Clearing the Cholesterol Confusion

Setting the record straight about coconut oil and cholesterol.

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding coconut oil, mainly when it comes to cholesterol. Until recently, we were told all fats were bad and did the same harm to our bodies. In fact, that’s not the case at all. Coconut oil isn’t like “other” fats – and by “other” we mean butter and hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Dr. Mark Hyman, a physician specializing in functional medicine, puts it simply: “fat does not make you fat or sick.” He says the original study linking heart disease and fat together was flawed in making a causation conclusion. “Every day, you wake up and the sun comes up,” Dr. Hyman explains, “but although these events happen at the same time, you waking up doesn’t cause the sun to come up.” He suggests eating fat doesn’t cause heart disease, including cholesterol issues, sugar does.

“When people eat less fat, they tend to eat more starch or sugar instead, and this actually increases their levels of dangerous cholesterol, the small, dense cholesterol that causes heart attacks,” Dr. Hyman states. “In fact, studies show that 75% of people who end up in the emergency room with a heart attack have normal overall cholesterol levels.  What they do have is pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.”

Lloyd Burnett, a personal trainer and wellness consultant, agrees and says there’s more to cholesterol than a number. “My first piece of evidence came from a MIT trained scientist named Raymond Francis who wrote a beautiful article called “The Cholesterol Myth”. He vindicated me when he said, “Half of all heart attacks in the US each year occur in people with “normal” cholesterol levels.”  To further this point, Dr. Johnny Bowden and Dr. Stephan Sinatra, authors of “The Great Cholesterol Myth” and contributors to the Dr. Oz show, say saturated fat, like the kind found in coconut oil, do not play a role in heart disease.

“Two major studies in the last few years concluded that there was no association between saturated fat intake and heart disease. In one study, the researchers wrote, “Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke, nor was it associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”

The pair also agree substituting carbohydrates for fats isn’t doing your body any good. “A study by Dariush Mozaffarian of Harvard found that in postmenopausal women, greater saturated fat intake was associated with less progression of coronary atherosclerosis, while carbohydrate intake was associated with a greater progression. This finding was so surprising that the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an editorial called “Saturated Fat Prevents Coronary Artery Disease? An American Paradox.” The Mozaffarian study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that replacing saturated fats with high-glycemic index carbs was associated with a 33% increase in heart attack risk.”

So here’s to more coconut oil and healthy bodies!


The statements found throughout this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health condition or concern, consult a physician or your alternative health care provider. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing new exercises.

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