Coconut Oil Is Still Healthy, Despite AHA Claims | Chris Kresser

Coconut Oil Is Still Healthy, Despite AHA Claims

by Chris Kresser

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A recent AHA presidential advisory recommends yet again that we reduce our saturated fat intake to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This time, coconut oil was added to the “avoid” list. But is it really unhealthy? Read on to learn what the research says and why we shouldn’t take this AHA report to heart.

After reviewing four major studies, the American Heart Association (AHA) recently issued a “presidential advisory” stating that saturated fats, including coconut oil, should be avoided, recommending that they be replaced with polyunsaturated fats like canola oil, soybean oil, and corn oil (1). A presidential advisory is a report initiated by the AHA president to “address a topic of special current importance.” While this has been all over the news, the report is really nothing new. In fact, the AHA has consistently recommended the reduction in dietary saturated fat to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease since 1961 (2, 3).

I’ve previously written an extensive report on why saturated fat does not cause heart disease. I’m not going to rehash all of that in this article, so be sure to check it out if you haven’t. Instead, this article will zero in on the issues with this particular advisory and focus on the coconut oil claims in particular.

Cherry-picking studies is effective

There have been at least 17 systematic reviews and meta-analyses conducted in recent years that have not found a clear link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease. The authors themselves note in the introduction:

“In the past few years, meta-analyses of observational studies and randomized clinical trials have come to discordant conclusions about the relationship between dietary saturated fat and risk of CVD” (1).

They then proceed to pick four core studies (4, 5, 6, 7) from these meta-analyses that they deemed to be most “well performed.” This is certainly not the first time that cherry-picking has occurred in the history of saturated fat or nutrition research. You might recall the famous “seven countries study” in which Ancel Keys, father of the saturated fat–heart disease hypothesis, picked seven of 22 countries to demonstrate an initial relationship between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease (8).

Furthermore, the publication dates of these four core studies were 1969, 1970, 1968, and 1979! The authors report that no definitive large-scale clinical trials have been conducted since then, which is true, but this represents a major public health issue. If we continue to pull up the results of the same old studies year after year to shape today’s nutrition recommendations, the AHA will continue to promote 40-year-old nutritional science for the next several decades.

Worried about the AHA’s statement on saturated fat? Don’t be.

Industry influence in nutritional sciences

Unfortunately, nutritional sciences are rife with industry influence, and the AHA is no exception. While the AHA is a nonprofit organization, it receives significant funds from industry leaders. Representatives from companies like Nestlé, Coca-Cola, The Sugar Association, the United Soybean Board, and the US Canola Association also serve on its “Industry Nutrition Advisory Panel.” From the AHA website:

“The American Heart Association’s Industry Nutrition Advisory Panel (INAP) is a unique, strategic relationship between the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and food industry leaders. In existence since 1995, INAP provides a platform for open dialogue, sharing of information and planning cooperative programs in areas of mutual interest such as diet and nutrition and cardiovascular disease (emphasis mine).

You can easily imagine how a few pushy industry leaders might be able to influence AHA recommendations.

The difference between statistical significance and clinical significance

Furthermore, in interpreting the findings of any study used to inform human health, it’s important to distinguish between statistical significance and clinical significance (9). In statistics, we say that a result is significant when the observed difference between treatment groups is extremely unlikely to have occurred by chance. For example, one group might have slightly higher cholesterol than another group. Clinical significance, on the other hand, is the practical importance of the observed difference in treatments. For example, does this difference actually cause heart disease?

In this case, the authors looked at clinical significance by assessing the number of actual cardiovascular events, but only for a handful of studies. The remainder of their report was built around changes in LDL cholesterol, which is only a risk factor for heart disease. They present several studies that observed changes in cholesterol ranging from 0.6 to 2.1 mg/dL after altering saturated fat intake. Yes, this is statistically significant, but can that tiny change in cholesterol make a difference in the number of clinical outcomes?

