The American Heart Association recently released a report advising against the use of coconut oil.
The Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory reviewed existing data on saturated fat, showing coconut oil actually increased the level of LDL (“bad cholesterol”) in all seven people in the controlled trial.
The trial couldn’t establish a difference between using coconut oil and other commonly used oils such as butter and palm oil.
The data from the study reveals that 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated — which is far higher than those found in butter (63%), beef fat (50%) and pork lard (39%).
“Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD [cardiovascular disease], and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil,” the American Heart Association said in the Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory.
The lead author on the report Frank Sacks has questioned the misperception among consumers that coconut oil is a healthier option citing the oil as nearly 100% fat.
“The reason coconut oil is so popular for weight loss is partly due to my research on medium chain triglycerides,” Marie-Pierre St-Onge, associate professor of nutritional medicine at Cornell University Medical School, told TIME in April.
“Coconut oil has a higher proportion of medium-chain triglycerides than most other fats or oils, and my research showed eating medium-chain triglycerides may increase the rate of metabolism more than eating long-chain triglycerides.”
However it has been pointed out that the coconut oil used in St-Onge’s research used ”designer oil” packed with 100% medium-chain triglycerides, whilst traditional coconut oil contains about around 15%.
The study went on to show that smaller amounts of medium-chain triglycerides did not aid in weight loss in overweight adolescents.
Coconut oil is still be an effective moisturizer for body and hair conditioner.
“You can put it on your body, but don’t put it in your body,” Sacks said.