In recent years, coconut oil has been highlighted as a miracle multi-use product, not just being used in your favorite dishes or drinks like bulletproof coffee, but also as a teeth whitener, makeup remover, and moisturizer. However, the American Heart Association (AHA) has recently updated its presidential advisory about dietary fats and cardiovascular disease, and coconut oil made the list among butter, lard (pork fat), beef tallow, palm oil, and palm kernel oil as one of the main sources of saturated fat to be avoided.
The advisory states that in a recent survey, 72 percent of Americans considered coconut oil healthy in comparison to 37 percent of nutritionists, which might be linked to how coconut oil is marketed to consumers.
According to the report, 82 percent of coconut oil is saturated, which can potentially increase LDL (bad) cholesterol. In a systematic review involving seven controlled trials, researchers found no difference between coconut oil and other oils high in saturated fat (such as butter, beef fat, or palm oil) in terms of how they raise “bad” cholesterol.
Although the studies didn’t suggest a direct link between high consumption of coconut oil and heart disease — rather, they simply show an increase in cholesterol levels — the AHA still warns against it.
“Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of cardiovascular disease, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil,” the AHA says in the advisory.