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Rage Against Coconut Oil?

Have you heard the latest “Presidential Advisory” on dietary fats that was released from the American Heart Association (AHA)? You know, that claim that coconut oil is unhealthy? Yeah, that’s the one. But it doesn’t stop there. The AHA also recommends replacing stable natural oils, like coconut oil, with processed vegetable oils.

Thanks, AHA but 1963 called and wants its dietary guidelines back.

Unsurprisingly, this news is spreading like wildfire and stirring up a cloud of confusion and fury in its wake. While headlines like “Coconut Oil is Worse Than Butter” are spreading through big media networks, savvy Americans hip to the corporte influence of the AHA’s statement are fighting back with facts. Here’s some of the most important ones to consider:

Fact #1. There is no clear link between saturated fat and heart disease 

17 meta-analyses and systematic reviews conducted haven’t found a clear link between saturated fat intake and heart disease. And the AHA’s “in-depth analysis” was based on four measly studies—that were literally from the 60s. So, no matter what information the AHA cherry picked to support their agenda, the truth is, strong data connecting saturated fat with cardiovascular disease just plum doesn’t exist.

Fact #2 Not all LDL is created equally

The AHA based a lot of their recommendations on the effect saturated fats have on increasing LDL cholesterol. But, they don’t mention the size of the LDL particles. This is a major issue and here’s why: large, buoyant LDL particles don’t increase risk of cardiovascular disease—only small dense particles do. It’s been repeatedly shown that an increase in saturated fat intake does raise LDL, but only the large, fluffy kind, not the harmful dense LDL. Also, when we eat saturated fat, HDL cholesterol levels go up, which is protective to our hearts, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Fact #3 The benefits of coconut oil in a healthy diet abound

When consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet—low sugar, low processed carbs, a range of other healthy fat sources, and high phytonutrients—coconut oil can be incredibly healthful. Here are some of the key benefits of coconut oil:

Fact #4 Vegetable oil is bad for you

The polyunsaturated fats from vegetable oils are unstable and easily oxidize during processing. Oxidized oils can affect your cell membranes, damage your DNA, inflame your heart tissue, and make you fat. Most vegetable oils come from GMOs sprayed with pesticides and extracted with solvents. Enter sluggish mitochondrial function and disease. And if this all wasn’t enough, they also contain the famously inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids that Americans are grossly overconsuming.

Awesome right?

If you’re reading this and starting to twitch, know this. My fingernails are chewed to nubs.

The thing is, these anti-coconut oil guidelines are nothing more than a PR campaign to get us to consume what meets the interests of the AHA’s corporate sponsors—regardless of what recent research suggests.

And let’s just talk about those sponsors for a moment, shall we? The list includes pharmaceutical companies Amarin, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Eli Lily, Esai, Glaxo-Smith Kline, Merck, Pfizer, Regeneron/Sanofi, and Takeda, along with lobby groups like Ag Canada, the Canola Oil Council, and others.


And they aren’t just the sponsors either. Many of the names on this list also appear on the advisory board. Big money is calling the shots. Surprise, surprise.

In fact, you know that AHA Heart Check Mark that approves your cereal and canned soup as “heart healthy?” Big food companies can buy that “certification” for $1500 to $7500 per product but only if it meets “standards” that allow Big Food to market processed junk as “healthy.”

The good news—and there is some, I promise.

We are getting more educated about the benefits of saturated fats and the harm posed by processed seed and vegetable oils. And this means processed food manufacturers cannot trick us into buying their Frankenfoods. Not even by sponsoring the American Heart Association.

Nice try though, guys.

With the internet and social media at our determined little fingertips, we’re able to access modern science in a way that we couldn’t just decades ago. And this means that advertising something as healthy when it really isn’t, is a crappy idea.

Not only will we not eat your “healthy” vegetable oil, AHA, but you’ve lost all credibility.

Cheers coconut oil, we heart you! Need more answers? Send your health and wellness questions to or for more details on Nutritional therapy call us at 212-355-0445.

Best in health xo

Dr Emily Kiberd