Coconut oil is harmful to health, says a Harvard professor

Karin Michels, the director of the Institute for Prevention and Tumor Epidemiology at the University of Freiburg and Professor of Public Health at Harvard, has created a scandal in the networks thanks to a conference in which she claims that coconut oil, in contrast to what it is generally believed, is harmful to health.

During the conference, whose title "Coconut oil and other nutritional errors"The teacher has made it clear that coconut oil is not healthy according to her, so it should not be included in the usual dietary recommendations.

In fact, in his 50-minute talk, available on YouTube, he sees arguments like: "Coconut oil is pure poison (…) is one of the worst foods that can be consumed".

In this connection, it claims that there are no real scientific studies that support the supposed health benefits that can be obtained from coconut oil; he argues earlier that this food is even more dangerous than lard, because it almost exclusively consists of saturated fatty acids, which can clog the coronary arteries and cause cardiovascular diseases.

In that sense, he states that it is easy to identify fats that contain excessive amounts of saturated fatty acids because it is sufficient to check that they remain solid at room temperature, such as butter, lard and coconut oil.

Moreover, the quality of "superfood" of coconut oil had already been questioned and questioned after the American Heart Association had updated its guidelines and recommendations for healthy living, suggesting that people should avoid fatty acids that are found in coconut oil.

Is coconut oil really harmful?

Experts recommend to consume fats with unsaturated fatty acids, such as olive oil, and at the same time suggest that they should consume with saturated fatty acids with an extreme moderation, as mentioned above; however, this is still a controversial topic for scientists.

According to experts, saturated fats are fatty acids that do not contain double bonds at the molecular level, the main function of which is to supply energy to the body and keep the skin and hair in good condition, in addition to the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A , D, E and K.

However, saturated fats raise the levels of LDL cholesterol or, as it is popularly known, bad cholesterol, which implies an increased risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases; it is therefore recommended that your consumption does not exceed 10% of the total number of calories per day.

On the other hand, there are studies that contradict these approaches. For example, after following the results of a study, people who regularly consume high-fat dairy products with a high content of saturated fatty acids, such as whole milk and cheese, do not have an increased risk of death from heart disease or related diseases, compared with people who consume such avoid products.

Similarly, in another study that took into account data from 135,000 people from 18 different countries, it was found that high fat and low carbohydrate consumption are associated with a 23% lower risk of death.

With this in mind, it is not about completely eliminating saturated fats from our diet, but to learn to enjoy them in moderation. In this sense, the main recommendation is not to exceed with coconut oil, or with another source of saturated fats.


  1. Serial measurements of circulating biomarkers of dairy fat and total and cause-specific mortality in the elderly: the cardiovascular health study, (2018).
  2. Associations of fat and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study.
  3. Saturated fats compared with unsaturated fats and sources of carbohydrates in relation to the risk of coronary heart disease.

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