Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Harvard Professor Calls Coconut Oil 'Pure Poison' in Lecture and It's Going Viral

Health + Wellness
Pexels

Is coconut oil healthy for you or not? A Harvard professor has joined the debate, calling it "pure poison" in a lecture that has gone viral.

The sweet-smelling tropical staple has gotten a lot of attention in recent years as a "superfood." Enthusiasts love its bounty of potential health benefits from fighting diabetes, to losing weight and even treating Alzheimer's disease. Folks following the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet like plunking the oil into coffee or blending it into smoothies.


But Karin Michels, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, delivered a missive against the popular oil in a 50-minute video that's been viewed more than 800,000 times since it was posted last month.

Michels said coconut oil "is one of the worst foods you can eat" and is worse than lard due to its high amount of saturated fatty acids, according to a translation from German by Business Insider Deutschland.

Too much saturated fat in your diet has been linked to heart disease, high cholesterol and other health problems. Other foods that are high in saturated fat include lard, palm oil and high-fat dairy products such as butter, cream and cheese. These fats are also typically solid at room temperature.

Michels is not the first to warn against coconut oil. The American Heart Association caused a stir last year when it issued an advisory that told people to avoid the oil due to its high levels of saturated fats.

However, proponents have noted that the dominant fatty acid within coconut oil is lauric acid, which raises LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, but also increases HDL ("good") cholesterol levels dramatically, according to Everyday Health. Mark Hyman, MD, also sharply criticized the American Heart Association's advisory and disputes the link between saturated fats and heart disease.

"If you're going to use coconut oil, make sure you get virgin oil," Dr. Tom Brenna, a professor of human nutrition at Cornell University, told The New York Times. "And, of course, everything in moderation."

Also in her lecture, Michels said other "superfoods" such as acai, chia seeds and matcha are ineffective because the nutrients they're known for are easily found in more easily accessible foods such as carrots, cherries and apricots.

"We are well and sufficiently supplied," she said.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Daniel Yetman

Bleach and vinegar are common household cleaners used to disinfect surfaces, cut through grime, and get rid of stains. Even though many people have both these cleaners in their homes, mixing them together is potentially dangerous and should be avoided.

Read More Show Less
During a protest action on May 30 in North Rhine-Westphalia, Datteln in front of the site of the Datteln 4 coal-fired power plant, Greenpeace activists projected the lettering: "Climate crisis - Made in Germany" onto the cooling tower. Guido Kirchner / picture alliance / Getty Images

Around 500 climate activists on Saturday gathered outside the new Datteln 4 coal power plant in Germany's Ruhr region, to protest against its opening.

Read More Show Less
Dr. Mark Brunswick (2R), Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality, walks through the lab at Sorrento Therapeutics in San Diego, California on May 22. ARIANA DREHSLER / AFP / Getty Images

By Julia Ries

Around the world, there have been several cases of people recovering from COVID-19 only to later test positive again and appear to have another infection.

Read More Show Less

By Samantha Hepburn

In the expansion of its iron ore mine in Western Pilbara, Rio Tinto blasted the Juukan Gorge 1 and 2 — Aboriginal rock shelters dating back 46,000 years. These sites had deep historical and cultural significance.

Read More Show Less
Meadow Lake wind farm in Indiana. Anthony / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Tara Lohan

The first official tallies are in: Coronavirus-related shutdowns helped slash daily global emissions of carbon dioxide by 14 percent in April. But the drop won't last, and experts estimate that annual emissions of the greenhouse gas are likely to fall only about 7 percent this year.

Read More Show Less
Andrey Nikitin / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Adrienne Santos-Longhurst

Plants are awesome. They brighten up your space and give you a living thing you can talk to when there are no humans in sight.

Turns out, having enough of the right plants can also add moisture (aka humidify) indoor air, which can have a ton of health benefits.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A bald eagle chick inside a nest in Rutland, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
A bald eagle nest with eggs has been discovered in Cape Cod for the first time in 115 years, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Mass Wildlife), as Newsweek reported.
Read More Show Less