By: Gleason Center Editors, Dr. Daniel Gleason DC
Dr. Gleason responds to claims from Harvard professor, Karin Michels, that coconut oil is “pure poison” and “one of the worst foods you can eat”. This sensationalized story has recently gone viral and our doctors hope to clear the confusion. Spoiler alert: Coconut oil in moderation is and always has been GOOD FOR YOU!
A Response To “Coconut Oil and other Nutritional Errors”
I have been asked to comment on a recent lecture that’s received over 1.2 million views on YouTube.
Firstly, I’d like to clarify that this story was originally published in a Dutch business publication, not a scientific journal.
Secondly, let’s examine the credentials of the lector. Karin Michels PhD. is an adjunct professor of epidemiology who primarily studies breast cancer predispositions; much of which focuses on things like prenatal obesity, birth weight, and maternal breast size. I can find no articles which she has written on dietary fats.
Karin Michels has received grants from The American Cancer Society, The Department of Defense, and the NIH. These are conventional sources paying for research along conventional lines of inquiry.
Her comments regarding coconut oil rely primarily on the outdated assumption that all saturated fats are bad. Michels doesn’t distinguish between man-made saturated fats (trans fats, margarine, hydrogenated soybean oil, cottonseed oil) and saturated fats from healthy animals (grass fed butter, cheese, lard, tallow).
In total contrast to the sensationalized title, the article goes on to cite several studies that show there is no connection (or even perhaps an inverse relationship) between the consumption of saturated fats and disease.
One article from the prestigious Lancet, using data from 135,000 people in 18 countries, found that a high fat, low carbohydrate diet was associated with a 23% lower risk of death from all causes.
The other study cited was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It indicated that people who routinely consume cheese, whole milk, and other high fat dairy products are at no higher risk of dying from heart attack, stroke, or other illness than those who avoid such products.
This story overall is nothing more than a typical attention-grabbing headline, not based on science. Coconut oil in moderation has numerous health benefits. Shame on Dr. Michels for commenting on something she is not an expert on and has not carefully studied. It’s this type of thing that gives science a bad name and confuses patients. Also shame on Business Insider for giving the impression in their title that coconut oil is bad for you. They certainly know most people won’t read any further than the headline.
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