Coconut oil is as unhealthy as beef dripping and butter, say US heart experts. It is packed with saturated fat which can raise “bad” cholesterol, says the American Heart Association in updated advice. Coconut oil is commonly sold as a health food and some claim the fat in it may be better for us than other saturated fats. The AHA, however, says there are no good studies to support this. The advice around which fats to eat can be very confusing. Animal fats, such as lard, are generally seen as bad, while plant oils, such as olive and sunflower, are seen as healthier options. That theory is based on how much of one particular type of fat – saturated fat or “sat fat” – these products contain. Saturated fat is said to be bad for our health, although not everyone agrees. Eating a diet high in saturated fat can raise the level of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol in the blood, which, in turn, may clog the arteries and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. According to the AHA, 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated. That’s more than in butter (63%), beef fat (50%) and pork lard (39%). And, like other saturated fats, studies show it can increase “bad” cholesterol. Some claim that the mixture of fats in coconut oil still make it a healthy option, but the AHA says there is no good-quality evidence for this. It says people should limit how much saturated fat they eat, replacing some of it with unsaturated vegetable oils – olive oil and sunflower oil, and their spreads.