Consider the variability of cholesterol tests. One research group took repeated blood samples from the same people for cholesterol analysis over several days, without any intervention. They found that LDL cholesterol fluctuated more than 20 percent (about 17 mg/dL) in 95 percent of subjects and more than 40 percent in 45 percent of subjects (10). In other words, you could get your cholesterol tested today and be told you are in perfect health and get tested tomorrow and be recommended statins.

LDL-Cholesterol versus LDL-Particle Number

Additionally, the AHA report only discusses LDL cholesterol (LDL-C). One study found that of 136,905 coronary artery disease hospitalizations, almost half of patients presented with normal LDL-C (11). The number of LDL particles (LDL-P) is a much stronger predictor of cardiovascular disease risk than LDL cholesterol, and it’s possible to have normal LDL-C and high LDL-P (12, 13, 14). Preliminary studies comparing lipid profiles after subjects followed a low-carb, high-fat diet and a high-carb, low-fat diet suggest that saturated fat does not increase LDL-P (15).

Why we can’t rely on animal models to study lipid metabolism

The report next turns to a number of studies suggesting that saturated fat feeding in rodent and primate models results in the development of atherosclerosis. However, there are major differences in lipid metabolism between humans and rodents, and even between humans and nonhuman primates. This is a major problem with animal nutrition research.

This book chapter provides an excellent review on the evolution of human lipid metabolism:

“To accommodate the high energy demands of our large brains, humans consume diets that are of much higher quality (i.e., more dense in energy and fat) than those of our primate kin (Leonard and Robertson, 19921994). On average, we consume higher levels of dietary fat than other primates (Popovich et al., 1997).”

The need for an energy-rich diet also appears to have shaped our ability to detect and metabolize high-fat foods. […] compared to large-bodied apes, humans have an enhanced capacity to digest and metabolize higher fat diets. Our gastrointestinal (GI) tract, with its expanded small intestine and reduced colon, is quite different from those of chimpanzees and gorillas and is consistent with the consumption of a high-quality diet with large amounts of animal food (Milton, 1987). Finch and Stanford (2004) have recently shown that the evolution of key “meat-adaptive” genes in hominid evolution were critical to promoting enhanced lipid metabolism necessary for subsisting on diets with greater levels of animal material” (16).

Simply put, we need to be very careful about translating results from animal models of lipid metabolism to humans.

Paleolithic diet improves lipid profile and CVD risk

It’s also worth noting that field studies of 20th-century hunter–gatherers found them to be largely free of cardiovascular disease symptoms and risk factors. This is despite consuming a diet that is 28 to 58 percent fat by energy, with as much as half of this coming from saturated fat (17).

Several studies have shown benefits of a modern Paleolithic-type diet on lipid profile and cardiovascular risk factors (18, 19, 20). However, most of these studies are using a Paleolithic diet that is actually lower in saturated fat than the control group. Because of this, I turned to ketogenic diets to determine the influence of very-high-fat diets on cardiovascular risk.

In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, after six weeks of a ketogenic diet, fasting serum total and LDL cholesterol and oxidized LDL were unchanged, but HDL cholesterol tended to increase (21). This suggests a more favorable lipid profile, though due to small sample size and short duration, clinical significance could not be determined.

The proven benefits of coconut oil

Bringing our discussion back to coconut oil, the claims made in the AHA report simply don’t stand up to research. It appears the authors performed the following logic:

Premise: 4 core studies from the 1960s and ’70s → saturated fat causes heart disease

Premise: coconut oil has a high content of saturated fat

Conclusion: coconut oil causes heart disease and should be avoided

This logic relies on some faulty assumptions, namely that saturated fat causes heart disease (it doesn’t) and that all saturated fats are the same (they’re not).

Most importantly, studies have shown that coconut oil:

  • Improves blood lipid profile (22, 23)
  • Reduces weight circumference (24, 25)
  • Is anti-inflammatory (26)
  • Is antimicrobial (27)
  • May promote weight loss (28)
  • May improve antioxidant status (29, 30)
  • May protect against Alzheimer’s disease (31, 32)

So, to sum up, don’t stress about eating coconut oil. The stress is probably more likely to give you heart disease!

