Coconut oil not the wonder oil as claimed: AHA

A number of celebrities, nutritionists and others swear by the health benefits of coconut oil, but according a new American Heart Association  (AHA)report the adoration might be justified.

The advisory from AHA said coconut oil was very high in saturated fat, and was hardly the Alzheimer's and cancer-curing weight-loss wonder oil was often touted to be.

According to Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle site, Goop, the benefits of the organic, virgin stuff whether it was used for cooking one's dinner in it, or applying to one's body or oil pulling (when one swilled oil around one's mouth for 20 minutes each morning to, allegedly, draw toxins out of the body) were ''practically endless''.

According to the AHA report, use of coconut oil was just as bad as slathering foods in butter, beef fat and palm oil, as it was 82 per cent saturated fat, and in seven controlled scientific trials, was shown to increase ''bad'' LDL cholesterol in the body.

Frank Sacks, the lead author of the AHA advisory, advices, ''Put it on your body, but don't put it in your body.''

According to Abby Langer of Abby Langer Nutrition who spoke to Buzzfeed, it should be remembered that the science presented in this advisory was not exactly groundbreaking, or even new, and needed to be taken as a clarification that coconut oil was not a miraculous health food, nor would it give heart disease.

Meanwhile, according to New York magazine, the halo around coconut oil might not be all that deserved. The idea of coconut oil as a superfood probably originated from two studies by Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a professor of nutrition at Columbia University.

According to the research, consuming oil of 100 per cent medium-chain fatty acids could lead to fat-burning. However, coconut oil contained only 14 per cent medium-chain fatty acids, and St-Onge herself said she thought the diet industry ''extrapolated [her research] very liberally,'' the report said.  ''I've never done one study on coconut oil,'' she said. Nevertheless, St-Onge's studies had been cited again and again.