Recently the American Heart Association doubled down on its claim that saturated fat is bad for you. Its target this time: coconut oil. The AHA has been attacking saturated fat for the last ~50 years, and won’t give up just yet.
In its recent offense, the AHA claims that coconut oil has saturated fat: a dramatic and surprising conclusion. The director Frank Sacks wonders why everyone thinks it’s good for you, when coconut oil is made up of almost entirely….fat.
While we can all appreciate his insight, perhaps he should take a step back. Maybe he’s heard of the non-sequitur logical fallacy (or more formally, affirming the consequent). For the layman, it goes as this: a=b, b=c, therefore a=c. While this may be true in mathematics, in the complex world, this is not always the case, and conclusions about ‘a’ cannot be made based on conclusions about ‘b’.
In fact, since the original attack against saturated fat in the 1970s, mounting evidence has been provided that while, yes, saturated fat can possibly (but not always) increase LDL cholesterol, there is not a proven link to saturated fat and heart disease.
On the other hand, the AHA has been relatively silent until fairly recently about table sugar (more specifically, fructose), which has been consistently linked to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, otherwise known as the metabolic syndrome. They don’t however, attack apples and oranges (thankfully).
The motives behind the AHAs continued slaughts against saturated fat after 50 years of contrary research remains unclear. It may possibly just be an extreme case of denial or possibly something more sinister, but it is quite clear that the research behind the risks of saturated fat are unsubstantial.