If you’ve watched the news or spent time on any social media platform over the past two weeks, you’ve surely seen the news that the American Heart Association has now proclaimed that coconut oil is no healthier than butter or lard. They cite evidence that coconut oil raises LDL (aka “bad” cholesterol”), which may increase risk of heart disease and stroke.

Shortly after, the internet was flooded with articles from science, nutrition, and mainstream websites calling coconut oil’s purported health benefits “fake news,” “pseudoscience,” and “alternative facts.” Seemingly in the very next minute, the holistic, integrative, and functional health experts and influencers (many of whom are licensed medical or nutritional professionals themselves) rebutted those claims with their own articles, also citing scientific research and shedding light on past not-so-accurate proclamations by the AHA.

It’s a lot of information to sort through, and, frankly, hard to know what side to take. What do we think?

In a recent blog post, we discuss the concept of panacea or miracle foods and ingredients, and how quickly the tides can turn. While we certainly have our own personal opinions about coconut oil as a food and as a skincare ingredient, we’re also aware of the science–and we acknowledge that sometimes the science that is used to back up an opinion is old science, or science based on animal research that does not translate to the human experience. In this case, there is data to show that coconut oil raises LDL cholesterol, but it has not been proven that higher LDL cholesterol is a cause of heart disease. And that leaves the issue open to debate.

When it comes to coconut oil, as with many things, we think you should look at the evidence and make a personal call about what is right for your body. One of our own NAA founders has an allergy to coconut oil— just one example of an ingredient that, no matter how healthy for someone else, needs to be considered in the context of your personal health. Beyond that, use moderation. Even nutritious foods can turn on you if you load up on them or eat them in the wrong context.

Coconut Oil Resources

Here are some resources we know and respect who have weighed in on this coconut oil confusion. Most are pro coconut oil, for a variety of compelling reasons. For now, most of us will continue to consider it a healthy source of plant-based (if saturated) fat.

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!We want to hear from you!

We’d love to know your thoughts on this coconut oil confusion.

Will you keep using it in your cooking?

Do you have concerns about eating too much?