If you grew up in India, coconut oil would’ve been a huge part of your life. It was the go-to solution from everything – from dry skin, hair fall to teeth whitening. However, off late coconut oil has been receiving some bad publicity. Recently a hot debate took over Twitter over health claims made by a Harvard professor who called coconut oil “pure poison”. The professor said that consuming coconut oil carries a lot of health risks. In her lecture ‘Coconut oil and other nutritional errors’ professor Karin Michels explains that coconut oil is made up of saturated fats and can be dangerous to your heart health.
Generally, fats have fatty acids that turn solid at room temperature. According to the American Heart Association, an average person should only consume about 11-13 grams of saturated fat per day.
Unsaturated fats, like the one present in olive oil, should be eaten in moderation. However, they do help improve blood cholesterol. Despite coconut oil being peddled as the latest health fad, last year, the American Heart Association urged people to avoid consuming coconut oil.
So, what’s the verdict?
Experts say that a healthy diet should be about moderation. Anything in excess can harm our body – even if they are considered to be good fats. Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar took to Instagram to talk about coconut oil. Here’s what she says: “Making a food into a hero and then a villain is a tried and tested strategy of the food and weight loss industry. The latest controversy is on coconut. The golden rule though is - if it has been consumed in your region for ages and has multiple and varied uses, it’s a superfood.”
When asked if saturated fat is a bad thing, she said, “There is no such thing as a bad thing. The only really bad thing is to replace saturated fat with vegetable oils like the way the guidelines suggest. The bad thing is to stay blind to the tons of scientific evidence that saturated fat is not linked to heart disease. Also saturated fats have always existed in nature; breast milk is dominantly saturated fat as is dairy or even coconut for that matter. But then even within saturated fats there are types, the medium chain, long chain etc,” Diwekar shared the link to an older article as a response to the claims.