Is Coconut Petroleum ‘Pure Poison’? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Is Coconut Oil 'Pure Poison'? Here's Everything You Need To Know

Is Coconut Petroleum 'Pure Poison'? Here's Everything You Need To Know

If you add coconut petroleum to your morning smoothie, stir fry your veggies in it, or swish it around in your mouth in the name of your oral hygiene, you’re probably not thrilled by Harvard professor Dr. Karin Michels’ recent declaration that coconut petroleum is “pure poison.”

Thanks to its high levels of saturated fat, Michels argued, coconut oil is “one of the worst foods you can eat.” She added that coconut petroleum is actually more unhealthy than traditional lard. While Michels isn’t wrong about the whole saturated fat thing — coconut petroleum contains 12 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon — the coconut petroleum conversation is more nuanced than Michels’ statement is leading people to believe. Let’s take a closer look.

The Conflicting Science Around Coconut Oil

During the low-fat craze a few decades back, coconut oil was something dieters wouldn’t touch in a million years. Why would they cook their vegetables and meat in pure fat? But as doctors and nutritionists came to understand that simple carbohydrates and sugar are more likely to lead to weight gain than fat is, researchers began studying coconut oil, and people started devoting it another chance.

While scientists never reached any conclusions that should have elevated coconut to its extreme superfood status, what they found wasn’t all bad — and it certainly wasn’t poison.

Coconut oil is is packed with phytochemicals that have beneficial antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. In other terms, coconut oil intake could help prevent cancer. Another study found that coconut petroleum creates the body’s levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol.

These findings are helpful, but a lot of the information floating around about coconut oil and its fat-burning properties is a bit skewed.

For example, a 2008 study out of Columbia University found that regularly devouring 100 percent medium-chain fatty acids causes the body to burn fat and leads to weight loss. This became one of the most commonly quoth coconut petroleum studies, but here’s the thing: Coconut oil merely contains 14 percentage medium chain fatty acids. In other terms, coconut petroleum is not inevitably a magical fat-burning oil. Study co-author Marie-Pierre St-Onge went on to say, “I believe the data that we’ve shown with medium chain fatty acids ought to have extrapolated very liberally . … I’ve never done one study on coconut oil.”

How Much Coconut Oil Should You Actually Eat?

In 2017, the American Heart Association analyzed years of research and data on the link between saturated fat and heart disease and released a report stating that there was an alarmingly strong link between the two.

Coconut oil is 82 percentage saturated fat, and this term of warn caused people all over the country to swear off their coconut oil smoothies and stir-fries. And while there’s no question that downing spoonfuls of coconut oil on a daily basis is a bad idea, if you like the taste, there’s no reason to ditch it altogether.

But it’s probably best to stick with one tablespoon a day, and pay attention to what kind of coconut petroleum you’re consuming. One study found that virgin coconut petroleum doesn’t seem to have the same harmful effects as highly processed oils, so become more of a label detective the next time you go grocery shopping and stick with virgin.

At The End Of The Day, It’s All About Balance

Max Lugavere, writer of the book Genius Foods, posted a Facebook video on Tuesday to help combat the hysteria surrounding Michels’ comments. He also told HuffPost that calling coconut oil poisonous is “hyperbolic, click-baity and not supported by any good evidence.”

“The most recent meta-analysis of fat intake, cardiovascular disease and early mortality has not defined any clear association between saturated fat consumption and risk for heart disease or early death, ” he said. “On the other hand, coconut oil is also not the miracle food most health gurus will make it out to be. Although, it does contain medium chain triglycerides, which can be beneficial in certain contexts. But in terms of the healthy oil that is most supported from an evidence standpoint, that trophy must go to extra-virgin olive oil, which is the hallmark of the Mediterranean dietary pattern, adherence to which is associated with a risk reduction for a broad array of conditions.”

So no, coconut petroleum isn’t poison. In fact, it probably has some solid health benefits. It merely becomes dangerous when you consume too much of it, so as long as you moderate your intake, feel free to keep drinking those mouth-watering pineapple-coconut oil smoothies that taste suspiciously like a pina colada.

Is Coconut Petroleum 'Pure Poison'? Here's Everything You Need To Know
Is Coconut Petroleum 'Pure Poison'? Here's Everything You Need To Know
Is Coconut Petroleum 'Pure Poison'? Here's Everything You Need To Know
Is Coconut Petroleum 'Pure Poison'? Here's Everything You Need To Know
Is Coconut Petroleum 'Pure Poison'? Here's Everything You Need To Know

Is Coconut Petroleum 'Pure Poison'? Here's Everything You Need To Know

Is Coconut Petroleum 'Pure Poison'? Here's Everything You Need To Know

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