Public Statement from Food4Change
We collectively respect the American Heart Association (AHA) and its general research in advancing heart health; however, we respectfully disagree with their findings on coconut oil. The statement from the AHA has created some confusion and sharing of misinformation. Knowledge is power and it is important to clarify a few important points. Coconut oil was never positioned as low in saturated fats and not all saturated fats are equal. The AHA did not qualify or differentiate between the medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) found in coconut from the long chain triglycerides found in animal fats. In addition, coconut oil contains no cholesterol, while animal fats do.
The saturated fats found in coconut oil are fairly unique in that in that they are made up of short and medium chain fatty acids, which are metabolized differently in the body than the longer chain fatty acids that make up the saturated fats in animal sources.
Studies have demonstrated that MCTs are absorbed directly into the blood stream and are converted to ketones in the liver, where they are then burned as energy rather than absorbed in the body. MCTs make up the majority of fatty acids in coconut oil – around 65% – and do not act in the same way in the body as longer chain saturated fatty acids. The MCTs in high-quality coconut oil like organic virgin coconut oil (which is made from fresh and cold-pressed coconut meat) have been shown to increase metabolism.
As a society of informed consumers, education and sharing of accurate, science backed information is one of our most powerful tools. There are numerous articles from leading experts in the nutrition, medical, and holistic fields, as well as, scientific studies with in depth information supporting the benefits of coconut oil. We encourage you to explore these works to make the best decision for your own personal health and wellness