Recently a friend strongly recomended that I switch to coconut oil for cooking, health benefits and skin care. Does anyone have any information about virgin coconut oil?
Coconut oil is very high in saturated fat.
There's some dispute about whether it might be metabolized differently in the body from other oils high in saturated fat and thus not pose a similar risk. But the jury is still out on this.
The American Heart Association recommends against use of "tropical oils" (including coconut oil) in cooking because of the risk of raising cholesterol levels and promoting heart disease.
Yes... coconut oil is good for making soap... and putting on skin in the right amounts... but I wouldn't cook with it unless I am hunting for a heart attack...
vaca, I strongly echo your friend's recommendation; just be sure you're buying the good stuff (not heated, refined or deodorized). It's great for your immune system too.
Coconut oil's bad reputation was 'manufactured' nearly fifty years ago during biased research that used HYDROGENATED coconut oil. Of course, any hydrogenated oil is bad for you. If you review current research, you'll see that coconut oil does not negatively impact cholesterol levels nor heart health. In fact, populations which derive most of their fat intake from coconuts have remarkably healthy blood lipid profiles.
I've attached an article from one of my favorite 'fat' scientists, Mary Enig.
Everyone & their Momma is selling coconut oil these days, so it's hard to find non-commercial sites, but Dr. Joseph Mercola ('a supplement peddler' according to some) has a bunch of easy-to-read articles about coconut oil's health benefits. You can google him for articles if you have a chance.
Here is a link that might be useful: Effects of Coconut Oil on Serum Cholesterol Levels and HDLs
It's true that lots of people seem to have an interest in selling coconut oil - including the linked site, which is run by a "food product" company in the Philippines.
There are certainly a number of vested interests involved in the marketing of cooking oils, which is why it is important to get information from non-commercial sources (like the American Heart Association, which as noted earlier has not cleared tropical oils as safe for general cooking use).
Research can cut both ways, and one can compile a list of papers with preliminary or marginal applications to human health, while ignoring research that is not favorable - for instance, this paper that found a substantially higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias in animals on a coconut oil diet, as compared to polyunsaturated oils.
Hearing that Mercola is a proponent of coconut oil should raise a red flag, as the good doctor (apart from hustling various supplements and books) is a purveyor of health misinformation on many fronts, including the "shocking truth" about fluoridated water, the alleged dangers of vaccines etc. etc.
Examination of the large HUMAN populations which have used coconut oil for centuries answers most of the reasonable concerns about coconut oil. If the AMA - hardly an impartial entity -- is advising against tropical oils based on flawed, biased studies, then they are wrong. As someone pointed out on another thread in this Forum, doctors used to promote cigarette smoking for health based on biased information. They were dead wrong.
Research for yourself. vaca was lucky enough to grow up in a part of the world where coconut's health value is well understood & well appreciated.
doesn't cooking oils turn some of it into trans-fatty-acids or it a form of hydrogenating? oh, I can't remember how I got that idea into my head.
I referred in two posts to the American Heart Association - not the A.M.A.
Please explain why you believe the American Heart Association (or the A.M.A., for that matter) would be biased against coconut oil.
Suggesting that we mistrust physicians because some doctors didn't appreciate the dangers of smoking many years ago, is like saying that today's herbalism is useless because many herbalists of the past promoted useless or dangerous remedies. Neither conclusion is valid.
The "centuries of use" argument is risky. For one thing, many people living in less developed areas of the world (and using coconut oil for cooking) have historically had radically different diets than in Western nations, often deficient in calories and various nutrients. Comparing data on the incidence of heart disease in these populations to that of Westernerners who eat too much and neglect a balanced diet could lead us to entirely wrong conclusions.
It would be interesting to see a clinical study comparing large numbers of Americans eating typical diets, with one group using coconut oil for cooking and the other using typical vegetable oils, and analyzing serum cholesterol and lipid levels in both groups. One could also look at incidence of disease in these groups to see whether the claims of an immune system benefit for using coconut oil are valid.
The supplement sellers and trade groups promoting coconut oil would be doing us a service if they funded such studies, instead of hawking miracle claims based on substandard or no evidence.
Speaking of which, Dr. Mercola recently was warned by the FDA for making a whole laundry list of undocumented claims for "Virgin Coconut Oil".
thorsippi, perhaps you're thinking of the way heat affects fats? Good coconut oil is stable at higher temperatures than many other oils, including olive oil.
Going against the status quo always leaves one open to attack, which is why so many health professionals stick to the party line despite good sense & evidence to the contrary. Remember when physicians encouraged patients concerned about cholesterol to eat margarine instead of butter? Boy was that bad advice!
Overpriced overhyped "virgin" coconut oil is less offensive to my sensibilities than dangerous overpriced overhyped drugs like statins & COX-2 inhibitors. I don't buy the "virgin" stuff anyway; plain old cold-processed or low heat processed coconut oil is good enough for me.
Going off on a slight tangent: Reminds me of a recent health workshop where they wouldn't allow nettle tea to be served (herbs could have side effects, you know) so they served sodas & colas instead! LOL, except it's not funny.
I'd love to hear more on this topic from GWers who are actually knowledgeable about nutrition.
"Remember when physicians encouraged patients concerned about cholesterol to eat margarine instead of butter? Boy was that bad advice!"
On the contrary, it is bad advice to urge consumption of any food high in saturated fats, including butter and coconut oil.
Using margarine instead of butter continues to be the recommendation of professionals in nutrition and cardiac medicine. This reference explains why.
Limiting one's intake of fats and oils and otherwise eating a sensible, balanced diet is a key to better health.
bushpoet said, thorsippi, perhaps you're thinking of the way heat affects fats? Good coconut oil is stable at higher temperatures than many other oils, including olive oil.
that's probably what I'd read about. And remembered incompletely. As usual.
Remember when physicians encouraged patients concerned about cholesterol to eat margarine instead of butter? Boy was that bad advice!
