Experts Dispute AHA Warning on Saturated Fats, Coconut Oil

July 20, 2017

This article is written by Dr. Fabian Dayrit, current president of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines and the chairman of the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community’s Scientific Advisory Committee for Health, and is in response to the recent viral advisory published by the American Heart Association (AHA) warning the public against the use of coconut oil due to its saturated fat content.




Coconut oil has been adversely affected by the current dietary guidelines that advocate a lowering of total fat and the replacement of saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat. This recommendation has its origins in the saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis that Ancel Keys first proposed in 1957. This hypothesis became an official recommendation with the publication of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 1980 and has been adopted by many other countries and international agencies. The dietary recommendations also warn against coconut oil. Recently, the American Heart Association re-issued this warning in its 2017 Presidential Advisory. However, a critical review of the experiments that Keys conducted has revealed experimental errors and biases that cast serious doubt on the correctness of his hypothesis and the warnings against coconut oil. Further, the recommendation to decrease saturated fat recommendation effectively means an increase in unsaturated fat in the diet. The actual result has been an increase in omega-6 fats and a high omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio. This unhealthy ratio has been linked to heart disease, the very disease that the AHA wants to target, as well as cancer and inflammatory diseases. Defective experiments have led to defective guidelines. This first paper in this series of papers will present these errors and biases and address the points raised by the AHA.


Dr. Fabian Dayrit was also quoted in the released article of the Olive Oil Times last July 18, 2017 amidst the American Heart Association’s warning about the saturated fat content of coconut oil, from which some experts have weighed in and found some gaps in the health organization’s recommendations.


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