A second look at advice from some health officials

Examining what is sometimes passed on as the best of diet choices

By Scott McDermott

Red Deer Express

AHA! You blew it! Coconut oil won’t kill you.

No, this is not about you.

It is about a bunch of silly stuff the American Heart Association (AHA) put into the media last week.

They put out a big article about how coconut oil is bad for you and that we should all go back to margarine! Seriously? Have they read none of the actual real science studies?

I know this sounds like a conspiracy theory rant – but it is so obvious that the AHA is pandering to stakeholders and major fund contributors instead of listening to current science and knowledge.

It is easy to locate their prime fund supporters and when you do, the conflict of interest is clear.

Let’s look at what they are talking about.

They are stating that coconut oil is high in saturated fat and the claim is that it increases LDL (bad cholesterol). This comes from a basic (wrong) assumption that eating cholesterol leads to high cholesterol which leads to heart problems.

The first problem with that is that there is no credible link between eating saturated fat and heart disease, none.

I am talking about studies that are done to the highest standards and utilize groups from 9,000 subjects up to 550,000 subjects.

They are referring to studies done in the 60’s that are more theory than fact.

Read The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz, Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe or Fat Chance by Robert Lustig.

It goes on and on. The old flawed research papers from the 60’s and 70’s that they use are so bad, but the AHA is still trying to quote those studies.

Just imagine the knowledge jump we have had in the last 60 years since then! Remember 1960?

Rotary dial phones where you and all of your neighbors shared a ‘party line,’ gasoline was six cents a litre, and if you got a boo boo – your mom would dab on mercurochrome (yes, toxic mercury – right on an open wound – we didn’t know better).

Polio was widespread and if you got it, you ended up in the hospital on an iron lung. Put simply, we know better now.

Further, there is amazing new research showing that LDL from food, which is a larger, more ‘fluffy’ molecule, is actually beneficial to the heart, unlike the disease state LDL build-up which is more dense and rigid.

This LDL comes from not exercising, leading a life of recreation and sitting.

Cholesterol is manufactured by your liver according to your genetic make up, and exercise turns LDL (bad) into HDL (good).

Coconut oil raises your beneficial (fluffy) LDL and your heart healthy HDL.

Exercise also builds up good cholesterol (HDL), so coconut oil and fitness go hand in hand for a better cholesterol count. And watch out!

Your doctor may tell you that your total cholesterol number is high, so ask for the split between LDL and HDL. If HDL is high, and LDL is low, then the total is not the problem it can be thought of.

It is an actual fact that butter (and coconut oil) is better than margarine, yet the AHA is claiming the opposite.

They advise a breakfast of: bran flakes cereal, one banana, one cup low fat milk, 1 tsp. margarine and a cup of orange juice.


So that would give you a little over 500 calories made up of 18 grams of protein, 104 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of fat.

Forgiving the transfats and PUFA (poly unsaturated fatty acids) which we know are bad for you, this breakfast is 61 grams of sugar.

Good grief! If you don’t have Type 2 Diabetes or heart disease now, stay tuned.

You will.

How about this instead: three eggs, 1.5 cups of veggies like tomatoes, peppers, onions, spinach, etc. plus a few slices of avocado and a cup of your fave fruit (strawberries, blueberries etc) afterwards. Now we have 480 calories, 26 grams of healthy protein, 40 grams of good veggie carbs, and 25 grams of fat – no transfats. And sugar? Twenty grams of naturally occurring sugar. No glucose syrup or high fructose corn syrup.

You will be leaner, healthier, full of clean energy and just won’t need to worry about causing disease.

Eat real food.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.

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