I am by no means a certified physician or nutritionist, but after much conversation on coconut oil lately I thought it deserved some serious love. After conducting some research, and talking with my dad who happens to be a vascular surgeon, I hope to simplify the matter for many and help to set the record straight.
USA Today recently came out with an article entitled: “Coconut Oil Isn’t Healthy. It’s Never Been Healthy,” reporting that the American Heart Association (AHA) released a report advising against the substance saying it increases the LDL (or bad) type of cholesterol in our bodies which can lead to heart disease. In the article, Frank Sacks, the lead author on the report, concluded: “You can put it on your body but don’t put it in your body.” This statement alone proved disturbing to me, along with the AHA’s corruptive behaviors that have come to light thanks to Dr. Mark Hymaris who wrote a response to these claims. Not only have we learned that 60% of what you put on your body gets absorbed into your bloodstream (thank you, Molly Beane!) which alone debunks Sacks’ statement, but coconut oil is something certain populations (Asians, Polynesians) have been using for millennia and in return have some of the lowest heart disease rates in the world.
To break it down for you, coconut oil is a type of saturated fat; the type of fat that is necessary to consume for optimal health. It is a Medium-Chain Triglyceride (MCT), as opposed to a Long-Chain which make up foods like meat and cheese, which once consumed are readily available and used for energy as opposed to stored as fat. Coconut oil contains no trans-fatty acids, and has also been proven beneficial for the use of all-natural: hair conditioner, facial cleanser, makeup remover, shaving lotion, insect repellent and more.
Dr. Mark Hymaris has pointed out that there is not a single study showing that coconut oil causes heart disease, as the AHA has claimed. That the “diet-heart” hypothesis, which says that saturated fats raise LDL cholesterol on which this whole case is founded, has in fact even been proven wrong. Saturated fats only become an issue when you eat them in the context of a high sugar, high starch, processed diet.
The bottom line I have come to is that coconut oil is not harmful, and never has been. With the number of media headlines that come out on a weekly basis in our country regarding medical studies, it is so important for us to really do our research as over 50% of them are wrong or misleading. Moving forward, I will be making an effort to take advantage of the many benefits that coconut oil has to offer both internally and topically. However, as always, I urge others to research further and use/consume what works the best for them.