Coconut Oil Declared “Safe” by USDA

Coconut oil or coco oil amounts are no longer limited to the USDA. In a surprising turnaround from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, limits on coconut oil and some other high-fat foods have been removed. The USDA once recommended eating no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day. Recent reports from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology find there is a lack of evidence to support the long-held belief that eating dietary cholesterol raises serum cholesterol.

Since the 1970s, the USDA has warned about the dangers of eating high cholesterol and high-fat foods. Eggs, full-fat dairy products, meat, coconut oil, and nuts were limited by USDA guidelines as a way to prevent high cholesterol. The new guideline will end three decades of misinformation about how high cholesterol should be managed.

Why Coconut Oil Doesn’t Raise Cholesterol Levels

Only animal products contain cholesterol, but coconut oil, coconut meat, and a few other tasty things were once lumped in with high-cholesterol foods as sources of unhealthy fat. The facts about cholesterol make it easy to understand why eating animal products don’t affect cholesterol levels. Only about 20 percent of the cholesterol in our blood comes from the foods we eat. We need more cholesterol than our diet can provide in order to function properly. The other 80 percent is made by the liver. In reality, the foods we eat have very little effect on actual cholesterol numbers.

Dietary guidelines are revised every five years. Guidelines due to be published in 2016 will reflect the new information. On the advice of scientists and nutritionists, these high-fat foods will be reintroduced as safe without limits.

Doctors are now emphasizing that sugar is the new bad boy on the block. Sugar adds zero nutritional value to food. The body doesn’t need the extra carbohydrates provided by sugar. Low-fiber carbs like sugar have the biggest impact on insulin levels. But don’t expect new USDA guidelines to put limits on sugar.  An overall healthy intake of calories will be emphasized.

So what does it all mean for lovers of coconut oil and other high-fat foods? It means you have permission to skip the skim and embrace the fat. Of course, calories do still count. High-fat foods should be part of a balanced diet that includes plenty of high-fiber, low-cal foods that provide plenty of nutrition.