Many in the medical and government nutrition communities demonize all saturated fats, including virgin coconut oil. A journal article, dated January 13, 2020, from the American Heart Association, says “Coconut oil may be viewed as one of the most deleterious cooking oils that increases risk for cardiovascular disease. including coconut oil.” I want you to keep in mind that the AHA is the same group that considers refined vegetable oil to be healthy. The same article states “Replacing coconut oil with nontropical unsaturated vegetable oils, especially those rich in polyunsaturated fat, will have a health benefit.” So what are consumers to believe?
Our society is chronically unhealthy and we all know this. The low fat trend, recommended by the AHA, began an era that demonized fat, specifically saturated fat, which still continues to this day. Is this a healthy trend? Is it logical to continue to demonize fat? Since the 1970’s, when the low fat trend began, our society has progressively grown fatter and sicker. Let’s take a look at some statistics and you can judge for yourself:
- chronic diseases affect approximately 133 million Americans, 40% of the population . (1)
- In 2009, 7 out of 10 deaths in the U.S. were due to chronic diseases. More than 50% if deaths each year are due to heart disease, cancer and stroke. (1)
- The Worldwide rate of obesity has nearly doubled since 1980, – approximately 500 million adults worldwide are currently classified as obese. (2)
- Approximately 2/3 of the US population (70%) is overweight or obese. (2) Of that portion of the population, 30% are obese. (6) For comparison, in 1970, the obesity rate was 14%. (6)
- In 1973, 2.04% of the US population (4.19 million people) had been diagnosed with Diabetes. As of 2019, 37.3 million Americans, or 11.3% of the population, had diabetes. (3)
- On the chart below, courtesy of lanekenworthy.net, notice the sharp increase in obesity since 1980. (the low fat recommendations came out in 1976)
Now, I want to point out that the increase in sugar intake should absolutely be taken into account when looking at these statistics. In 1915, the average intake of sugar annually was 17.5 pounds. As of 2011, that average is now an astonishing 150 pounds per person annually. (5)
In my opinion, we can trace this back to the AHA recommendations on fat. Back in the 1970’s (1976 to be precise) is when we were told fat is bad. This was also the time when high fructose corn syrup was invented and when the fat free products hit the market. (While consumption of sucrose (table sugar) is down from 1970, high fructose corn syrup consumption is up). Fat free products lack flavor, so, to make up for the lack of flavor, sugar was added. The result, a society that is overweight, sick, addicted to sugar and well you can see by the statistics. One wonders what would have happened, had sugar been demonized in the 1970’s instead of fat.
Below are several videos from different medical professionals giving their opinions on whether or not coconut oil is healthy. Listen to one or all, then you can judge for yourself. I have also included 4 articles against coconut oil, so you can see both sides of the argument. What are your thoughts on coconut oil? At the end of the day, if you’re unsure of all this or just don’t care, I say JUST EAT REAL FOOD. Get your fat from whole food sources such as nuts, seeds, chia, flax, fish, coconuts, grass-fed beef and avocado.
Dr. Mark Hyman
Here are the articles against coconut oil