Health News Now Trending Opinion The Katchup

Coconut Oil Study Is Stirring Up ‘Unhealthy’ Fake News Murmurs

If you’ve come across a headline recently claiming that “Coconut Oil Is As Bad For You As Beef Fat and Butter” or seen similarly titled news articles, chances are you’ve stumbled across a piece of fake news.

These articles began to spread when the American Heart Association (AHA) released a review about fats that emphasized the health risks of saturated fat in coconut oil. And while, yes, coconut oil isn’t the health food the public perceives it to be, it’s not comparable to beef fat or butter, which contain cholesterol and are more directly linked to heart disease than saturated fat is.

Myself, Foodbeast Editor-In-Chief Elie Ayrouth, and Foodbeast Fatboy-In-Chief Rudy Chaney went deeper into the study and the fake news headlines surround it in the latest episode of Foodbeast’s podcast, The Katchup. Our discussion, which starts around the 19-minute-mark of the podcast, addresses why coconut oil shouldn’t be called a “health food,” but also doesn’t deserve the harsh treatment it’s getting from news outlets that call it “unhealthy” or compare it to animal fats.

The three of us concluded on the podcast that coconut oil isn’t really bad for us, but like any other saturated fat, you should consume in moderation. None of us would say that it’s as healthy as an omega-3 rich food like avocados, but we also wouldn’t put it at the same level of unhealthiness as butter. Doing so would deceive our audience and blow the truth of coconut oil out of proportion.

Unfortunately, news and science regarding food gets extremely convoluted by headlines that do just that, meaning that the public has distorted facts and can’t come to accurate conclusions about what they eat. It’s why the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) funded a documentary, Food Evolution, to highlight this issue, and why Neil deGrasse Tyson is willing to put his name and voice behind the film.

It’s now become very difficult to discern what’s true and not in media, especially around food and nutrition, and hopefully the ugliness of the headlines surrounding this coconut oil study and the message of Food Evolution can help begin to resolve this critical issue.

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New Study Suggests Coconut Oil Isn’t The Health Food We All Think It Is

Image: PaulReis123 on Wikimedia Commons

Coconut oil has been touted in recent years as an amazing health product and a great fat to utilize in your diet. Now it turns out that it may have all just been a huge marketing ploy.

In their latest review of dietary fats and the risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) put a strong emphasis on how coconut oil isn’t as good for you as everyone says it is. Here’s why: 82 percent of the fat in coconut oil is saturated fats that lead to a buildup of LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad cholesterol,” that accumulates plaque in your arteries and increases your risk of developing heart disease.

Despite this, the AHA feels that the public doesn’t know the truth about this plant fat because “a recent survey reported that 72 percent of the American public rated coconut oil as a ‘healthy food’ compared with 37 percent of nutritionists.”

You might be asking why coconut oil has such a good reputation if it is in fact unhealthy. As the video above explains, it’s all about the saturated fat. Coconut oil, along with palm oil and palm kernel oil, is a plant-based saturated fat, and unlike other forms of saturated fat — including lard, beef fat, and butter — does not contain actual cholesterol. While the fats from coconut will still eventually turn into cholesterol in our bodies, plants cannot generate this molecule, meaning that “cholesterol-free” suddenly becomes a usable phrase to market coconut oil with.

Coconut oil does increase both “good” and “bad” cholesterol, or HDL and LDL respectively, but the LDL produced from saturated fat makes it worrisome to regularly consume if you want to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. As such, you should limit your intake of all saturated fats, including plant-based ones, if your aim is to consume a healthy and sustainable diet.


Make Your Own Cookie Dough Magic Shell Topping

Who knew making your own magic shell ice cream topping could be so simple? Our new friend Katrina turned us on to her recipe for a Magic Shell Cookie Dough Ice Cream Topping, made with only two ingredients and a few minutes of spare kitchen time. The way her recipe is laid out, you can probably make some bulk amounts too…oh the possibilities.


Cookie Dough Magic Shell Topping


  1. ½ Cup coconut oil, melted
  2. ½ Cup Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Ready-Made Mix 

(You can use any amounts, just use equal parts for best flavor.)


  1. Melt coconut oil and stir in dry mix.
  2. Let stand for about 20 minutes.
  3. Spoon over ice cream. Enjoy!