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Image / Editorial

Coconut oil is ‘pure poison’, according to a Harvard professor


by Erin Lindsay
23rd Aug 2018
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Turns out that our beloved coconut oil isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

According to Harvard professor and director of the Institute for Prevention and Tumour Epidemiology Karin Michels, the ‘wonder-oil’ is “one of the worst foods you can eat” and has none of the supposed health benefits that have previously been claimed.

Michels made the claims in a lecture at the University of Freiburg entitled ‘Coconut oil and other nutritional errors”. In the 50 minute lecture, which has been viewed almost a million times online, she says that coconut oil is “more unhealthy than lard” and is made up entirely of saturated fats, making it dangerous for heart health. So, not the waist-slimming superfood we all thought it was.

Michels said: “Coconut oil contains no fibres, no cholesterol, and only traces of vitamins, minerals and plant substances – too low to have a positive effect on health”.

Coconut oil is one of the most popular food fads in the world, with many using it for everything from skincare to oral health. But according to a New York Times survey, 72% of Americans think that it is a healthy, nutritious food, when only 37% of nutritionists think the same. In 2017, the American Heart Association advised against consuming too much of the oil, in its warning against all saturated fats.

Currently, there isn’t any scientific evidence linking coconut oil to any substantial health benefits. But people continue to use it in preparing food, with popular fitness gurus such as Joe Wicks (aka the Body Coach) using it religiously in his cooking. After Professor Michels’ claims, maybe we’ll go rooting through the cupboard for the olive oil again.

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