Coconut Oil, not healthy after all ?

The American Heart Association just recently released a warning against using coconut oil to cook with. When I saw this I was personally shocked. A few years ago I was following the Paleo diet and they told us to cook with nothing but coconut oil. And yes, we did see weight loss plus it gave the foods we cooked a nice flavor as well. My husband and I slowly stopped using coconut oil just because it has always been more expensive then the others. The American Heart Association conducted trials which showed that seven out of seven trials of people consuming coconut oil had an increase in their LDL cholesterol. LDL is low-density lipoprotein also known as the “bad” cholesterol. LDL causes the increase of atherosclerotic plaques and increases chances of heart disease such as coronary artery disease.

As a healthcare provider I know it will be a challenge changing the mindsets of those who have been cooking with coconut oil for years and have always heard the previous rave of health benefits. Checking lipid panels on patients annually and now asking them if they cook with coconut oil can be an identifier and cause if they have elevated LDLs. The American Heart Association advises that it is still safe to use on skin and hair but to avoid consuming it. I have already seen many people on social media discrediting the AHA with this new warning, so we must remember education is key when caring for patients to prevent disease and negative outcomes.

Figure 1. Fats: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.