Shortly after I was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, I began reading (voluminously) about all kinds of diet issues. The one thing that pissed me off the most was reading about trans fatty acids in margarine vs. butter. Because of my grandfather's heart disease, and then my own dad's heart attack at age 47 (he was generally very fit), we switched to margarine....... I'm really pissed now because at age 43, I'm in worse shape that dad was. HE grew up on real butter. *I* grew up on margarine.
I think "they" did me a great disservice. Even though it was well-intended. Hence my openess to the concept of paleolithic diets.
Whooa, my message disappeared....Let's try it again:
Keeping an open mind is best, esp. when it comes to nutrition, thorspippi. (Sorry I misspelled your name earlier.) And it's good that you now have access to more/alternative information with which to make your own decision.
I learned a lot about the paleolithic diet a few years ago when I was (ironically) on a raw foods program. I was also impressed by Sally Fallon's book "Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats". She really explodes the myths about low (saturated) fat diets being healthiest for humans.
Ah yes, the AHA is still giving out bad advice. They should be busy trying to spread the word that the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs that they've endorsed can actually kill people by depleting their CoQ10 reserves & that the drug manufacturers knew this & covered it up but then decided to patent a drug that included a supplement instead of alerting the public & then....well, you get the point. It's a familiar theme & I need not go on.
So I'll continue to ignore them & anyone else who creates a culture of fear around food & wellness. And I'll keep cooking with coconut oil & I'll keep making soups with coconut milk(cream) and I'll keep eating good butter. And I'll keep enjoying a blessedly healthy cholesterol level/ratio (which, I might add, was NOT a genetic inheritance).
And of course I have to thank my stubbornly iconoclastic, inquisitive-minded, health nut parents for embarassing me by raising chickens in the suburbs & other such antics in their determination to feed me well, lol.
PS/I've included a link with a sound bite interview of Sally Fallon by that aforementioned Dr. (some would say quack) Mercola. If you scroll to the end of the article, there's a link discussing the dangers of canola oil.
Here is a link that might be useful: Don't Be Afraid of Saturated Fats
(Sorry I misspelled your name earlier.)
errrrrrr... I hadn't noticed. :-)
My main proof is that I was able to lower my bad lipids by about 13% in 5 months. By nearly eliminating carbs. (no more than 20 gm/day). And I paid no attention to the saturation of any fats I ate.
So that threw everything I'd been taught into the air. No conventional wisdom could be believed anymore.
And I get so angry that they keep changing their minds about each food item that I can't believe any of them anymore.
So I just have to try to understand anatomy and do what seems to really *make sense* and what makes my body respond well.
That book looks interesting.
There was never any real evidence that low fat diets are good for you and yet the medical people are still hyping it up. Your body needs fats. I personally like Dr. Mercola and his opinions. I also can't believe that people would actually eat margarine which I refer to as "plastic butter". natural, antibiotic free and hormone and pesticide free foods seem to be the best alternative. The garbage that the FDA allows in your food makes me laugh when it "warns" someone that they are making faulty claims about flouride and vaccinations which claims are probably true.
For perspective, check out how life expectancy has changed in the United States.
At the turn of the century - that golden age when butter and high-fat milk were a routine part of our diets, and patent medicine and herbals were much of what we depended on to treat disease, a newborn could expect to live for about 50 years.
Today, life expectancy is in the upper 70s, and has increased by more than two years in just the last decade or so.
Death rates from heart disease and stroke have each dropped by about one-third since 1980, corresponding with increased awareness about the dangers of high-fat diets, the need for exercise, and the availability of statin drugs.
There are things to be nostalgic about concerning our parents and grandparents' days - but unrestrained saturated fat consumption should not be one of them.
Like I said, I won't debate it. I simply go by what my own body and the blood tests tell me. I suggest that each person do his or her own homework (and not swallowing whole what the establishment says--and changes their minds back-and-forth about) and decide for themselves.
And I hope that no others have the same wake-up call that I did.
For the first time in two centuries, the current generation of children in America may have shorter life expectancies than their parents, according to a new report, which contends that the rapid rise in childhood obesity, if left unchecked, could shorten life spans by as much as five years. -- Pam Belluk, The New York Times , March 17, 2005
''[T]his generation of children could be the first basically in the history of the United States to live less healthful and shorter lives than their parents...'' -- Dr. David S. Ludwig, Children's Hospital (Boston, MA)
Read the recent New York Times article I've linked below.
Certainly brings into question the issue of improved longevity for Americans, doesn't it.
Here is a link that might be useful: Children's Life Expectancy Being Cut Short
Far from "life expectancy being cut short", what that link refers to is speculation that life spans might be reduced in the future due to obesity. From the same article:
An editorial in the same issue of The New England Journal, written by Dr. Samuel H. Preston, a demographer at the University of Pennsylvania, raises similar questions. It suggests that the predictions of decreased life expectancy might be ''excessively gloomy,'' given potential advances in medicine and genetic engineering, and the reduction of harmful behaviors like smoking."
While some harmful effects of obesity (and especially morbid obesity) are undeniable, it is also true that there is considerable debate over just how bad obesity is. For example, the CDC recently dramatically scaled down its estimate of the number of deaths due to obesity; it is even being suggested (not proven) that there might be a survival advantage to moderate obesity.
"Certainly brings into question the issue of improved longevity for Americans, doesn't it."
No, it does nothing to contradict the demographic evidence that life spans have been steadily rising over a long period, during which nutrition and medical science have made great strides. And it does not refute the evidence that deaths from cardiovascular disease have been markedly reduced in recent years, coinciding with promotion of healthier lifestyles including diet and drugs to lower cholesterol and lipid levels. And it certainly does not suggest that it is a good thing to cook with coconut oil, thereby raising one's intake of saturated fats.
Further question: If one grants that increases in childhood obesity are likely to result in shorter life spans in the future, the best course of action now would be to:
a) Encourage our children to be more physically active and consume less food, or
b) Have them eat more saturated fats.
it has to be either/or?
