I am a little slow on the uptake in terms of understanding the latest war on coconut oil.
Every week I run into another person who has stopped eating it because someone told them it was not healthy after all. Gesh, I can’t believe we are doing this again. Back in 2010 there was an attack on it, but now they are calling out the “big guns” to try and bury this potent food.
Let’s start with the truth. It’s always a good place to begin. Truth is, populations where coconut oil is a staple like Papua New Guinea and Polynesia, have no heart disease (Am J Clin Nut, 1981, Aug). Some people in these groups eat as much as 50% of their diet as saturated fat from coconuts yet have the lowest heart disease rates in the world.
In July of this year, Dr. Mercola reported that a study correlated eating coconut oil with the healing of Crohn’s disease. The caprylic and lauric acid in it reduce the amount of bad bacteria and yeast in the gut allowing it to heal and patients to regain their lives. (Coconut Oil for Crohn’s, July, 2017)
In a 2009 study, 42 women ate either coconut or soy oil for 12 weeks with no other dietary changes. The coconut-eating group had higher HDL (good cholesterol), lower LDL, and decreased abdominal fat. The soy oil-eating group had just the opposite (Lipids, 2009, July). I remember reading this study years ago. It was one of ones that helped me decide to eat this oil regularly.
There are literally thousands of other studies showing similar results for weight loss, acne, dementia, PMS, MS, and the like. The power of coconut oil lies in its makeup. The majority of its saturated fat consists of medium chain triglycerides. Your body absorbs these healthy fats without digestion. In your liver, they turn into ketones, which immediately circulate around your body to be used as fuel. Ketones are all the rage for weight loss. Instead of buying expensive keto drinks just add some coconut oil to your foods.
So, why then all the bad news? Analyses of many different vegetable and plant oils reveals that coconut is 90% saturated fat (Journal Hygienic Engineering and Design). The US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American College of Cardiology representatives have been blogging and speaking on national TV telling people to leave the coconut oil fad because it is an unhealthy fat.
Not all saturated fat is bad fat. Coconuts and avocadoes both have high levels of saturated fat, but this fat is mostly a medium chain triglyceride (MCT). Both foods are known to improve our health. Soy, corn, and canola oil have less saturated fat, but have more polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), which contribute to heart disease and inflammation through plaquing. Here are some other factoids you may want to know about these so-called healthy oils:
- There is a difference between healthy and unhealthy fat. Canola, also known as rapeseed oil, was originally grown for engine lubricants and oil lamps. It was only in 1970s when it was renamed and marketed for human consumption. It is far from healthy. These crops are 100% GM.
- Soy oil was listed as an abortifactant (i.e. causes miscarriages) by the WHO because it is high in estrogen-like compounds that have been linked to ovarian, uterine, breast, and prostate cancer.
- Corn is also another 100% GM crop, which like soy and canola are heavily sprayed with glyphosates (see my blog on this topic). Combine this with its poor nutritional profile and you have another unhealthy oil.
Eating coconut oil not only supports my health, it also supports the entrepreneurs that grow and ship them to the US. I like the idea of supporting native growers over large ag conglomerates.
Recently, Costco, one of the largest retailers for organic products was faced with a class action lawsuit because it put “healthy” on its coconut oil tubs. They were charged with “false advertising” by a California couple who said they paid too much for an oil that is 90% saturated fat… and won. Too bad they did not hire me to present the real data on coconut oil.
So let’s come back from cloud cuckoo land. Coconuts are one of the healthiest foods God placed on the planet. Like the natives of Polynesia, I will continue to eat coconut oil as a staple in my diet. I have for the past 13 years and will continue until I die of old age. This is not a food fad. It is the way healthy people have eaten for thousands of years.