Think Coconut Oil Is Healthy? Think Again
According to a new report from the American Heart Association (AHA), about 72 percent of Americans mistakenly consider coconut oil a “healthy food.” This may be a dangerous misconception: Coconut oil is 82 percent saturated fat, a type of fat we’re urged to avoid because it can raise levels of “bad” cholesterol—low-density lipoprotein (LDL)—and increase heart disease risk.
Saturated fats, which, according to dietary guidelines, should make up less than 10 percent of your total calorie intake, usually come from processed foods and animal products like butter and lard, but coconut oil is a plant-based product that contains unhealthy amounts of saturated fat.
Research shows that replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats—from sources like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish, for example—can lower cardiovascular disease risk by about 30 percent. Despite claims that coconut oil has health benefits, you should avoid it, says the AHA.