Did you like this article? Will you continue to eat coconut oil? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

65 Comments

Join the conversation

  1. It’s great to hear saturated fats aren’t causing CVD. However these two articles have me concerned over cancer and inflammation risks. I’d be interested to hear others’ opinions on these.

    https://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=3939&title=Coconut-oil-vs-Extra-Virgin-Olive-Oil-EVOO

    https://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=3940&title=Saturated-fat-consumption-is-linked-to-greater-risks-of-cancer-metastases-and-increased-mortality

  2. Great one Roy.
    Thanks for sharing the facts.
    I have been using coconut oil since my childhood days and it has shown impeccable results.
    Thanks for showing up the facts.

  3. Let the manufacturers know you cannot fool all the people all the time with outdated research on Coconut oil. I am from the Caribbean and we swear by the use of fresh coconut oil which people prepare in their homes. Who benefits most from the other oils, is it the industry or the people who they want to use it. Coconut oil forever!

  4. Perhaps people having difficulties using coconut oil on their skin are using too much: one dip of the finger when it’s liquid would cover my face and allow some gentle massage. I also use it under my arms as a very successful deodorant, though it doesn’t completely stop perspiration in very hot weather if one is wearing clothing that’s too thick.

  5. I went vegetarian 12 years ago; do eat fish. I thought my cholesterol would go down too low. It actually has gone up quite a bit, so I agree with your point that if we don’t consume enough food with cholesterol, our bodies make more. Recently I started using MCT oil which is a form of coconut oil (bullet coffee). I use it mainly for the effect it claims to have on brain function. My doc recommended statins after my current blood test; I refused because of the possible side effects; I try not to take prescriptions. I’m at a healthy weight, active at my health club, and try to eat healthy. Any advice or recommendations?

    • Go back to your doctor and ask for a particle size test to check for cholesterol particle size and number.
      If your doctor uses Lab Corp for lab tests like that, the test is called “NMR Lipid Panel.”
      If your doctor uses Quest Diagnostics for lab tests like that, the test is called “Cardio IQ Test.”
      What you optimally hope to get back from such a test result is plenty of safe, light, fluffy LDL (big particles) with minimal small (dense, artery-damaging particles). See YouTube video from Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, on coconut oil/cholesterol.
      I have been a (organic-food-only) vegan for the last 27 years, and my cholesterol hovers around 300 (I eat lots of olives and avocados to get fat (stored energy) into my diet). Since March, 2017, I have been on a one-meal-a-day intermittent fasting diet, that works really good to use stored energy from the liver for the blood. That causes my cholesterol to be high. One thing that the doctors don’t usually tell you is that CHOLESTEROL is necessary for BRAIN FUNCTION. The brain seems to go away proportionately with the cholesterol. I would like to keep my brain; I might need it sometime! Hahahaha!

      • love your post Roy, as you are spot on! what I’ve been saying throughout this whole discussion! 🙂 good for you for knowing the facts and not the fiction

    • Kyolic makes a supplement for cholesterol support. They have several cardiovascular supplements. I take it but have not had blood work done to support any personal evidence. It can’t hurt! It’s made of aged garlic and phytosterols. Good luck!!

  6. My doc wants to do a calcium ctscan on my heart because of my cholesterol levels. If it’s normal he doesn’t want me to take anything to lower them, if high then he wants me to go on red yeast rice.
    Not sure what to do

    • The CT scan does not tell if there is ischemia or blockage (and that is where the danger lies). What’s needed is a CTA scan – which is an angiogram + the scan of your heart. I chose not to do the CTA that my cardiologist wanted me to do. I’m taking supplements, niacin DOES work despite what the docs say; and I’m doing a mind/body healing.
      check out Bruce Lipton.com
      Biology of Belief
      Good luck!

  7. Chris I would love to hear your thoughts on endotoxins and LPS with regards to a high fat, coconut and saturates diet? Do you recommend high fat/keto diets and high consumption of coconut oil?

    • A scan won’t hurt. I wish more drs would do tests instead of jumping straight to drugs. Once you get the results you can decide. In the meantime do the research. Lots if conflicting info out there: gather, synthesize, evaluate and then assess risk/reward based on probability.