My grandparents put cream on *everything* or else gravy with whatever fat was in the pan.
They didn't buy milk They bought cream.
They also ate *lots* of veggies and delighted in crispy fried pork fat and bone marrow and giblets and trout and....
Grandfather smoked until his mid-80s.
They were all active but not athletes.
None were overweight either.
They died in their 90's.
It doesn't necessarily have to be either/or.
We know where these rationalizations for risky behavior lead.
At a minimum we should give our children the opportunity to start with healthy lifestyles. It would also help to set a corresponding example for them.
For a real perspective, check out how iatrogenic deaths have increased (i.e., deaths accidentally caused by doctors).
It would be interesting to see a clinical study comparing large numbers of Americans eating typical diets, with one group using coconut oil for cooking and the other using typical vegetable oils.color>
Oh yes! Let's compare Americans who eat white flour, white sugar, white rice, and factory farmed dairy & meat of questionable quality with Americans who eat the same crap but with coconut oil. Then if they don't use hydrogenated or rancid coconut oil (remember the studies of rancid betacarotene supplements??) and the studies show marginal improvement in the coconut oil group, then the medical experts will say the improvement is only marginal so take drug X instead for a better outcome. (Grrrr.)
Overrefined, overprocessed, enzymatically dead foods CANNOT produce good health, which also means that even if, as Eric suggests, we "[e]ncourage our children to be more physically active and consume less food," we'll still be encouraging them to eat crap, just less of it.
Research can cut both ways, and one can compile a list of papers with preliminary or marginal applications to human health, while ignoring research that is not favorable.... color>
Yes, we've learned this much on the Herbalism Forum: anyone can whip up a link with an article that supports their own point of view. But since Eric has been known to bash animal studies as not comparable to human ones I'm surprised to see him post this one about rats.
The garbage that the FDA allows in your food makes me laugh when it "warns" someone that they are making faulty claims about flouride and vaccinations....color>
Or coconut oil. Amen, kfgesq!
To a large extent, conventional medicinie has been reduced to pill-pushing. I choose to trust the good sense of traditional approaches to wellness used by my parents & grandparents & their parents & grandparents. Report me to the FDA.
"Oh yes! Let's compare Americans who eat white flour, white sugar, white rice, and factory farmed dairy & meat of questionable quality with Americans who eat the same crap but with coconut oil."
If the idea of comparing the typical American diet with or without use of coconut oil in cooking is repugnant - the alternative would be to compare modest calorie, balanced diets including plenty of fruits and vegetables (as recommended by nutritionists, physicians and dieticians) with or without coconut oil. The tropical oil trade associations and supplement sellers like Dr. Mercola could devote a small fraction of their income towards such a useful study.
Or they could continue to promote their products with undocumented claims.
I'd be happy to cite a relevant study in humans instead of rats. Except there aren't any. If "anyone" can produce this sort of clinical evidence, where is it?
I agree that we could be eating more nutritionally complete meals that would be better for us, with less fat, salt etc.
Isn't it odd though, that with all the "white flour, white sugar, white rice, and factory farmed dairy & meat of questionable quality" that we consume (plus being subjected to the eeeevils of Western medicine), we still live much longer, healthier lives than people in tropical nations who consume high-fat coconut oil and eat "natural", unprocessed foods?
I'm glad Eric_Oh has revised his initial suggestion to study "Americans eating typical diets" -- we've all already been guinea pigs to that experiment for a few decades now.
"...supplement sellers like Dr. Mercola could devote a small fraction of their income towards [ ] a useful study" -- Eric_Oh
Yeah, as soon as conventional physicians devote "a small fraction of their income towards [ ] a useful study" of the drugs they most often push, er, prescribe, lol.
Isn't it odd though, that...we still live much longer, healthier lives than people in tropical nations who consume high-fat coconut oil and eat "natural", unprocessed foods? -- Eric_Oh
No, reasonable peope don't find it odd. Unless, of course, you are ignoring
lack of potable water
political violence; terrorism; armed conflict; military regimes; unchecked drug trafficking
violence against women & childen; refugeeism
drought; floods; hurricanes; earthquakes; volcanoes; tsunamis; environmental degradation
destruction of traditional ways of living
and so on, and so on.
I suspect those factors would cut short American lives too.
I'd be happy to cite a relevant study in humans instead of rats. Except there aren't any. -- Eric_Oh
I think it's rather arrogant to believe that because one cannot find studies on a particular topic that those studies don't exist. But so far, I haven't seen any reports of mass numbers of Third World peoples keeling over dead of heart attacks from eat too much coconut oil. I have, however, seen reports of sudden surges in cardivascular disease among certain Third World populations which could be attributed to consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oil. Corn oil & partially hydrogenated soybean oil became widely used in the Caribbean & Latin America after the tropical oils propaganda killed market demand for those oils & decimated those local industries.
For those interested, I've also attached a link about traditional Thai diet & the consumption of coconuts etc.
Here is a link that might be useful: Thailand - the land of coconut
I didn't "revise" my recommendation for a study of diets involving coconut oil. It was a suggestion that since you expect a study involving typical American diets to show no benefit for coconut oil, why not have a study involving a more nutritionally complete diet (unless coconut oil's supporters expect that will cast the product in a bad light too).
Unlike supplement sellers such as Dr. Mercola, physicians do not sell prescription drugs. The pharmaceutical companies that do sell drugs devote a far higher percentage of profits towards research than supplement manufacturers.
Regarding Third World comparisons, if one is going to claim fabulous nutritional benefits for diets in those countries, one would be expected to show corresponding health benefits (the onus is on those making the claims to support such theories).
As to benefits of low-fat diets, we've already seen indications that consuming less fat in teenage years may be protective against breast cancer. Here's news of a reduction in the risk of breast cancer relapse in postmenopausal women eating low-fat diets.
