You practically need a scorecard to keep track of nutrition trends (remember when kale was cool?), so nobody would blame you for tuning out the hype. But when a Harvard hotshot trashes a highly touted “superfood,” declaring it the worst thing you could eat, just about everyone takes notice.
The Harvard professor called coconut oil ‘pure poison.’
That’s what happened recently when Karin Michels, a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, gave a lecture entitled “Coconut Oil and Other Nutritional Errors.” The take-away from the talk—which went viral to the tune of 1.2 million views in one month—was that coconut oil is “pure poison.”
Wait, is that the same coconut oil praised by the likes of Dr. Oz, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, et al? Pretty much, although the pro-coconut faction favors only the virgin variety of the stuff—rich in lauric acid, which is said to promote “good” cholesterol, and phytochemicals, which contain cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Is Coconut Oil Unhealthy? Buzzkill.
Yet while Michels’ lecture was beyond buzzy, her complaint about coconut oil was hardly news. In fact, it’s in keeping with the latest (and longstanding) American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines that warn against the link between saturated fat and high cholesterol, heart disease, and stroke. Coconut oil has about six times the saturated fat as olive oil.
‘I recommend women of any age consume no more than a tablespoon of coconut oil a day, if any.’
So what’s a mid-life gal to do when it comes to the coconut oil controversy, considering that cardiovascular disease and stroke kill approximately one woman every 80 seconds, according to the AHA? “Many people who started using coconut oil because they believed claims that it had ‘amazing’ health benefits experienced increases in harmful LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol,” says Julie Upton, MS, RD, 50, co-founder of Appetite for Health . “I recommend women of any age consume no more than a tablespoon of coconut oil a day, if any. That said, it makes a great moisturizer!”
And a more natural, effective alternative to KY jelly. Just saying.