      I trust someone who gives a long nuanced explanation of mechanism and data over someone who calls names like quack or unscientific and appeals to authority.

      • I agree, I was glad he didnt push right away for a statin which I won’t take anyway.
        I was going to try the red yeast rice but will wait to see if anything is needed

    • Snopes makes good points. It really is a problem these days…in how “studies” are interpreted..which us an art, and too often from a conclusion standpoint, seeking support. It IS fishy that the AHA is subsidized by various big Agri, corn, soy, etc…as we know such relationships are rarely innocent. We know how much influence the Corn industry has, and they strongly flex their muscles, so much so that they prevent other cheaper alternative crops from flourishing. (Hemp to name one)

      But the issue not truly addressed is how differently we all react to various foods, and food products like coconut oil. As I posted to another, I and mnay others cant use it as a face emollient, but apparently by the responses, others can.

      Then there are the issues surrounding a persons level of fitness and their intake of certain “risky” foods. How do those foods actually affect a very fit versus not fit individual are rarely part of these studies.

      No one source can ever be deemed inerrant. Its inheremt people do some personal testing…

  8. Some of the studies the AHA looked had nothing do do with coconut oil at all. It purely the jump from Saturated fat = Cholesterol; Cholesterol = Heart Disease.

  9. Chris I saw a different version of this article where it cited some other studies and talked about total mortality. Then I couldn’t find it again and now this one shows up.

    That first version was excellent; is it available somewhere?

    Anyway, why does AHA suddenly come out against coconut oil? Kind of like how the CDC homepage links to a warning about salmonella in home chicken flocks. Like “big poultry” hasn’t killed a bunch of people with contaminated chicken. Oh yeah, can’t tolerate people producing their own food or drifting away from profitable soy/canola.

  10. I have observed that a lot of people who become interested in nutrition are quite zealous in their approach. Rather than applying concepts of moderation, they’ll jump at the latest fad and run with it. So instead of understanding that coconut oil is a pretty healthy oil and like all ADDED fats should be used sparingly eg using a small amount for sauteing some onions and garlic for a stir fry or making the occasional sweet treat they’ll think oh coconut oil is healthy and miraculous and I’ll add it to everything and eat lots of it because surely that’s better. Oils are far better gained from the original source (meats, nuts, avocados etc). We really shouldn’t be using a lot of added fats anyway and if we hold that to be true, then it’s highly unlikely that a small amount of coconut oil/butter/ghee/olive oil should make any difference to heart health.

    • I agree with this in principle. Fats, along with all other nutrients, are designed by nature to eaten in their original package. Extracted fats are basically processed food. But, if there is evidence that slamming a goodly amount of coconut oil might be benefit some, like those with cognitive decline, then perhaps it IS the right thing to do, even if it means food is being treated somewhat like a de facto drug. Dunno. Ghee, btw, does have some powerful nutrients like butyrate and CLA, and is missing the casein and lactose that whole milk products contain, so does seem like win-win if one does not go hog wild.

    • Hi Deld
      Please do some reaearch on human fat metabolism and ketogenic diets. For the three quarters of the population with carbohydrate intolerance, obtaining most of our energy requirement from fats is mandatory for optimun health. There are only three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Excess protein is broken down into carbs. Carbs are not suitable for our main source of energy. That leaves… fat! Clean-burning, natural, healthy fat, and that means a lot of saturated fats. Industrial seed oils decidedly don’t qualify: they are pro-inflammatory, free radical-producing, and highly disruptive to the body for multiple reasons. (But they are what Big Ag has been pushing down our throats for a century… “follow the money!”)
      So please don’t buy into their distortions of facts. You need to eat healthy natural fats, not restrict them. What needs to be restricted is carbohydrates… especially sugars. THEY are what cause heart disease!

