Dr. Fuhrman Dr. Fuhrman

"Saturated fat is good for you" and other myths

If you are interested in nutrition and you are using the internet, chances are you found many conspiracy theories. One of the most prevalent is the saturated fat is actually good for you myth. Proponents of this myth advocate that eating large amounts of coconut oil, butter and lard is very good for you.

Head over to Disease Proof for a response (scroll down to the comments) from Dr Fuhrman and his staff about these and other claims from internet health gurus:

While Americans still think some balance of fat, carbohydrate and protein is better or worse, they missed the main point that it is not the balance of macronutrients (calorie containing nutrients) that is critical, but the lack of micronutrients (phytochemicals, antioxidants, minerals and other factors) that are the main cause of disease.

This comment was the inspiration for a series about nutrition charlatans:

  1. Metabolic Type: Unscientific Premise, Dangerous Advice.
  2. The Fallacy of the Metabolic Type Questionnaire.
  3. The Meat and Butter Diet.
  4. Examining Dr. Atkins Death.

Diet Blog also posts about this: Coconut Oil: The Doctors Debate.

My opinion: there is a difference between relatively healthy, and healthy. I think it is likely that coconut oil is a healthier fat for stir frying than safflower oil, and there is no doubt that trans fat is the worst fat there is. However, that does not mean that coconut oil is a health food in itself. Whole foods are always better than refined products and oils are a refined product, even if they are extra-virgin cold pressed. If you want your saturated fat, just eat some coconut.

24 March: updated with links to the whole series and added link to Diet Blog

March 21, 2006