Coconut oil is pure poison: Harvard professor

Virgin coconut oil is linked to many health benefits

It was, she said, "one of the worst things you can eat".

A lecture by a Harvard professor calling coconut oil "pure poison" has gone viral on YouTube, nearing 1 million views on Wednesday.

To add to the accusations, the professor stated that coconut oil could be worse than lard given the fact that it comes with an overwhelming ratio of the saturated fat. Dr. Michaels claims that coconut oil is even worse than lard (fat rendered from hog fat), once a hit among Housewives of the 1950-ies.

Dr. Karin Michaels from Harvard, who is also involved in research in the field of tumors at the University of Freiburg, in his speech on German television called coconut oil pure venom.

Coconut oil's rise to fame began after two studies by Columbia University which looked at medium-chain fatty acids, a type of fat present in coconuts.

While coconut oil has been advertised as a health food of sorts, nutrition experts say there is little evidence to back that claim. "It's probably better than partially hydrogenated oils, [which are] high in trans fats, but not as good as the more unsaturated plant oils that have proven health benefits, like olive and canola oil", Willett has previously told CNN. "To date, there is no strong scientific evidence to support health benefits from eating coconut oil".

But, saturated fat is a loaded term.

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Most dietary guidelines suggest to restrict the amount of saturated fats you have in your daily diet, and instead opt for unsaturated oils when possible.

On an ancillary note, the relationship between LDL cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health is still a bit nuanced.

In mid-2017, the American Heart Association released an updated guide saying that people should avoid saturated fatty acids, which is found in coconut oil.

Does coconut oil have some health benefits?

Saturated fats are the ones that tend to hang around in your arteries and lead to heart disease, according to health experts.

Klatt agreed, saying that coconut oil "is certainly fine to consume occasionally, when a recipe calls for it".

"Coconut oil is about 86% saturated fat, about one-third more saturated fat than butter", said Victoria Taylor, a senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation.

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