Bad news for the high-fat tropical oils industry and its promoters - good news for cancer patients.
Is all this growling the result of being on a "paleolithic" diet? ;)
I have read an interesting book lately called "Know Your Fats" by Mary G. Enig, PhD. Her bio is as follows:
"Dr. Mary G. Enig, a nutritionist/biochemist of international renown for her research on the nutritional aspects of fats and oils, is a consultant, clinician, and the Director of the Nutritional Sciences Division of Enig Associates, Inc., Silver Spring, Maryland. Dr. Enig, a consultant on nutrition to individuals, industry, and state and federal governments, is a licensed practitioner in Maryland and the District of Columbia. She has served as a Contributing Editor of the scientific journal Clinical Nutrition and a Consulting Editor of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Dr. Enig has authored numerous journal publications, mainly on fats and oils research and nutrient/drug interactions, and is a well-known invited lecturer at scientific meetings and a popular interviewee on TV and radio shows about nutrition. She was an early and articulate critic of the use of trans fatty acids and advocated their inclusion in nutritional labeling; the scientific mainstream is now challenging the food product industry's use of trans-containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. She received her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is a Fellow of The American College of Nutrition, a member of The American Society for Nutritional Sciences, and President of the Maryland Nutritionists Association."
She explains about the medium chain fatty acids (e.g. lauric and palmitic acid). They metabolize differently than the long chain saturated fatty acids. She also does a great job of explaining the chemistry of fats and what exactly are triglycerides. She does take a position against trans-fatty acids, but in general is not reactionary in her statements.
I have found Dr. Mercola to be alarmist at times when he has written about the dangers of drinking tea. (Yes, just when you thought it was safe to dunk the tea bag in water.) When I checked the journals quoted, the fears were not well related to the way I drink Chinese tea. So I have to have suspicion around his other warnings. Of course, I am biased because I love tea.
Dr. Enig proposes avoiding all trans-fatty acids in the diet and suggests a variety of oils as sources of energy for us. I remember that we derive about 65% of the energy for our heart from lipid metabolism, that we need long-chain fats for our brains to work right, and that many hormones are based in fat structures like cholesterol. So I think that my recent adoption of coconut oil and red palm oil into my diet is a reasonable change. I still get some other oils in the processed foods that I get.
It is wise to be skeptical of those who sell products when they make health claims. They tell their story. Hopefully they also tell the truth as they see it. We must be also aware that Big Agriculture has an economic interest in the news that we read and has funded studies...
I DO suspect a study using coconut oil with a SAD diet (i.e., Standard American Diet) might show coconut oil's benefits. But, that's just my opinion, based on my experience & observations - not the requisite multi-center double-blind placebo-controlled study, lol.
Unlike supplement sellers such as Dr. Mercola, physicians do not sell prescription drugs. -- Eric_Oh
Oh, that's right. Doctors don't directly sell drugs. They just provide prescriptions -- the little slips of paper without which one cannot legally procure drugs. Right-o.
I am claiming "fabulous nutritional benefits" for whole foods, nutrient dense diets - including those that traditionally use coconut oil.
Which brings to mind: It is a common mistake in discussions abou traditional diets to overlook Europe's contributions. I've attached a relevant link by my favorite 'fat' scientist Mary Enig & author Sally Fallon.
Regarding Third World comparisons, if one is going to claim fabulous nutritional benefits for diets in those countries, one would be expected to show corresponding health benefits -- Eric_Oh
Good thing I don't feel obligated to meet Eric's personal standard of evidence.
By the way, I myself eat a vegetarian diet, Eric. Grrrr.
Here is a link that might be useful: Merrie Olde England
That's the same Dr. Enig who is featured on coconutoil.com (the commercial site linked above).
The scientific mainstream has not determined that high-fat tropical oils should be incorporated into our diet. The evidence to date is that a diet high in saturated fats is linked to an unacceptable cardiovascular disease risk, and as noted may predispose to cancers.
Here's the abstract of the study indicating that a low-fat diet is protective against breast cancer recurrence.
I can't see how advising patients to restrict their dietary fat intake benefits sales of any cooking fats or oils, but perhaps Richard can explain his suspicion that Big Agriculture is plotting to make us healthier.
Any evidence that tropical oils are necessary to get "our brains to work right" would also be appreciated.
I probably don't have the mental power to connect the dots between the recent reports on low fat diets and breast cancer recurrence with the influence and funding of Big Ag. I have a reasonable skepticism of claims made by sellers of products. I was just pointing out that both sides, coconut oil sellers and corn oil sellers must have the facts checked.
I still find the chemical explanation that Dr. Enig wrote about fats is helpful to all who wish to speak with understanding about fats. Those who like margarine and those who like butter will both benefit from reading her book.
I saw one comment about the details of the study of dietary fat and recurrence of breast cancer. It pointed out the the lower fat group at 20% dietary fat lost more weight than the other group. So the actual weight carried may be a factor instead. The other possibility is that since some breast cancers are hormone driven, the lower fat available would mean a limiting of cholesterol, the precursor for hormones. So the fat could be showing up there.
Dr. Enig talks about the number of carbons in fats. She points out that the 22 carbon length DHA is commonly used in the brain. I saw this paragraph in the introduction to a clinical trial being conducted.
"This study will examine the use of positron emission tomography (PET) for measuring docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) absorption from the blood into the brain. DHA is a type of fatty acid found in fish and other seafood. It is involved in brain cell activity that underlies the ability to think, move, and respond to the outside world. When the amount of DHA in the brain is low, the brain may not work the same as if there were a normal amount of DHA."
I will post the link so you can check my facts.
