Coconut oil deemed “pure poison” by Harvard professor

While nutritionists have long touted the purported benefits of coconut oil, a Harvard professor has deemed coconut oil to be “pure poison.”

WebMD coconut oil

A Harvard professor has deemed coconut oil to be one of the “worst foods you can eat.”

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is essentially just oil extracted from the meat of coconuts. It contains fats known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are metabolized differently than other types of fats.

Coconut oil is most commonly used in cooking, but has also been used in products ranging from smoothies to face masks. Many dieticians have touted coconut oil as promoting weight loss, although so far research studies have not established a definitive link between the two.

“Pure poison”?

In a now viral video, Professor Karin Michels, an epidemiologist at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said she believes that coconut oil has no proven health benefits, and moreover is one of the “worst foods you can eat.”

Professor Michels’ primary argument against coconut oil is that it contains a relatively high amount of saturated fat, which in excess has been linked to increased LDL (Low-Density Lipoproteins) cholesterol.

However, a 2014 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine has questioned the longstanding link between saturated fat and heart disease, citing other significant risk factors such as genetics and a history of smoking.

At the end of the day, coconut oil is probably not as dangerous as Professor Michels would have you believe, nor is it the panacea that many weight-loss products would have you believe. The debate is certain to carry on.

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