Coconut Oil May Not Be Any Healthier Than Butter, Beef Fat, AHA Says

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Although coconut oil is marketed as a healthier cooking oil option, that may not be true, according to the American Heart Association.

In a study and press release, the AHA said it continues to recommend replacing saturated fats with poly- and mono-unsaturated vegetable oil to help prevent heart disease.

It says trials that lowered intake of dietary saturated fat and replaced it with polyunsaturated vegetable oil reduced cardiovascular disease by approximately 30 percent. That’s similar to the percentage achieved by cholesterol-lowering drugs.

READ: A Few Walnuts A Day Can Suppress Hunger, Study Finds

Meanwhile, coconut oil, “which is predominantly saturated fat and widely touted as healthy,” raised LDL cholesterol in the same way as other saturated fats found in butter, beef fat and palm oil.

LDL, a.k.a. bad cholesterol, “is a major cause of artery-clogging plaque and cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Frank Sacks, lead author of the advisory and professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

In a press release from November, the AHA released a list of common cooking oils that contain more of the “better-for-you” fats and less saturated fat. They are:

  • Canola
  • Corn
  • Olive
  • Peanut
  • Safflower
  • Soybean
  • Sunflower

“Blends or combinations of these oils, often sold under the name ‘vegetable oil,’ and cooking sprays made from these oils are also good choices, the release said.

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