Here is a link that might be useful: Cinical trial link for DHA study
Before anyone gets too wound up "connecting the dots", Michael Moore style, they should check out yesterday's N.Y. Times story on the low-fat breast cancer reduction study. The sample low-fat diet supplied to the Times (about 33 grams of fat per day) includes no soy or corn-based cooking oils. The only such oil mentioned was olive oil (used to prepare a fish entree for dinner) - a grand total of a teaspoon's worth. Small quantities of butter were also specified, but no margarine. So I think you can dispense with the hints about a Big Agriculture quid pro quo for this study, unless you can provide facts to back them up.
The dietary fat-breast cancer link is still being studied, but the new evidence goes along with that seen in another recent study involving female teenagers on low-fat diets and corresponding lower estrogen levels, which are thought to confer less risk of developing breast cancer.
Richard's link talks about a study in progress to look at fatty acid levels in the brain which will check on whether people with certain restricted diets (notably a diet without seafood) have different brain function. The study has not been completed, no findings have been issued, and its existence in no way validates the idea that one should consume tropicals oils in order for the brain to "work right".
Incidentally, "personal standards of evidence" are what lead to bogus health recommendations and faulty science. Trying to sort through all the claims, testimonials and personal biases that come up in discussions of this sort are futile - without solid independent evidence obtained through clinical trials.
For clarity's sake:
Coconut oil can be part of a low-fat diet. It contains the same number of calories as other oils. And as Eric pointed out earlier it might be metabolized differently in the body from other oils high in saturated fat and thus not pose a similar risk.
It is also more stable during cooking than both butter & olive oil.
But for salad dressings, I find it pretty nasty. Instead, I use cold-pressed flaxseed, walnut or olive oil.
The complete quote:
"Coconut oil is very high in saturated fat.
There's some dispute about whether it might be metabolized differently in the body from other oils high in saturated fat and thus not pose a similar risk. But the jury is still out on this.
The American Heart Association recommends against use of "tropical oils" (including coconut oil) in cooking because of the risk of raising cholesterol levels and promoting heart disease."
If one is on a pure vegetarian diet, using a low amount of coconut oil might not pose a significant cardiovascular risk. For the rest of us, who often consume excess calories and fat, adding high saturated fat tropical oils which have not been shown to justify the myriad health claims made for them, would be considered an unjustifiable risk by the vast majority of health/nutrition professionals.
Point of clarification --
Vegetarian does not equal low fat. Case in point: pizza, french fries, ice cream.
And most traditional cultures which regularly consume coconut oil are NOT vegetarian, so any protection conferred by a "pure vegetarian diet" (whatever that is) doesn't apply to those cultures.
And let's consider the French -- (potatoes cooked in duck fat or goose liver pate, anyone?) -- who are certainly not vegetarians in large numbers, but enjoy better cardiovascular health across the board than Americans(though childhood obesity is now on the rise due to other cultural influences).
Dr. Andrew Weil - a Harvard-trained complementary physician (& rather conservative, in my opinion) -- gives the proven good & suspected bad about coconut oil in a nutshell (ha ha!), but he's not encouraging it's use "until we have more and better evidence." Meaning we have to wait until someone with deep pockets funds enough serious research to satisfy mainstream medicine.
In the interim, I, for one will NOT be eating margarine.
Here is a link that might be useful: Dr. Andrew Weil on Coconut Oil
Oh, and Dr. Weil recommends butter over margarine.
Here is a link that might be useful: Butter vs Margarine
Dr. Weil appears to be unaware of the existence of margarines that are lower in trans-fatty acids and thus safer to eat. The American Heart Association, as noted in the link above, has a three-fold recommendation, including using unhydrogenated oils such as canola or olive oil, eating processed foods made with such unhydrogenated oils, and choosing soft (i.e. tub) margarine over butter.
I applaud bushpoet for being willing to share opposing views (Dr. Weil being in the mainstream as far as warning about the dangers of high fat diets, as well as saying this about coconut oil):
"...for now, we don't have any evidence suggesting that coconut oil is better for you than other saturated fats. The benefits of coconut oil in the diet, if any, are likely to be minimal, and until we have more and better evidence about coconut oil's effect of metabolism and potential role in promoting weight loss, I do not recommend using it."
I also agree that if supplement companies and the tropical oils industry would cough up a few bucks for meaningful research on their products, consumers would benefit.
By the way, I hadn't considered strict vegetarians as likely to gorge on pizza and ice cream, but I guess there are all kinds out there.
Strict vegetarians? Do you mean vegans??? Vegetarians just don't eat meat.......vegans don't eat anything produced by animals...period.
So, Eric, since you don't accept foundational statements made in a US government web site, (e.g. "When the amount of DHA in the brain is low, the brain may not work the same as if there were a normal amount of DHA.") what, in your opinion, is the composition of the brain, with the exception of water, and what are the roles of fats, if any, in brain function? Which fats naturally are found in the brain? How do you deny the existence of DHA? Do you deny its role in the brain? Are you now or have you ever been a communist? (Oops, wrong decade! sorry.)
I know that the fats could not have arrived there by ordinary means, such as dietary consumption, so how do we have such a lot of brain content with such a tiny zygote to start with? Spontaneous generation?
Also, instead of just quoting the American Heart Association, which is not a peer-reviewed journal, why don't you give us citations of actual scientific studies that support your views? And since when is the New York Times a peer-reviewed source? Where is your standard of evidence? Are the New York Times writers holders of advanced degrees within the areas of their writing? How much of an original research budget does the New York Times have for scientific investigation? Shouldn't they cough up a few bucks for meaningful research? Imagine how they might misuse all that money from subscriptions and advertising to just advance themselves in the world, buying Chinese made clothing, SUVs, and fast food!
By the way, the role of Big Ag in funding research and influencing recommendations happened last century if, indeed, it happened. Look for the dates on the changes that were made in dietary recommendations on diets for the clues as to when the alleged activities might have occurred.
Archer Daniels Midland is actually a diocese in the Episcopal Church, is it not?
And please, I beg of you, stay away from Cod Liver Oil, especially if you think you might be deficient in DHA.
