A Harvard Professor Says Coconut Oil is Pure Poison. Here’s Why We Don’t Agree.

A Harvard Professor Says Coconut Oil is Pure Poison. Here's Why We Don't Agree.
The Internet is ablaze with a scathing “news” story again about how coconut oil is bad for you. Again.

This is the same old misinformed story we hear about the “dangers” of saturated fat.

Professor Michels’ Misinformation About Saturated Fat (in German on YouTube)

Karin Michels, an epidemiologist at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, believes that coconut oil is not healthy for you. This comes after the American Heart Association (AHA) updated its guidelines in Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association.

The AHA document states:

“In summary, randomized controlled trials that lowered intake of dietary saturated fat and replaced it with polyunsaturated vegetable oil reduced CVD by ≈30%, similar to the reduction achieved by statin treatment. Prospective observational studies in many populations showed that lower intake of saturated fat coupled with higher intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat is associated with lower rates of CVD and of other major causes of death and all-cause mortality.

The one statement in the document we can agree with is:

“In contrast, replacement of saturated fat with mostly refined carbohydrates and sugars is not associated with lower rates of CVD and did not reduce CVD in clinical trials.”

The one thing the report does not make clear is if the test subjects were following a true ketogenic diet or if they were only looking at saturated fat levels without concern for changes in other nutrients.

So at least the AHA still states that refined carbs and sugars will not reduce the rates of cardiovascular disease but they still want to take away your healthy saturated fat.

Dr. Atkins Position on Saturated Fat

“The thirty-year-long campaign against dietary fat is as misguided as it is futile”

The statement is written in The New Diet Revolution by Dr. Robert Atkins.

From the Atkins Nutritionals website:

Dr. Robert C. Atkins
Dr. Robert C. Atkins
“It is the position of the Atkins Nutritional Approach that all three types of fats are necessary and important to human health and should be incorporated into the diet in a balanced proportion. It is also the position of the Atkins Nutritional Approach that saturated fat, particularly in the absence of high carbohydrate intake, is not dangerous to human health—on the contrary, when balanced with mono and poly-unsaturated fats in a controlled carbohydrate dietary environment, saturated fat may actually have real and measurable benefits in a number of different arenas.”

Benefits of Coconut Oil & Saturated Fats

According to an article in Heathline titled Top 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Coconut Oil, some of the benefits of consuming saturated fat from coconuts and coconut oil include:
A Harvard Professor Says Coconut Oil is Pure Poison. Here's Why We Don't Agree.

  • Healthy coconut oil is high in healthy saturated fats that have different effects than most other fats in your diet.
  • Coconut oil can increase fat burning especially in a Ketogenic Diet or during Nutritional Ketosis.
  • Coconut oil can reduce your hunger, keeping you sated and helping you eat less.
  • A Ketogenic Diet including coconuts and coconut oil may reduce epileptic seizures in children and adults.
  • Coconut oil can raise the good HDL cholesterol in your body.
  • The fatty acids in coconut oil can boost brain function in Alzheimer’s patients. Read our article Alzheimer’s Dementia: Shining the Spotlight on Coconut Oil & Ketones
  • Coconut oil appears to be especially effective at reducing belly fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organ.

Read the full article here.

Is Coconut Oil Really Bad For You?

I’m not a doctor or dietitian. I’m a real person who has been following the Atkins Nutritional Approach and the Ketogenic lifestyle since 1999. Over the years I’ve reduced my consumption of all sugars and most carbohydrates while increasing my consumption of healthy fats. I’ve seen my cholesterol numbers improve, my weight decrease and my diabetes disappear.

CarbSmart Coconut Shell and Meat

I’ve seen the health benefits of coconut oil be scrutinized over the last few years mainly by people who have been demonizing fats for years. You see these people on TV and online every day – usually selling a book or nutritional program that wants you to “eat less and move more” but not reduce your sugar intake. These are the people that still recommend that people avoid the saturated fatty acids found in coconuts, coconut oil and other healthy options.

Yes, coconut oil is high in saturated fatty acids and that is why I will continue to consume it and other high-fat foods.

The researchers and doctors I respect like Dr. Robert Atkins and Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt have espoused the benefits of saturated fat in reducing cholesterol levels and the likelihood of heart disease for years and will continue to do so. That is why I will not cut down on saturated fats or listen to people who tell me to.

Should You Listen to These Articles If You Are Diabetic?

I believe that part of the benefits of increasing your use of healthy coconut oil comes from how likely you have Metabolic Syndrome or Type 2 Diabetes.

Metabolic Syndrome, is a condition that occurs if you have at least three of the five following medical conditions: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high serum triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels.

Metabolic syndrome is associated with the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In the US about a quarter of the adult population has metabolic syndrome, and the prevalence increases with age, with racial and ethnic minorities being particularly affected.

Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and prediabetes are closely related to one another and have overlapping aspects.

Try These CarbSmart Recipes with Coconut Oil or Coconut Butter

Coconut Flax Bread Fat Fast Recipe

Ready to add more saturated fat to your healthy ketogenic lifestyle?

Your Research Is Not Over

I invite you to do your own research. Follow the websites and doctors you respect and continue to keep learning.

Please add your comments below.

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One comment

  1. When The Experts start sounding the alarm about a particular ancestral food, two things eventually become evident:

    1) They were invested in promoting a different product, rather than the proven one that kept people healthy for countless generations;

    2) The Experts should be regarded with as much credibility as The Media. And for the same reasons.

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