Rest assured Wellness Way followers! In light of recent claims by the American Heart Association (AHA) that coconut oil isn’t healthy and never has been, we wanted to not only address their claims but dismantle them so that we can all go about our ways making the healthiest choices possible.
So why criticism of coconut and the advice from the AHA against it? Flat out they’ve had their information wrong since Ancel Keys in the 1950’s and they still have it wrong today. Worse yet, they are still putting out incredibly detrimental health advice to millions of Americans firmly believing they have it all figured out.
If they had it all figured out, heart disease would not remain the leading cause of death in the United States.
Coconut oil is packed full of saturated fat, which is why we love it! Eating saturated fat will raise your cholesterol levels and LDL. We don’t at all disagree with that. However, to say that eating saturated fats is the reason for the rise in cholesterol and therefore cardiovascular disease just isn’t true. Cholesterol is a vital substance in our body that is key in a number of functions, including:
- providing strength and flexibility to our cells
- allowing for optimal memory and brain function
- supporting the gall bladder in digestion
- …and perhaps most importantly… is a precursor for your sex hormones!
This is just to name a few of the key roles cholesterol plays in the body. Eating saturated fat and having optimal cholesterol levels are critical to optimal health. And for clarification, optimal cholesterol levels do not mean low cholesterol levels. There is a big difference!
The AHA stated “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”. Even though cholesterol is at the scene of the crime, cholesterol does not cause heart disease. There is no valid research out there to support that dogmatic claim. And there are so many favorable effects of coconut oil that you can do a google search for “benefits of coconut oil” and the results will be endless.
Another recommendation from the AHA to ignore is the recommendation to eat less than 6% of daily calories from saturated fats. Just as cholesterol doesn’t cause cardiovascular disease, eating saturated fat doesn’t make you fat and it doesn’t increase your cardiovascular disease risk. Eating too much sugar and carbohydrates is responsible for the health issues facing our nation and the world. Our advice, eat more healthy fats and don’t hold back!
One last laughing matter that we have to address is the author’s claim that “it might not be a bad idea to opt for vegetable oils or olive oil” and the coconut oil can still be used if you “put it on your body, but don’t put it in your body”. Little does the author know that by putting something on your skin it still gets absorbed into the body. In fact, we have a greater defense through our mouth and GI system versus something being directly absorbed through the skin.
Vegetable oils like corn oil, canola oil, or straight up vegetable oil should be avoided like the plague. While cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease, eating and cooking with vegetable oil will. Olive oil is great source of fat, but it should not be heated during cooking. We only recommend using olive oil on salads or by itself in its natural, uncooked state. Coconut oil is the best oil for high temperature cooking because it remains stable during cooking due to the high content of saturated fat.
Our advice to all of you, whatever the AHA, FDA or any government agency recommends from a health standpoint, do the opposite! Or better yet, ask a Wellness Way doctor near you and we will not lead you or your family astray. Keep following us on Facebook, tune into our weekly live show, and keep reaching for that coconut oil!