How the Wrong Science Is Making People Sick: The Truth About Saturated Fat, Animal Fat and Coconut Oil

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The 2017 AHA Presidential Advisory attacked coconut oil using studies that did not involve coconut oil. A careful review of the fatty acid composition of coconut oil and animal fat shows that: first, coconut oil has a vastly different fatty acid profile from animal fats; second, coconut oil has negligible cholesterol content while animal fats are high in cholesterol; and third, animal fats are actually not saturated fats. This casts doubt on the basis of the almost 60-year anti-saturated fat campaign which was focused on animal fat. Although the AHA Presidential Advisory claimed that it had new studies to present, it actually just reanalyzed old papers and selected the studies, some dating from the 1960s and 1970s, which agreed with its position and labeled these as “high quality.” It then rejected the studies which gave contrary conclusions, such as studies on HDL as a beneficial cardiovascular marker and the Minnesota Coronary Survey (MCS). The MCS study is important because it is a research project which Ancel Keys himself undertook but which failed to support his saturated fat-heart disease hypothesis. In passing judgment that coconut oil has “no known offsetting favorable effects,” the AHA has ignored evidence from thousands of years of its use in the tropics and Pacific islands that demonstrate its healthful properties, and the repeated observation that people who shifted from a coconut diet to a Western diet have gotten sick. The AHA produced no evidence that coconut oil causes heart disease. The AHA attack against coconut oil is a repeat of previous negative campaigns that have made the Americans obese and sick.