Coconut oil may not be healthy, study says

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Is coconut oil bad for you? Local doctor dispute new study
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A new study from the American Heart Association has found that coconut oil may not be healthy after all.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A new study has found that coconut oil may not be healthy after all.

Coconut oil is commonly sold as a healthier alternative to other oils, but according to the American Heart Association, it's just as unhealthy as beef drippings and butter.

According to the study, coconut oil is made up of about 82 percent saturated fat - far greater than most other oils.

It's worth pointing out that not all saturated fats are bad for you, but ultimately, they do help build up plaque in the arteries which can lead to heart disease.

Dr. Johnny Bowden, who co-authored "The Cholesterol Myth" and "Smart Fat" feels the study may be sending the wrong message.

"They're living in the past, with old research. We've known for at least a decade that does not cause heart disease but they're just now getting around to making little bitty changes," said Bowden.

The "little changes" Bowden refers to are the 2015 dietary guidelines removing cholesterol limits, saying it is no longer considered a nutrient of concern.

"It hasn't rippled into the medical community. We don't know what to do with that yet," said physician Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition.

And while studies show that coconut oil does raise cholesterol, both good and bad, Bowden says that doesn't signal heart troubles.

"Studies on this are abundantly clear. Over 50 percent of people who are committed to hospitals for cardiovascular disease have absolutely normal cholesterol," said Bowden.

The AHA does suggest vegetable oils like canola, safflower and corn. But some experts disagree due to the way they're processed.

"They degrade into toxic compounds. Chemicals that create oxidative stress. And oxidative stress is one of the great disease makers," said Shanahan.

For a healthier heart, these experts advocate eating a diet high in plant foods, organic or grass fed animal products that include saturated fat in the proper portions.

Olive oil and vegetable oil may be better options.

One benefit the study did point out about coconut oil is that it's good for external use.

The lead author for the study, Frank Sacks, said, "You can put it on your body, but don't put it in your body."

You can read the full study from the American Heart Association by visiting,