Seriously, however, I have seen your flower photographs on your homepage and they are exquisite. You have a real talent for gardening. Thanks for making your corner of the world so pretty.
"And please, I beg of you, stay away from Cod Liver Oil, especially if you think you might be deficient in DHA."
You posted a link to an NIH page describing the existence of a study to look at whether or not a diet deficient in fish and other seafood could lower levels of a certain fatty acid in the brain and possibly affect brain function.
How you get from that point to the conclusion that coconut oil should be consumed to make sure our brains "work right" is a mystery. Maybe we should wait for the actual results of the study? Or if it shows a significant change in brain fatty acids which is confirmed by other researchers, and makes a real difference in brain function, maybe we should just eat an adequate amount of fish in our diet (instead of high-fat coconut oil)??
As far as actual scientific studies, I posted links to at least two of them, one presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting (on low-fat diet and reduced breast cancer recurrence). I also referred to the N.Y. Times coverage of the study because it printed a sample low-fat diet.
If you have any revelations for us on the Big Ag conspiracy to make us eat a healthy diet, please provide specifics.
Thanks for the comments on my garden website.
Here's a little more on the marketing of "Organic Virgin Coconut Oil", good for pretty much anything that ails you (AIDS, Candida, low thyroid function, inflammatory bowel disease, etc. etc. ;)
maybe we should just eat an adequate amount of fish in our diet (instead of high-fat coconut oil)?? -- Eric Oh
I believe coconut oil is a safer source of good fats than fish - unless you are comfortable eating a bit of mercury & other toxic heavy metals along with your fish dinner.
Both the FDA & EPA advises limiting consumption of many fish & shellfish in order to avoid damage to the brain & nervous system.
Here is a link that might be useful: What You Need to Know about Mercury in Fish and Shellfish
This misses the point.
The ongoing study Richard cited is looking at whether a certain type of fatty acid which may be necessary for optimal brain function is decreased in people who eat a diet lacking in fish. Nothing is said about coconut oil.
The EPA link recommends that women and children eat fish:
"Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet. Fish and shellfish contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to heart health and children's proper growth and development. So, women and young children in particular should include fish or shellfish in their diets due to the many nutritional benefits."
The EPA recommends that women who may become pregnant and young children avoid a few kinds of fish (including shark, swordfish and tilefish) because they contain more than the trace amounts present in other fish, but continue eating other fish for their health benefits:
"Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.
* Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish."
Again, nothing is said about coconut oil being an acceptable substitute for fish (and due to coconut oil's high saturated fat content and lack of demonstrated health benefits, reputable health sources will not make such claims).
I hope that Eric may find some help in understanding what I say. Obviously, he has not understood it so far. So I will try one more time.
This is what I said about fats and the brain. "Dr. Enig proposes avoiding all trans-fatty acids in the diet and suggests a variety of oils as sources of energy for us. I remember that we derive about 65% of the energy for our heart from lipid metabolism, that we need long-chain fats for our brains to work right, and that many hormones are based in fat structures like cholesterol."
So what I said was, "we need long-chain fats for our brains to work right." DHA is a 22 carbon long chain fat, unless Eric thinks it is not.
We may be able to access this fat in our diets from some source to be determined, unless Eric questions this.
If we cannot access it from our diets, if it exists in our brains, then it must have either spontaneously generated or it must have been injected, unless Eric has another suggestion or disagrees.
Some of us poor souls are misguided into thinking that we might obtain a reasonable source for DHA in cod liver oil, unless Eric disagrees.
We might also gain access to DHA from eating fatty fish. I like to eat salmon and tuna. I am not so fond of mackerel.
Some ocean fish, particularly from the Atlantic, have mercury levels that are high, unless Eric disagrees.
Some of us buy wild Alaskan salmon to eat. Others might be tempted to take supplements. We still have a free choice, until DSHEA law is revised or the FDA regulates them.
I still am waiting for Eric to say whether the DHA in the brain came by mouth or by some other means. And if he believes that it has any role in brain function or is simply there for some other reason.
When I make a statement about anything, Eric has the right and the responsibility to attack it. So I tried to help him consider a fact about fats. This fact was quoted from the foundational material presented in a paper about a clinical trial of DHA consumption. When scientific papers are written, it is customary to introduce a topic by presenting facts that are known to the author in order to set the context for the study. The quote was this, "When the amount of DHA in the brain is low, the brain may not work the same as if there were a normal amount of DHA."
Now this is not a question. It is a declaratory statement. It is not given as the thesis to be proven or disproven. It does not say that diet may increase or decrease the amount of DHA, it merely states that the brain may not work the same if the DHA is low. I know that Eric wishes to disagree with the author of this sentence and with me. It is his right to do so. but he cannot deny that the author intended to support the role of DHA in brain function.
Eric, you neglected to answer my question about DHA and brain function. What is its role in your opinion? We are waiting.
I am tempted to start a thread about the color of grass. But I cannot risk being...
So what I said was, "we need long-chain fats for our brains to work right...We may be able to access this fat in our diets from some source to be determined...
If we cannot access it from our diets, if it exists in our brains, then it must have either spontaneously generated or it must have been injected..."
I reread that proposal for the research study you linked to. I still don't see anything stating that fatty acids necessary for good brain function are lacking in the typical diet. There is also nothing to suggest that coconut oil is a good source for helpful long-chain fatty acids, that these acids won't be broken down by our digestive tract and be useless, or that other, more healthy sources of such fats are readily available (i.e. fish).
Your own source says that DHA (one kind of fatty acid) may be important in brain function. The very scientists studying this obviously don't know, so why should any of us be jumping on the bandwagon?
If the answers are as obvious as grass being green, then it should be easy for you to provide them.
No one missed the point here, though Eric, as usual is belaboring his. Coconut oil is safe to eat & has demonstrated some nutritional benefits, but no deep pockets have funded large comprehensive studies which meet mainstream criteria. Beyond that, this thread - as is often the case when Eric is involved - has degenerated into blah, blah, blah, blah...