      • Faith -you’re misinterpreting and misrepresenting my point. Fats are definitely part of a healthy diet. Eat them as part of a healthy, varied diet. Along with meat, fruit and veg, some grains/pulses if tolerated by the individual. I’m not buying into anyone’s “distortions of facts”. In fact it sounds more like this is something you need to be careful of. What human population has had access to the amounts of extracted fats you’re talking about? Human populations would (generally) have had far less access to fats than we do now – from whole food sources, at much lower levels than are found in slatherings of butter and spoonfuls of extracted coconut oil. Sure, there may be instances where you might supplement extra for a particular purpose, but this would be the exception rather than the norm.

      • Im agreeing with Bo…3/4 of the population is NOT carbo intolerant. It sounds like youre lumping all carbs into one. Do you mean gluten? If so, whole different animal…and most people who self-diagnose are wrong. Gluten sensitivity needs proper medical testing, so since 3/4 of the pop have not been tested…your claim is a gross overstatement…and the exact issue the other poster was addressing. Same with dairy. I can eat any dairy without effects, but ice cream…kaboom!

        And not everyone processes fats the same. Some do better with certain types, others not so much….

        And nothing we ingest “burns clean”. Thats like saying clean coal is real. There is always waste products from whatever we ingest.

  11. I use coconut oil, mainly in homemade toothpaste and as a mouthwash, because as Chris points out, lauric and caprylic acid are both powerful antimicrobial agents. I do find the saturated fat and heart disease debate tiresome though as I think it’s likely that genetic polymorphisms are a major driver of how dietary fat affects us. There are numerous polymorphisms, such as rs515135, which associate with elevated LDL levels. The nutrigenomic data is still emerging, but I do believe a day will come soon when we can settle these debates based on genetics and simply say “saturated fat causes heart disease in some people, but not all people. If you have markers X, Y, Z exercise greater caution.”

    • I believe Chris has said in the past that he thinks genetics represent something like 10% of the picture in terms of health/disease. I tend to think genes are one of the last places to look for answers. I’d rather look at diet, gut health, environment, etc.

  12. Ill keep using coconut oil. Interesting that the AHA isnt subsidized by any olive oil concerns.

    Much like many of these American Organizations, allegedly set-up to help American consumers, patients, etc, they are really set-up as fronts for business interests. Even govt agencies…such as the US Commerce Dept.

    I tend not to fully trust anything that starts with American and ends with institute, association, organization. And speaks from a position of self-appointed authority.

  13. I like to use coconut oil for cooking. I also spread it on bread instead of butter (being dairy-free suits me best), but the problem is that it turns liquid in very hot weather, as we’ve just had here in London. There’s nowhere cool enough in my house rather than the Victorian cellar. What do other people do?

    • I simply accept the fact that coconut oil is solid in winter and liquid in summer. I did think of making a little counter-top jar cooler, using a solid-state Peltier cooling chip, but I decided it was a lot easier to just acquiesce to the reality of coconut oil’s properties.

      • Of course you’re right, Alex, and the only time I need it to be solid is when I want to use it as butter on my bread or toast. It’s much easier to spread it evenly on my face as a moisturiser when it’s liquid!

        As to cooking with it, I’m very pleased to read elsewhere that it’s OK after all to cook with olive oil at a moderately high heat. It was to avoid heating olive oil that I turned to using coconut.

        • Youre a lucky one. Everyone I know who has used coconut oil on their face have had nothing but problems. Namely pimples, plugged pores, etc, galore. Ive read many an article about alternative products for skin care that say to avoid using it on the face for that very reason. Only as a quick makeup wipe-off, and make sure to get most of it off…

          • I’ve been using it on my face for about a month now. the little bumps I had on my forehead near my hairline have gone, though the pores seem just a little tender now. A year or so ago I had a face peel done through my dermatologist and though the bumps went then, they came back. Nice to be rid of them.

          • Huh….interesting, Bo. I, too, use coconut oil on my face, and I’ve never had any problems whatsoever. If anything, it seems to be good against inflammation and itchy skin, and it prevents red patches and things like that (it doesn’t give me pimples either). I can’t go back to “regular” face products now, because coconut oil is so natural, it feels so much better on the skin.

