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In 2017 the American Heart Association (AHA) released a news report that continues its scientifically obsolete war on saturated fats. Using its old tricks, the AHA declared another battle on coconut oil, claiming that this oil was somehow bad for cardiovascular health.
The June 2017 advisory report  presents another look at dietary fats and cardiovascular disease. What shocked the public was the organization’s stark warning on coconut oil. Of course, the media had a field day since the report came out. Their headlines sent shockwaves to the natural health community. USA Today  bannered this piece, “Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy”, while Huffington Post  ran the headline, “Coconut Oil Is Unhealthy According To The American Heart Association”.
According to the AHA; coconut oil is as unhealthy as beef fat and butter. The tropical plant oil contains 82% saturated fat, which is known for raising bad LDL cholesterol. Beef fat and butter fare better, with only 50% and 63% saturated fat, respectively. Palm kernel oil, one of the most widely consumed vegetable oils, is the only oil that ranked worse than coconut oil.
While there is some truth in the AHA advisory, we believe that its authors oversimplified the situation and gave another unfair, biased, and malicious attack against coconut oil.
AHA Propaganda Against Saturated Fats
Since the 1970s,  the AHA has been trotting out the same message that saturated fat is the main villain when it comes to cardiovascular disease. AHA is a lobbyist group that needs money which it usually gets from corporate sponsors that sell products high in refined carbohydrates and contain a lot of sugar. Major brands receive a seal of approval from the AHA by paying a certain fee for its Heart Check Program. 
There is well-oiled marketing machinery that is committed to change the American diet, calling for the substitution of saturated fats with polyunsaturates. This machinery is funded by the soybean and corn industry and is supported by the AHA. Isn’t the AHA the same nutritionally illiterate organization that continues to advise heart attack victims to eat unlimited processed sugar and artificial sweeteners  as long as they avoid a single gram of fat? According to this bizarre stance, all fats are bad for your body, including plant-based good fats found in chia seeds, flax seeds, and avocados.
Holistic-Minded Doctors’ Responses To The AHA Advisory
Many members of the functional medicine community are raging against the AHA’s advice that is actually designed to promote heart disease rather than prevent it. One of the leading proponents of coconut oil, Jack Wolfson, author of the book The Paleo Cardiologist , expressed his rage against the AHA’s attack on coconut oil. Outlined below are his views on the report:
• There is no link between saturated fat and coronary disease, according to 2010 study  published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is the biggest nutrition journal in the world.
• A 2016 study  published by the same journal revealed that saturated fat actually lowers cardiac risk.
• AHA’s claim that LDL-cholesterol causes heart disease has not been proven yet. LDL works for the immune system since it is an anti-inflammatory  and an anti-oxidant.
Wolfson’s arguments are supported by Dr. Will Cole, a functional medicine practitioner. Cole stresses that the AHA only cited studies that link eating more coconut oil to increasing cholesterol numbers. He reiterates that studies have confirmed the lack of association between high total cholesterol and heart attack and stroke risk.
For Dr. Robin Berzin, chief executive officer of Parsley Health, the AHA oversimplified the role of cholesterol in heart disease. Berzin believes that bad type of cholesterol only increases when coconut oil interacts with a high-sugar, high-refined-carb diet. When eaten with grains, saturated fats like coconut oil co-amplify the inflammatory effects of sugar.
So Is Coconut Oil Unhealthy? Well, Here Are Some Scientific Papers
• Consuming coconut oil may help improve neurological health. Its saturated fats are needed by your brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Several studies have shown the positive effects of coconut oil on Alzheimer’s disease,  seizures, and depression.
• Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties.  It is rich in medium-chain fatty acids that provide an antimicrobial effect by disrupting bacterial, fungal, and viral cell membranes.
• Coconut oil can help people lose weight and reduce weight circumference. Its fatty acids have powerful effects on metabolism. 
• Coconut oil may help reduce the risk of heart disease due to its anti-inflammatory properties. 
In sum, it seems very obvious that big business’ has attempted to keep this incredibly healthy oil from the masses. The AHA report appears to be another travesty against one of the nature’s most amazing resources. Although saturated, coconut oil differs to any other natural oil or fat, structurally, pharmaceutically, and behaviorally. By only looking at heart health and basing heart health on total cholesterol levels, the AHA fails to present an accurate way to determine total heart health. We need saturated fats which constitute at least 50% of our cell membranes. While some people do better with less saturated fats and some thrive with more, there are plenty of actual scientific studies showing health benefits of coconut oil.
 Sacks FM et al. American Health Association Presidential Advisory. Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association. https://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/06/15/CIR.0000000000000510
 Ashley May. 2017. Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/16/coconut-oil-isnt-healthy-its-never-been-healthy/402719001/
 Joy D’Souza. 2017. Coconut Oil Is Unhealthy According To The American Heart Association. https://huffingtonpost.ca/2017/06/19/coconut-oil-unhealthy_n_17210200.html
 David Kritchevsky. 1998. The Journal of Nutrition. History of Recommendations to the Public about Dietary Fat. https://jn.nutrition.org/content/128/2/449S.full
 American Heart Association. Heart-Check Food Certification Program Nutrition Requirements. https://heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Heart-CheckMarkCertification/Heart-Check-Food-Certification-Program-Nutrition-Requirements_UCM_300914_Article.jsp#.WUyo8JKGN3w
 American Heart Association. Non-Nutritive Sweeteners (Artificial Sweeteners). https://heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Non-Nutritive-Sweeteners-Artificial-Sweeteners_UCM_305880_Article.jsp#.WUypyJKGN3w
 Jack Wolfson. 2015. The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health. https://www.amazon.com/Paleo-Cardiologist-Natural-Heart-Health/dp/1630475807/
 Siri-Tarino Patty et al. 2010. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. https://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/3/535
 Praagman J et al. 2016. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The association between dietary saturated fatty acids and ischemic heart disease depends on the type and source of fatty acid in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and NutritionNetherlands cohort. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/103/2/356/4564754
 University of Bonn. 2013. ScienceDaily. How good cholesterol stops inflammation. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209105240.htm
 Fernando WM et al. 2015. The British Journal of Nutrition. The role of dietary coconut for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: potential mechanisms of action. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25997382
 Manisha DebMandal and Shyamapada Mandal. 2011. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine. Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.: Arecaceae): In health promotion and disease prevention. https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1995764511600783
 Assunção ML. 2009. Lipids. Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058
 Intahphuak S et al. 2009. Pharmaceutical Biology. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil. https://tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13880200903062614
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