But in any event, Eric, how about a more complete quote (since you seem to like them long - except when they contradict your point):
However, nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury. For most people, the risk from mercury by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern. Yet, some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child's developing nervous system. The risks from mercury in fish and shellfish depend on the amount of fish and shellfish eaten and the levels of mercury in the fish and shellfish. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are advising women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid some types of fish and eat fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.
Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.
And wink, wink - coconut oil has not been shown to contain mercury or other heavy metals.
I mentioned some of the types of fish which the EPA does not recommend for pregnant women and children. The remainder of the quotes I supplied reflect the overall thrust of the linked article, which is to recommend that Americans eat fish for its demonstrated health benefits.
If studies like the one mentioned by Richard eventually demonstrate that diets low in fish and seafood hamper brain function, there likely would be recommendations to consume adequate amounts of fish.
In review: No clinical studies have been done in American/Western populations to show that coconut oil has significant health benefits, or that any benefits would outweigh the risk of consuming the high levels of saturated fats in coconut oil.
Reputable dieticians, health practitioners and organizations such as the American Heart Association currently recommend against using high-fat tropical oils such as coconut oil.
Even non-mainstream sources like Dr. Weil are highly skeptical about coconut oil.
On the other hand, we have Dr. Enig, the tropical oil industry and some Internet supplement sellers, fringe advocates and true believers making undocumented claims for coconut oil, like the snake oil "good for what ails you" claims listed in the FDA warning to the "Virgin Coconut Oil" seller.
As always, it's up to us to make wise choices that affect our health and pocketbooks.
Did you forget about the role of DHA in brain function? Why did you not answer my questions?
1) Do you believe that DHA, a long-chain fatty acid, is in the brain?
2) Do you believe that DHA has a function in the brain?
3) Do you believe that an adequate supply of DHA is necessary for our brains to work right?
I am still waiting for your answer.
Richard - there have been many marginally relevant and completely unrelated topics introduced into this discussion (the supposed evils of statin drugs, antibiotic and hormone levels in the food supply, paleolithic diets, possible changes in life expectancy, Big Agriculture conspiracies etc.).
These digressions mostly seem designed to focus attention away from the fact that there is no good evidence to show that cooking with coconut oil is healthy and safe (and after all, that is the topic that's supposed to be under discussion).
As for DHA, you mentioned it in reference to a link about an ongoing research study. My comments were as follows:
"Richard's link talks about a study in progress to look at fatty acid levels in the brain which will check on whether people with certain restricted diets (notably a diet without seafood) have different brain function. The study has not been completed, no findings have been issued, and its existence in no way validates the idea that one should consume tropicals oils in order for the brain to "work right".
Instead of responding to this, you are demanding conclusions about the role of DHA in the body, something even the scientists conducting the study are unsure of, and a topic with no demonstrated relevance to the myriad health claims made for coconut oil. Explain to us how this relates to consuming coconut oil and there might be a basis for further discussion.
I am surprised that you refuse to answer my questions. When I suggested that saturated fats, such as long chain DHA, had a value to help our brains work right, you were very eager to attack my comments and make mockery of what I said. Do you lack the ability to follow through on your criticism? Someone with your place in this world can certainly help us poor folks who don't understand something so simple as the role of fats in the function of the brain.
My sentence had a purpose, one of sharing what I know about the use of fats in our diets. I did not say that I thought a high fat diet was great for Americans, or that Dr. Enig was just next to Moses in authority (although I did suggest her book for the purpose of educating myself and others about the knowledge of fats.) I did actually criticize Dr. Mercola, although I am sure that he does make a positive contribution to many Americans' lives through his work.
Instead of nitpicking my sentence, you could have brought forward some more truth or in some way enlightened us. You have superior intelligence. Why not work on the skills of pointing to truth without kicking those below you?
My feeble attempt was this:
"I remember that we derive about 65% of the energy for our heart from lipid metabolism, that we need long-chain fats for our brains to work right, and that many hormones are based in fat structures like cholesterol."
You countered with this:
"Any evidence that tropical oils are necessary to get "our brains to work right" would also be appreciated."
What I see is that you might have confused the medium chain fatty acids in tropical oils with the long chain fatty acids that I was referencing. I know this is impossible because of your excellent eductational background and your place in this world, but for some lesser souls, the book by Dr. Enig might actually help those like me who needed the explanation of the differences in fats. So my recommendation for reading the book stands.
Perhaps I have led you astray in my recommendation of a resource. You might have the need to win. If you want to stay on topic, it might help you to avoid worrying about the specious comments made by the likes of lesser folks like me. That way your dominance of the herbalism threads can be assured. As I see that you benefit by having the last word, I will bid you good-bye for now.
Richard, the oily one. "I never saw a double bond I didn't like."
I'm not sure why you are upset about a simple and civil request for information, namely "Any evidence that tropical oils are necessary to get "our brains to work right" would also be appreciated."
That in no way can be taken as a personal attack, but instead as a request for clarification.
There are those in this forum who see any questioning of the ideas they present as an attack upon them personally (and respond with insults), but I am disappointed to see you taking this tack.
According to what you're now saying, the subject of DHA was in fact a digression from the topic of the safety and purported health benefits of coconut oil. Previously you appeared to be hinting that coconut oil contains a particular fatty acid that may or may not be important for brain function - but now you say that this is not the kind of fatty acid found in coconut oil.
It took awhile to bring this out, but your candor is appreciated.
Earlier in this thread, there was an interesting tangent about childhood obesity & whether the potential risk of shortened life span was exaggerated.
This relevant quote caught my eye from the attached article:
"We are often accused of exaggerating the estimates, but whenever we do get the actual figures, they turn out to be worse than we expected," said Dr. Philip James, chairman of the obesity task force."
