The American Heart Association (AHA) is a powerful authority on diet and heart health. But their latest advisory seems a bit strange, and many health experts are alarmed. According to the AHA advisory, you should avoid coconut oil to reduce your risk of heart disease. But should you follow this advice?

The Presidential Advisory from the American Heart Association was sent to doctors all over the world. It reported that a “lower intake of saturated fat coupled with higher intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat is associated with lower rates of CVD [cardiovascular disease] and of other major causes of death and all-cause mortality.”

In fact, the researchers said this dietary change could lower CVD risk by 30 percent.

What kind of saturated fats did the researchers study? According to the Daily Mail, saturated fats included butter, coconut oil, whole milk, cream and palm oil. 

Is coconut oil bad?

The AHA claims, “Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil.”

But before you go ditching your coconut oil, there are some things you should know about this advisory:

  • The four studies cited in the advisory date back to the 1960s and 1970s
  • None of the four studies involve coconut oil 
  • Polyunsaturated fats often include trans fat and these vegetable oils can cause oxidative stress, inflammation and cardiovascular disease. 

Therefore, although coconut oil is a saturated fat, that doesn’t necessarily make it unhealthy. In fact, the studies used in this report did not actually investigate coconut oil and cardiovascular disease.

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