Is coconut oil poisonous?

Coconut oil ‘pure poison,’ says Harvard professor

Coconut oil ‘pure poison,’ says Harvard professor Karin Michels said the product is one of the worst foods you can eat

The speech, delivered in German, has now been watched almost a million times on YouTube.

While coconut oil has been advertised as a health food of sorts, nutrition experts say there is little evidence to back that claim.

In an educational talk titled Coconut oil and other nutritional errors, a professor from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health - Dr Karin Michels called the oil pure poison and one of the worst foods a person can possibly eat.

After being worshipped as the "holy grail" product for skin, hair and even health for years, this oil came under fire after the American Heart Association issued an advisory regarding the same in 2017.

"Coconut oil can be included in the diet, but as it is high in saturated fats should only be included in small amounts and as part of a healthy balanced diet", the British Nutrition Foundation said.

One tablespoon of coconut oil contains more than 11 grams of saturated fats, according to the Federal National Nutrient Database. As The Guardian reports, Michels' primary criticism of the oil lies in its high saturated fat content, which elevates "bad" LDL cholesterol levels and thus increases risk of heart disease.

Michels isn't the first person to debunk coconut oil's benefits. Coconut oil has been recommended for centuries in Ayurveda attributing several healing properties to it.

"Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD, and has no known offsetting favourable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil", the review said.

CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula pointed out that coconut oil is 80 percent saturated fat, which is similar to butter, which is about 60 percent saturated fat, or beef fat, which is about 40 percent saturated fat. He said rigorous clinical trials and observational studies both show that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats helps reduce heart disease and related deaths.

"If you are eating Coconut Oil and using it to cook, you should consider getting your cholesterol checked", Segal said. He recommends instead using oils high in monounsaturated fats (including olive oil and avocado oil) and those high in polyunsaturated fats (such as canola oil).

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