American Heart Association warns against using coconut oil

American Heart Association warns against using coconut oil

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - All over the internet, websites claim that coconut oil has many health benefits. The claims range anywhere from preventing tooth decay, to preventing heart disease and high blood pressure.

This week, the American Heart Association released a report saying coconut oil is not the super food some have claimed it to be. In fact, people are being told not to use it.

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist with the University of Toledo Medical Center, Kimberly Abbas, said the report is not new news. "It (coconut oil) doesn't really have any specific health benefits. It is very high in saturated fat. Which, the higher the saturated fat intake, tends to raise your LDL level, which increases your risk for heart disease," said Abbas.

Heart disease is America's number one killer. The American Heart Association reviewed existing data showing coconut oil increased "bad" cholesterol in seven out of seven controlled trials. Researchers didn't see a difference between coconut oil and other oils high in saturated fat, like butter or beef fat.

Abbas says if you're trying to lose weight, you should stay away from fats altogether, but if you must cook with something, there are a couple of healthier options.

"Olive oil is probably the healthiest. We usually recommend that people use that as their primary oil at home, or an organic canola oil can be another option if they don't like the taste of olive oil,"Abbas said.

As far as using coconut oil for skin and hair care, the American Heart Association says you can put it on your body, just not in your body.

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