Harvard Professor Claims Coconut Oil Is “Pure Poison” - Is It Really?
In a claim that many might consider to be shocking, a Harvard University professor has termed coconut oil as “pure poison”, warning that the oil is “one of the worst things you can eat”, reported the USA Today.
Why “pure poison”?
Karin Michels, an adjunct professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, had delivered a lecture in July titled “Coconut oil and other nutritional errors” at the University of Freiburg in Germany, where she had made the above claims, along with other surprising revelations about the ill-effects of coconut oil, as per The Guardian. Incidentally, the lecture, delivered in German, has recently gone viral on YouTube with over a million views. She had referred to coconut oil as “pure poison” at least thrice during the lecture, insisting everyone to stop its use immediately.
Michels had backed her claims attributing the high saturated fat content of coconut oil that poses many potential health risks. With more than 80% saturated fat, coconut oil can increase the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body, and make you prone to heart diseases.
Similar claims made by others
Of late, with a surge in inclination towards healthier eating around the globe, coconut oil is often advertised as a ‘superfood’.
However, Michels is not the first one to refute the notion of coconut oil being a superfood. In 2017, the American Heart Association conducted a survey to analyse the health benefits of common foodstuffs including coconut oil. The results revealed that only 37% of the nutritionists recommended coconut oil as a healthy option. “Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD, and has no known offsetting favourable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil,” inferred the review, as The Guardian reports.
Moreover, Victoria Taylor, a senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation has told The Guardian that coconut oil has about 86% saturated fat which is one-third more than what can be found in butter. She also said that just like butter, it is okay to use it once in a while.
Is coconut oil really a “pure poison”?
Coconut oil has been an indispensable part of Indian culture since time immemorial. Reports of any major adverse effects of this dietary staple have perhaps never surfaced, and people continue to consume it on a regular basis. The oil has always been recognised as a must-have in your daily diet. In fact, historical evidence has concluded that populations who traditionally consumed coconut oil have better cardiac health than others.
Some well-known benefits of coconut oil can be listed below:
- The saturated fat in coconut oil is made up of MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides) which have proven benefits in epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and other nerve conditions
- A potent fat-burner, a study found that coconut oil can increase energy expenditure by up to 5% in a day
- The fatty acids in coconut oil can help to kill the harmful virus and bacteria that cause respiratory, skin and other infections
- Coconut oil can reduce your appetite helping in better weight management and prevent obesity. Also, it helps to lose unhealthy abdominal fat
- The oil is known to maintain proper skin, hair and dental health as well