            • Goes to show how much we’re alike and not…

              Its all so very interesting how we can be studied as a group, but then on the individual levels be outside of it…

          • If I use it very sparingly in liquid form, I usually avoid clogged facial pores. I use coconut oil daily as a deodorant, skin softener and sometimes swipe a (teeny) bit over my hair if it’s looking dry. 🙂

              • I think using CO acts as an antiperspirant rather than a deodorant: if there’s no sweat it can’t produce an odour! A very thin film of the oil doesn’t damage my clothes. Remember to reapply it if your shower or bath are more than a day apart.

                I’m sure straight hair likes to be oiled but my short fluffy stuff doesn’t like it at all!

    • I use a pastry brush to apply the coconut oil on my toast or bread and sometimes crackers when the oil is too liquid to apply with a knife.

  14. I’m concerned that the current debate is focused on whether coconut oil is healthy vs. not healthy, and not focused on the individual variations that might make something that’s healthy for one person, unhealthy for another – or vice versa.

    Saturated fat – especially coconut oil – absolutely spikes my LDL-P (more than doubled) and Small LDL (more than tripled!) Could be because of the ACE gene (G/G) or some other gene associated with fat metabolism. But it’s testable and repeatable. So regardless of the AHA’s motivations, I don’t think it’s accurate to say any one thing is healthy or not on a broad scale vs. speaking in individual terms.

    • According to Mercola, saturated fat increases the large, fluffy, benign type of LDL, but does not increase the small, dense, detrimental type. He cites a couple studies showing that SF consumption might even change the latter into the former.

      How do you know it is coconut oil specifically that is spiking your LDL?

      • It’s the only dietary change I made. Twice. I did a blood test to get a baseline, added Bulletproof Coffee in, did another test, removed it, did another test, added it back in, did another test.

        I’d encourage anyone else consuming high amounts of anything – but especially saturated fat – to do the same. We’re all different.

    • Sat fat increase does increase cholesterol (even LDL) in some people. But consider that even if your LDL-P goes up, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re now at higher risk for heart disease. There’s correlation, but not causation… Cholesterol isn’t the root cause of CVD. Inflammation is. Dr. Thomas Dayspring (probably the world’s most knowledgeable lipidologist) has written some interesting things on this topic. Even though LDL-P is a much better measure than total or LDL-C, it’s still only part of the picture. What does sat fat do to your CRP?

    • I had exactly the same response in my blood work after using coconut oil for a year. Quit using it and after 6 months lab are back in good range. Moderation, variety and don’t believe the hype!

    • As you said coconut oil is different for everyone. I ate 3T CO (some EVOO as dressing) everyday for 6 months along with a plant based diet for 1 month, adding whey protein for month 2 and then adding meat protein for the next 4 months. No sugar, no flour, no white rice or potatoes. I lost 50 lbs, A1c went from 7.6 to 5.0, my cholesterol numbers were in the “optimal” ranges. Trig from 150 to 69, LDL 160 to 69, HDL 36 to 70 and total 220 to 165. I know that eating this way probably was also a factor, but although CO is a saturated fat, It is a Medium Chain Fatty Acid, not Long Chain Fatty Acid. It works differently in the body. Also corn and soy oils (grains) are used to FATTEN animals. Given CO they lost weight and had more energy (study on hogs in 40’s). Also note, Triglycerides go up not due to fats but due to sugar (ie sugar, flours, white rice, white potato (not cooled down to make resistant starches). If you eat clean the coconut oil shouldn’t matter. Use Olive oil cold as much as possible, not in high heat cooking, and eat wild fish (or supplement), grass fed cattle/dairy raw, range chickens/eggs, organic vegetables and fruits if possible, etc. You may also want to soak/sprout grains, nuts and legumes before use. Reduces Phytic acid (https://wakeup-world.com/2012/10/18/why-you-should-soak-your-grains-beans-nuts-and-seeds/)

      • I don’t believe this is at all true for everyone, that’s actually my point: “If you eat clean the coconut oil shouldn’t matter.”

        I eat 100% clean and coconut oil doesn’t seem to be “healthy” for me. I know this to be true for a larger % of people than one would expect when reading the counter-arguments to the AHA.

