Coconut Oil: Not as Safe As You Thought it to Be?
Sameer Salunkhe | On 04, Mar 2019
Coconut oil has risen in public consumption over the past decade, becoming a food and personal care product. It is consistently presented in the mainstream media as a go-to oil for everything from cooking to skin care. It’s safe to say that coconut oil has been in the “fad” status longer than most trends as it consistently finds footing in a multitude of dynamic uses.
One Harvard professor is now speaking out and trying to debunk coconut oil’s prominence as a “healthy” choice. Karin Michels, an adjunct epidemiology professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has vehemently stated that coconut is a poison you shouldn’t ever eat. Professor Michels, the director of the Institute for Prevention and Tumor Epidemiology at the University of Freiburg in Germany. Her credentials are solid – and so people are listening to her.
She stated the harmful effects of coconut oil on her viral YouTube lecture. In her lecture, she mentioned over and over, her belief that coconut oil is “pure poison.”
People are now wondering why coconut oil is considered poison. The reason for Michel’s claims is reduced to the same argument that health officials have been having for over a decade. One thing that coconut oil has, outside of being able to make your hair super shiny, is a lot of saturated fat. Studies have been supporting the reduction of saturated fat to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Despite these dramatic claims, not all researchers are jumping to stand alongside Karin Michels “pure poison” claim. Doctors like Walter C. Willet wrote in Harvard Health Letter that coconut oil is not necessarily the devil oil. He reiterated that fat in the diet, whether saturated or unsaturated, can help boost the “good” cholesterol levels over the “bad” ones. He reminded his readers that using coconut oil sparingly should not be a problem. Moderation is key.
The debate that was sparked by the use of coconut oil has sent people searching for healthier replacements. Surprisingly, this “pure poison” claim of coconut oil, has sent people to another fat source that’s popular in Indian cuisine – ghee. Ghee is clarified butter that has a higher caloric and fat content than “traditional” butter. However, as far as healthy fats go, ghee has a lot to offer those who consume it. Ghee is full of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin-A, D, E, and K. It’s a fat source that is full of antioxidants and rich flavours.
Regardless of how one decides to incorporate fat into a diet, it’s important to keep in mind that one shouldn’t be guzzling gallons of it. Be it the “pure poison” of coconut oil, or the vitamin and antioxidant-rich ghee – moderation is key. It may be that in the coming years, consumers rely more and more on coconut oil as a hair and skin product, where ghee increases its versatility as an ingredient in a multitude of recipes.