy vegetable fats can do as much good for some people as taking a statin drug.

However, other experts believe that saturated fat isn't detrimental to your health. The coconut oil studies that the AHA report does include show that it raises both HDL -what people call good- cholesterol and LDL -or bad- cholesterol.

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"The reason coconut oil is so popular for weight loss is partly due to my research on medium chain triglycerides", Marie-Pierre St-Onge, associate professor of nutritional medicine at Cornell University Medical School, told TIME in April.

That theory is based on how much of one particular type of fat - saturated fat or "sat fat" - these products contain.

According to the AHA, coconut oil contains 82 percent of saturated fats.

The AHA recommends eating no more than 6% of saturated fat as part of total daily calories for those who need lower cholesterol. The Heart Association said polyunsaturated fats appear to lower the risk of heart disease the most, followed by monounsaturated fats.

"Because coconut oil increases [bad] cholesterol, a cause of cardiovascular disease, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil", the AHA conclude.

"A healthy diet doesn't just limit certain unfavorable nutrients, such as saturated fats, that can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other blood vessel diseases". Fats are essential for absorbing essential vitamins such as A, D, and E. "It should also focus on healthy foods rich in nutrients that can help reduce disease risk, like poly- and mono-unsaturated vegetable oils, nuts, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and others", Sacks said.