Experts Debate: The Case For and Against Coconut Oil

Cassie Shortsleeve
by Cassie Shortsleeve
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Experts Debate: The Case For and Against Coconut Oil

If you follow health trends, the debate about coconut oil might be giving you whiplash — and you’re not alone. For years, the oil was villainized, similar to butter, for its high saturated fat content. But in the past year, coconut oil’s image got a makeover as health and wellness experts praised it for helping reduce belly fat and raise “good” HDL cholesterol. It also contains buzzy medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of fat rapidly absorbed by the body for energy.

Yet in another reversal, an adjunct professor of epidemiology at Harvard referred to the oil as ‘pure poison’ in a recent lecture, claiming it’s harmful to the heart and is one of the worst foods you can eat.

Most dietitians agree that categorizing foods as ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ or ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is too simplistic. After all, healthy eating is about balance. But whether coconut oil deserves a spot in your diet remains a hotly debated topic. Here, two experts weigh in:

About the Author

Cassie Shortsleeve
Cassie Shortsleeve

Cassie Shortsleeve is a Boston-based freelance writer and editor. She has worked on staff at both Shape and Men’s Health and contributes regularly to a slew of national print and digital publications such as Women’s Health, Condé Nast Traveler, and Furthermore for Equinox. With a degree in English and creative writing from the College of the Holy Cross, she has a passion for reporting on all things health, lifestyle, and travel.


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