Can we all calm down about coconut oil?

I’ve gotten several emails from readers asking me to respond to a viral video in which a Harvard (Harvard!) professor asserts that coconut oil is “pure poison.”

It’s hard to imagine how someone with such a prestigious pedigree could make such as silly and sensational statement in public. Presumably she was pushed over the edge by the ridiculous claims that some people have been making about coconut oil lately.

Can we all just calm down about coconut oil?

Coconut oil is not pure poison. On the other hand, it’s also not going to make you smarter, thinner, younger, or fold your laundry for you.

Proponents of coconut oil make a big deal out of the fact that coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). But, as I discussed in my podcast episode on MCTs, claims for these specialty fats tend to be exaggerated or unproven.

Coconut oil haters such as this Harvard (!) professor mostly object to the fact that coconut is is almost 100% saturated fat. But, as I discussed in my recent podcast episode on butter, saturated fat in moderation may even have some heart health benefits.

Despite saturated fat’s rehabilitated reputation, I still think it makes sense to limit saturated fat intake to around 10-15% of calories, if for no other reason than to leave room in the diet for other healthy fats. But if you want to spend your sat fat allowance on coconut oil, I see no reason to call in Poison Control.

3 thoughts on “Can we all calm down about coconut oil?

  1. Haha! Thank you for talking about this, I was also really surprised to see that messaging floating around from a professional. I got turned on to coconut oil before my son was born and started using it to cook all of his food in place of Olive Oil, which I had used for years. I’ve also started using Avocado oil but reading about the health benefits of Olive Oil in the Blue Zones study’s… So, which oil is best?? I also see Canola oil on the ingredient list of a lot of “healthy” foods, but I was under the impression that Canola wasn’t healthy. I’m confused!

  2. Thank you so much Monica! This is very helpful. My friend introduced me to your podcast a few weeks ago and I’m diving in and loving it all:) Thank you for simplifying things that are complicated so that all of us can understand.

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