Why a Harvard professor is calling coconut oil "pure poison"

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She claimed the oil, which can be used for anything from cooking curry to roasting parsnips, is more unhealthy than traditional lard, according to a translation by Business Insider.

Dr Michels' claims follow a move by the American Heart Association (AHA) previous year to update its guidelines, which recommended that people avoid the saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil.

While this makes coconut oil controversial in the sense of is it healthy or not-health experts say the bottom line is coconut oil is still a saturated fat. "This disconnect between lay and expert opinion can be attributed to the marketing of coconut oil in the popular press", the report stated.

A video of her lecture, titled "Coconut oil and other nutritional errors", has been viewed on YouTube more than 966,000 times. This review had shown that coconut oil can raise the levels of HDL cholesterol but also raises total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides over and above unsaturated fats such as those contained in olive oil.

However, there's no evidence suggesting coconut oil lowers the risk of heart disease - on the contrary, it may contribute to heart disease given its saturated fat content.

During the low-fat craze a few decades back, coconut oil was something dieters wouldn't touch in a million years.

She also added that other perceived "superfoods" like acai or chia seeds contain the same nutrients more easily available by eating carrots, cherries or apricots. Because of these experiments, the organization recommends that people keep their daily calories from saturated fats at 5 percent to 6 percent of their daily calories.

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A year ago the AHA revised its stance on the oil and recommended that consumers stay away from the type of fatty acids it contains - mostly saturated fat.

It says the healthier choice would be to opt for an unsaturated fat, such as vegetable oil or sunflower oil.

That being said though, we need a mix of fats to survive so using a bit of coconut oil to cook here and there isn't going to do a whole load of damage.

It might be all downhill from here for coconut oil. Each tablespoon of coconut oil provides 130 calories.

"We want to set the record straight on why well-conducted scientific research overwhelmingly supports limiting saturated fat in the diet to prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels", lead author Dr.

"Saturated fat increases LDL - bad cholesterol - which is a major cause of artery-clogging plaque and cardiovascular disease". That study actually injected rats with a synthetic chemical resembling the capric acid found in coconut oil.