Harvard professor calls coconut oil 'pure poison'; Ayurveda may differ

Harvard professor calls coconut oil 'pure poison'; Ayurveda may differ

Referring to coconut oil as "pure poison" and labelling it "one of the worst things you can eat" has predictably put the spotlight on professor Karin Michels.

Coconut oil contains more than 80 percent saturated fat, which makes it solid at room temperature. Professor Michels is not alone in slamming this oil, Dr Frank Sacks, who is a nutrition professor at the Harvard explained further, "Coconut oil is very high in saturated fat that raises your LDL cholesterol, which is a bad cholesterol".

The British Nutrition Foundation have also admitted similar findings, and confirmed: "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".

For years, we have heard about the benefits of coconut oil.

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. "Partly because there are many forms of HDL which have different health consequences. which has made the water murky".

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While an elevated LDL level is used as a marker for predicting cardiovascular risk and doesn't always translate to heart attacks, experts say it's still cause for concern.

Coconut oil should be purchased in its natural state - as a solid. While the AHA warns against it, people who cut saturated fat out of their diet might not necessarily lower their heart disease risk, a 2015 BMJ review suggested.

"If you are eating Coconut Oil and using it to cook, you should consider getting your cholesterol checked", Segal said. "We need better controlled trials", Klatt said, "Right now, the internet is jumping the gun and going way beyond the evidence". 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).

Like other oils, coconut oil is calorie-dense, which means consuming large amounts without reducing other calorie sources can lead to weight gain.

What to look for when purchasing coconut oil and how much to consume? "Saturated fats are just one piece of the puzzle".

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