        • 100% clean? How? Do you live in a monestary? Live as an ascetic?
          Have no cravings, no give-in moments?

          Love to hear the “How?” story

  15. I eat HFLC, including a lot of coconut oil. I also eat ghee regularly. My triglycerides have gone up quite a bit (42 to 114 in 18 months).

    Chris, what do you think of the idea that some people should not consume saturated fat due to genetic or other issues that cause them to have impaired fat binding in the blood and thus high blood lipids?

      • Yes, think you are right. But some say optimal triglyceride level is below 100.

        Also I have fairly low HDL (44), which puts TG:HDL ratio at 2.5 which is not great. But, have read that switching to keto diet involves transition period of 1-2 yrs in some cases, after which TG will drop.

  16. The AHA is a lobbyist organization for Big Pharma and Big Agriculture, plain and simple. Big Pharma makes money when people are sick, not healthy; Big Agriculture makes money when people eat their highly-processed pseudo-food. So you can see why advice from AHA is biased, to say the least. All you have to do is follow the money to find out why they recommend the things they do. My advice is to ignore diet advice from AHA and other corporate-controlled organizations, and just eat real, whole foods (including coconut oil).

  17. Is there any difference in the studies regarding, or mention of, the difference between refined and virgin coconut oil?

  18. Great article…we need to understand that these so-called “scientific reports” are pretty much like “news reports” these days in that there is usually an agenda, there is usually money behind them, and they are usually interpretations rather than actual facts. There so much mis-information out there and sadly, even those people who want to eat healthier are being misled. How many people are still eating margarine…gluten free everything….red meat full of antibiotics…etc,,So grateful for people like you, Chris

  19. Thanks for your email. I have been a vegan for the last 27 years. Had a major widow-maker heart attack in March, 2012, causing the after-effect of having 30 to 35% ejection fraction. Went 5 years as an invalid, barely able to walk. Cholesterol has always been high. Now it is 300, mostly LDL. In March I went to a neurovascular physical therapist who stimulated my vagus nerve and the lower part of my heart (that was not pumping); that part of my heart started working again. Tested 60% ejection fraction two weeks ago (which means complete recovery. I use coconut oil during some of my massages, so I am sure that I get some absorption of coconut oil. I have been testing my blood for nutrients and any deficiencies, but there are no deficiencies. Only my cholesterol is high. So I am planning soon to take a “Cardio IQ Test” by Quest Diagnostics to see what the difference is in my blood between the large fluffy LDL cholesterol (safe LDL) and the small hard LDL cholesterol (dangerous LDL). I am hoping that my blood has the safe “large fluffy” LDL cholesterol.

  20. Do you recommend actually adding coconut oil to the diet, not just for cooking?
    I have coconut oil capsules and was hoping there would be a health advantage to taking them.
    My latest cholesterol numbers were higher than usual even though I don’t think it always leads to heart problems I was a tad concerned.
    Total cholesterol 250
    LDL 160
    Triglycerides 160
    HDL 33

    My HDL is always low, even when I was younger

    • I enjoy coconut oil as a snack. Usually ~1 Tablespoon, with some nuts or a small bit of fruit. If you keep a jar in the fridge you can break off right-sized chunks & avoid the expensive coconut oil supplements (since all they are is coconut oil in a gel cap!).

        • Mix coconut oil with equal amount cocoa powder and add date syrup to taste – makes great homemade chocolate! Pour into small trays or into something like ice trays and keep in the freezer. Can ut nuts or cherries in it…

          • Or check out “My Coconut Kitchen” which makes all kinds of yummy coconut-oil snacks with different flavors, such as the one you suggest. I don’t work for them or anything, just know it from our local Farmer’s Market in the St. Louis area. But I think you can order it online. Delicious stuff!

          • CO and organic 70% chocolate melted together and pour in ice cube trays, add any kind of nut or dried berry to the “liquid” chocolate. Firms up in the freezer or fridge. Very good! and CO’s side effect is helping liver produce Keytones that help the brain become more cognitive.

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