TEXAS, United States, Friday July 7, 2017 – A recent trend promoting the health benefits of coconut oil has been trashed by the American Heart Association (AHA) which claims it is as unhealthy as animal fats.
In newly updated advice, the Dallas-based AHA stresses that coconut oil is packed with saturated fat, which can raise the level of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol in the blood.
Some health food gurus claim that the mixture of fats in coconut oil still make it a healthy option, but the American health experts say there is no good-quality evidence to support this.
Plant oils, such as olive and sunflower oils, are generally viewed as healthy choices, while animal fats are mostly regarded as unhealthy.
That theory derives from how much of one particular type of fat – saturated fat or “sat fat” – these products contain.
Eating a diet high in saturated fat can raise the level of “bad” low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood, which can be deposited in the walls of the arteries and cause hard plaques to build up that can result in blockages, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
According to the AHA, a whopping 82 percent of the fat in coconut oil is saturated, unlike most other plant oils.
That’s considerably more than in butter (63 percent), beef fat (50 percent) and pork lard (39 percent).
And, like other saturated fats, studies show that coconut oil can increase “bad” cholesterol.
The AHA stresses that people should limit the amount of saturated fat they eat, replacing some of it with unsaturated vegetable oils like olive oil and sunflower oil and spreads made from them.
Studies show that swaps such as these can lower cholesterol by the same magnitude as cholesterol-lowering drugs, according to the AHA,
Dr Frank Sacks, lead author of the AHA advice, said: “We want to set the record straight on why well-conducted scientific research overwhelmingly supports limiting saturated fat in the diet to prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels.”