Harvard Professor Says Coconut Oil is “Pure Poison”

2015 could arguably have been called “The Year of Coconut Oil,” just based on how popular the substance was with some dieticians, beauty and health bloggers. Essentially, it was touted as the healthy answer to butter and cooking oils; it served the same purposes but it raised your good HDL cholesterol and gave you amazing hair.


But in the past few years, the merits of coconut oil have been disputed among health experts. Despite the benefits that had given this trendy fat the label of “superfood,” it was still a fat nonetheless – so should consumers be encouraged to use it liberally in their diets?

Well, Dr. Karin Michels, professor of the department of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, just contributed her thoughts to the global discussion during a lecture at University of Freiburg, Germany. And, quite the opposite of recommending coconut oil to healthy eaters everywhere, she called the substance “pure poison.”

She is not mincing words here, people.

According to Business Insider Deutschland, Michels explains in her lecture, “Coconut Oil and Other Nutritional Errors,” that coconut oil poses a greater risk to heart health than lard as it is almost entirely made up of saturated fatty acids. This type of fatty acid is believed to block our arteries, and only 11 to 13 grams of it should be consumed per day, according to the American Heart Association. 

So, if you’re adding a scoop of coconut oil to every smoothie or using a spoonful to grease up every cooking pan, you may be exceeding your daily limit of saturated fatty acids just from your intake of coconut oil. (This, of course, varies from person to person!)

Dr. Michels’ lecture, which has since garnered over 800,000 hits on YouTube, comes after the AHA recently advised people to avoid coconut oil.

“It’s one of the worst foods you can eat,” Dr. Michels says in her 50-minute lecture.

If you’re wondering where to turn for your cooking oil after this alarming proclamation, never fear! Experts recommend olive or rapeseed oil as an alternative, and while it can’t be used for cooking, flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and wonderful for your body.

What do you think of Dr. Michels’ bold statement on this beloved superfood? Has this convinced you to trade out coconut oil for an alternative or not so much?