You’ve likely seen the article released by the American Heart Association saying, “Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy.” I want to formally address this. It can be very confusing for consumers!
First of all, always recognize how media works. Be a healthy skeptic with media headlines. Coconut has become a popular word in the last few years. The media knows this. It’s the new “darling” of the year. Coconut products have become ubiquitous, so you assume it’s healthy. Coconut chips, butter, coconut sunscreen and shampoo… you get the picture. Marketers know that consumers associate the new darling with health. And that’s how they draw us in to their headlines. By stirring the pot, they receive a lot of attention. They spark a lot of conversation. They grab followers to their websites. Mission accomplished for them.
A deeper dive into the article and study…
If you read the article, it’s actually more about saturated fat, LDL and heart disease. The debate of saturated fat is nothing new, and unfortunately goes back to some poor research done primarily by a man named Ancel Keys in the 40s and 50s. In the recent news headlines they used our darling, “coconut oil,” to grab attention. They run the headline, capitalizing on the product marketing built a frenzy upon. But, if you look closely, the actual study is: “Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association.”
The article specifically talks about coconut oil. However, the study reviewed existing research on many dietary fats (one of them being coconut oil) and their relationship with cholesterol and heart disease. Yes, saturated fats can increase LDL and HDL. In fact, saturated fat is great for increasing healthy HDL. Saturated fat actually has a positive impact on the LDL and HDL ratio. Unfortunately, this study does not look into LDL particle size or number. These two things actually give you a complete picture of cholesterol and cardiac health. (See articles below if you want more detail on this). A basic cholesterol panel, though a starting place, doesn’t tell you quite enough about your cholesterol and cardiac health.
Hopefully, after learning about inflammation in the 131 Method, you see right through the article’s suggestion to use vegetable oils instead of coconut oil. Vegetable oil is highly processed. It is unnatural to obtain oils from most vegetables, like soybean and corn. These oils are high in omega 6, which causes an imbalance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 in most people. This actually furthers inflammation!
A big component of WHY cholesterol is high in the first place is rooted in inflammation. So would we want to add to that with inflammatory oils!?
I’ve provided some additional resources below for you to do some research, if desired. Unfortunately, because of this article, many people will stick to their vegetable oil-loving ways. Physicians will remember the headlines without digging deeper. Marketers will continue to find ways to test us savvy consumers. So, the most important point we want to make is to always read these headlines with some skepticism. And, always do your own research!
Will you continue using coconut oil? Let us know in the comments below!
Additional resources regarding saturated fat, LDL and cardiac health.
Dr. Ronald Krauss on LDL Cholesterol, Particle Size, Heart Disease & Atherogenic Dyslipidemia