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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptic > 24.3 > The SkepDoc

The SkepDoc

Coconut Oil: Health Food or Health Hazard?

Coconut oil: is it good for you or bad for you? Some sources say it’s a super nutrient that miraculously reverses Alzheimer’s dementia and has a multitude of other health benefits. Others advise avoiding it because it increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. How can one make sense of the conflicting advice available on the Internet? For a long time, coconut oil was demonized as the most harmful source of dietary saturated fat. Now some people are claiming it has great health benefits. Who is right? There’s only one reliable way for a skeptic to decide: a critical examination of the evidence. As David Hume said, “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.”What does the science say?

Science seems to change its mind regularly; the general public finds this frustrating. They often see it as a defect, but it is actually science’s strong point. As new and better evidence emerges, the scientific community reaches more accurate conclusions that approach ever closer to reality. The quest to understand atherosclerosis is a case in point. It has had a convoluted and confusing history.

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About Skeptic

PINKER ON POST-TRUTH & REASON Steven Pinker on “Why We Are Not Living in a Post-Truth Era: An (Unnecessary) Defense of Reason and a (Necessary) Defense of Universities’ Role in Advancing it” COLUMNS The SkepDoc: Coconut Oil: Health Food or Health Hazard? by Harriet Hall, M.D. • The Gadfly: The Persistence of Memory… and of the Memory Wars, by Carol Tavris ARTICLES The “Lost” Tribes of Israel • The Pentagon’s UFOs How a Multimedia Entertainment Company Created a UFO News Story • The Problem with the Walking Dead And How They Flummoxed Science for Centuries • The Enigma of Stephen Jay Gould • Why the Human Brain Did Not Evolve to Accurately Represent the True Nature of Reality • Homeopathy’s New Clothes: Release Active Drugs • Pressured Apologies, False Confessions, and Witch Hunts • Two Kinds of Progressive Atheism • Surfing for Truth in All the Right Places: An Empirical Test of the Backfire Effect and How the Internet Can Reduce Anti-vaccination Attitudes REVIEWS Reviews of “A review of Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities” • “Spectacle of Illusion: Deception Magic and the Paranormal” • “The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography and the Man Who Captured Lincoln’s Ghost” • “Supernatural Entertainments: Victorian Spiritualism and the Rise of Modern Media Culture” JUNIOR SKEPTIC The Chilling, Changeling Chupacabra!