'Superfood' Coconut Oil Called 'Pure Poison' By Harvard Professor

A businessman hawks coconut fruits along the streets of Mombasa. /FILE

But the carefully-crafted image of coconut oil as a cure for many ills has been roundly rejected by a Harvard professor.

That being said though, we need a mix of fats to survive so using a bit of coconut oil to cook here and there isn't going to do a whole load of damage.

Michels isn't the first expert to come out against the oil's alleged status as a miracle food.

People are recommended to avoid the high levels of saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil. This goes against the common belief that coconut oil is good for your health, as it's previously been hailed as a "superfood" that can be used in the kitchen as a component of any meal.

Michels, who is also a director at the University of Freiburg, was giving a presentation entitled "Coconut Oil and Other Nutritional Errors" in German when she made the case that the dietary and cosmetic ingredient is completely unhealthy for humans.

Coconut oil reached it's peak popularity in 2015 when it was considered the trendy superfood that was guilt-free and rich in health benefits.

In a speech at the prestigious school, she also dismissed other so-called superfoods as unnecessary, because everyday foods give us plenty of nutrition.

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A study conducted a year ago shows that over 80 percent of fats in coconut oil are saturated, meaning that eating a lot of the stuff could lead to increased chances of cholesterol.

According to Michels, coconut oil is more unsafe than lard because it nearly exclusively contains saturated fatty acids, ones that can clog the coronary arteries.

But experts can't seem to agree on how much saturated fat people should consume in a healthy diet, or if it should be avoided altogether.

"For the time being, if you like the taste of coconut oil, then, as with butter, it's fine to use it every now and then". For people who do not have high cholesterol, that number should be under 10 percent.

"What we do know is that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats like vegetable oil, olive oil and sunflower oil, and their spreads, has been shown as an effective way to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels, so this would be a healthier choice".

"We want to set the record straight on why well-conducted scientific research overwhelmingly supports limiting saturated fat in the diet to prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels", lead author Dr. "For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, that's about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat". It's just that you have to be aware that most health claims about this food have been greatly exaggerated.

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