Health · Nutrition · Science

Coconuts & Cardiovascular Disease?

coconut

This week the American Heart Association (AHA) released Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease, an advisory article detailing the harmful effects of saturated fats in the development of cardiovascular disease. Almost immediately, people all over the world gave their jars of coconut, once touted as the cure-all for anything, a second look.

So what does the AHA article claim and what does it matter? Here is my intake on the claims against saturated fat and why I’m not about to toss out my jar of coconut oil-

  • Replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fat from vegetable oils (soybean, canola, corn) lowers risk of heart disease.
    • All of the studies contributing to this evidence were done in people eating a Standard American Diet (SAD); high-carb, high-fat. The combination of high-saturated fat and high-carbs in a SAD does contribute to heart disease risk, so naturally if the types of fat are changed, there will be a reduction in heart disease risk. That being said, saturated fat does not tend to exert the same effects when eaten as part of a low-carb, higher fat diet.
    • I have to further question the push for polyunsaturated fats, specifically those mentioned (soybean, peanut and corn, which are some of the top producing crops of big agriculture companies). These polyunsaturated fats are rich in omega-6 fatty acids, fats shown to have pro-inflammatory effects. How come fatty fish with wasn’t mentioned as a good source of polyunsaturated fats? Perhaps the fishing industry needs to start funding more research or consider a donation to the AHA.

 

  • Replacing saturated fat with refined carbohydrates does not prevent heart disease.
    • Nothing new here. Replacing fat with sugar only raises trigercyerides and inflammation.

After reading through the AHA’s article, I’m not about to rid my diet of saturated fats, and especially not going to start purchasing vegetable oils. I am confident that my current high-fat, low-carb diet is not putting my heart at risk of disease.

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