Is coconut oil a superfood or dietary scourge?

Coconut oil contains more than double the amount of saturated fat in lard

"Just don't jump on superfood bandwagon with your coconut oil pastas, coconut oil lattes, coconut oil brownies yeah?" food writer Sejal Sukhadwala tweeted in response to Michels' claim.

This lecture about coconut oil- which has fallen from grace in the recent years- has gone viral on YouTube, garnering more than a million views.

Nutrition professor Karin Michels has surprised many health buffs when she called coconut oil "pure poison", but she may actually have a point. 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. In a video of a German-language lecture at the University of Freiburg that was posted in July, Michels dismisses coconut oil's health halo as "absolute nonsense".

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. It can be used in moderation, according to Doctor Walter C. Willett, of Harvard's Department of Nutrition. Now, according to a Harvard professor, coconut oil is "pure poison".

This isn't the first time coconut oil has come under scrutiny, leaving many questions about its health benefits versus risks. The evidence supports replacing the saturated fats in your diet with unsaturated fats and completely avoiding trans fats.

What is coconut oil and what are the concerns?

This was because of its saturated fat content, which at about 86 per cent is more than double that found in lard or beef dripping, and a third more than in butter.

"Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD, and has no known offsetting favourable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil", the review said.

Julie Anne tells ten daily, "We recommend you get the fat in your diet from foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils and oily fish".

Despite the advice, promotions from health food shops such as Holland and Barrett, and celebrity endorsements from Gwyneth Paltrow and others, have helped United Kingdom sales of coconut oil surge in recent years.

"We know that diets high in saturated fat are associated with increased non-HDL cholesterol in the blood, and high cholesterol is a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke".

"I like to use coconut oil in place of butter not with butter, in place of butter", said Dr. Oz.

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