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Dear Dr. Roach: Please write about the increasing use of “fashionable” coconut oil and coconut milk. I am on a plant-based diet, approaching vegan, and I see more products with high amounts of saturated fat, which seems to be due to increased use of coconut. I see this used in yogurts (where soy used to be more common), frozen vegan meals (where I would have expected olive oil), etc. One vegan slice of cake (which I did not buy) contained 113 percent of the daily allotment of saturated fat — made with coconut oil.

G.W.

Dear G.W.: It sounds like you have made up your mind about coconut oil, but the science isn’t entirely settled. Most authorities have recommended avoiding tropical oils, including palm oil and coconut oil, but feel they are not as unhealthy as meat-based saturated fats. I also recommend against large amounts of coconut and palm oil. In my opinion, vegetable oils, olive and canola oils and nut oils are better choices for health.

Dear Dr. Roach: I have had reactions to local anesthetics. I had a mole removed from my back, and immediately felt heat move up my spine and hit my head. Three days of horrible headache followed. This was repeated during dental work. After seeing my tears in anticipation of lidocaine, a dentist this week filled a cavity without anesthetic. What do I do?

P.E.

Dear P.E.: I have heard of a few cases of headache in response to local anesthetics, but days (or weeks) of symptoms is beyond my experience.

There are two different families of local anesthetics; they are metabolized differently by the body. Both lidocaine and bupivacaine are in the aminoamide family. It might be worth trying one in the aminoester family, such as procaine or tetracaine.

Email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu.

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