Love coconut oil? Not so fast, because the world’s superfood and miracle cure-all might not be so amazing after all. In fact, many so-called superfoods may not be all they’re cracked up to be.
Business Insider reported that Karin Michels, who among other things is a professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, put a nearly one-hour German lecture on YouTube about the dangers of coconut oil.
The title of the video, which has over 400,000 views, is “Coconut Oil and other Nutritional Errors.” In the lecture, Michels clearly states that the favorite superfood oil is not actually healthy at all and revealed that no scientific study proved that it is healthy. Her declaration falls in line with the American Heart Association’s (AHA) updated guidelines. Last year the AHA revised its stance on the oil and recommended that consumers stay away from the type of fatty acids it contains — mostly saturated fat.
While the AHA did not say that coconut is one of the world’s worst foods, Michels did. She declared that “coconut oil is pure poison.” She went on to explain that it “is one of the worst foods you can eat.” That’s scary stuff considering how many people slather it all over their food and bodies to help cure a variety of ills and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
She even considers coconut oil a worse choice than lard due to the overwhelming amount of saturated fatty acids it contains. As for other superfoods, the Harvard speaker said that they might not be dangerous, but the health claims surrounding food items like acai, chia seeds, or matcha may be overblown.
According to the AHA report “The Skinny on Fats,” the new guidelines urge consumers to limit both saturated and trans fats. The group said to “opt for naturally occurring unhydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower or olive oil.” Notice that coconut oil is not included in the list of fats that are the smartest, healthiest options.
Their official recommendation states, “For people who need to lower their cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends reducing saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6 percent of total daily calories. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, that’s about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat.”
As with most things, the typical recommendation is to enjoy something like coconut oil in moderation. However, with people putting it in coffee and using it for everything, it seems moderation may have flown out the window with this so-called superfood. The popular oil may not be poison, but using too much could be unhealthy.