Here is a link that might be useful: Children Suffer Middle Age Health Woes
"Tu Quoque is a very common fallacy in which one attempts to defend oneself or another from criticism by turning the critique back against the accuser. This is a classic Red Herring since whether the accuser is guilty of the same, or a similar, wrong is irrelevant to the truth of the original charge. However, as a diversionary tactic, Tu Quoque can be very effective, since the accuser is put on the defensive, and frequently feels compelled to defend against the accusation."
Arguing that white flour is bad, or that children are too obese, or that doctors unfairly benefit from being able to write prescriptions, or that lifespans may decrease in the future are eexamples of this diversionary tactic. They are not relevant as to whether or not it is advisable to consume coconut oil.
Here is a link that might be useful: tu quoque
I think that we should just do our best... you know, my mother is a hippie food nazi... when I was a kid, in the 60's and 70's, my cookies could double as hockey pucks...they were so healthy. I wouldn't use coconut oil all the time, but hey, moderation is everything... and in my opinion, if you are like my hippie mother and are so NAZI about everything, just the stress will kill you.
I buy organic, as much as I can, because I don't want to be poisoned with hormones and chemicals, but I think that too much food nazi-ism is as bad as just eating Kraft.
I think that this thread has gone as far as it should. Doncha think?
To me, the obesity problem in America is HUGE, but I think everyone knows I think that by now...
MODERATION IS KEY.... in EVERYTHING.
I agree that what you eat is only part of a healthy lifestyle.
So if a person at risk for cardiovascular disease keeps off excess weight, exercises regularly and maintains blood lipids in the normal range, eating a little food prepared with coconut oil now and then probably won't have much of a negative impact.
The problem is that foods high in saturated fat have a seductive appeal, because they taste good. We seem to be genetically programmed to seek out such foods. The snake-oil claims made for coconut oil suggest that we can have our cake and eat it too - that such a high-fat source is really healthy for us. So someone who already eats a poor diet and has other risk factors hears this siren song and substitutes coconut oil for their usual cooking oil. Now they're liable to wind up at even higher risk for heart attacks and strokes.
So someone who already eats a poor diet and has other risk factors hears this siren song and substitutes coconut oil for their usual cooking oil. Now they're liable to wind up at even higher risk for heart attacks and strokes. -- Eric_Oh
That statement is purely speculation based on assumptions & biases.
Ultimately, the question here is whether coconut oil is a 'good' fat or a 'bad' fat. Since the Western medical establishment has not done significant (unbiased) research, it cannot give an answer based in empirical science. Instead it provides opinions extrapolated from research about other kinds of saturated fats -- this despite recent research showing that coconut oil may be processed differently in the body than animal source saturated fats.
So, technically, until that research is done here in North America, the medical establishment cannot say definitively what benefits, if any, may or may not accrue to someone who already eats a poor diet and has other risk factors and answers the "siren song" of coconut oil as replacement of pesticide- & hormone-laden butter, margarine, or high-heat treated polyunsaturated vegetables oils in their diet.
In other parts of the world & in other medical models, coconut oil's benefits are documented and well-understood.
The burden of proof remains on those making the claims.
Extraordinary claims (for coconut oil) require extraordinary evidence.
Let's see the tropical oils industry pony up some bucks for research.
Interesting discussion. I have just been doing some research on actual medical and scientific studies on coconut oil as I am considering its use in my diet. I found many studies on both animals and humans with inconclusive results. The only definitively positive research I found involved using whole coconut kernel in the human diet. The link I was using is the National Library of Medicine at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/. About an hour on this site and both sides of the debate would find many legitimate studies supporting their opinion.
Personally, nothing I have ever tried has ultimately made a difference in my continuingly difficult health problems except for intense exercise with a trainer. Sigh.
I was at my local herbal product/supplement store today to pick up an item I needed. They had "Organic Virgin Coconut Oil" on display.
According to information on the coconut oil bottle, a single serving (one tablespoon) contains 98 calories, a hefty figure from a dieter's perspective. That one tablespoon has 22% of the daily recommended allowance for total fat, and 64% of the daily limit for saturated fats. The maker recommends taking 4 tablespoons per day.
That's nearly 400 calories, approaches the daily limit for total fat, and is about two and a half times the daily recommended allowance for saturated fats. All from just one product, and not taking into account other sources of fat in the diet.
The price: $13 per pint.
I use organic virgin coconut oil on my skin as a moisturiser and it is HEAVEN, it made my skin feel so smooth and silky. Btw, I am NOT a commercial retailer of coconut oil, I'm just recommending coconut oil as a good moisturiser as it gives the skin an anti-bacterial barrier which may also help heal wounds ( I had a small cut on my hand which got infected so I used coconut oil and it cleared the wound pretty fast!)
I also mixed some coconut oil with organic sea salts and used it to buff my skin before I shower, and the result was wonderful! made my skin glow without using those artificial shimmer creams from beauty salons.
Its important to note that you should only choose certified organic virgin coconut oil because the RBD (refined, bleached and deodorised) coconut oils have been stripped of their beneficial properties and have preservatives added.
Over the years, alot of bad press have been written about coconut oil, but the research done to support that theory is based on hydrogenated coconut oil. Organic virgin coconut oil is different. There are alot of cool skin care recipes online that uses virgin coconut oils that you might wanna check out!
I like to trust traditional oils (VCO) that humans have been using for thousands of years, sesame oil is another good example that you can use.
Lastly, PRICE shouldn't compromise the health of your skin! I'd rather spend more on pure organic skin care than to waste it on mainstream crap. Most of the drug store and supermarket personal care products are loaded with carcinogens and sometimes even the bottle costs more than the ingredients inside! You're just paying for the advertising and packaging!
The price: Your Health
Eyecandy has just registered on the GardenWeb today and has made her debut by hyping a product, "organic virgin coconut oil". It's a pattern we've seen on the herbalism forum before.
Get over yourself ERIC, I am entitled to my opinions and for once, leave people alone. Vaca asked a question and I'm just simply answering it. Get a life for pete's sake, I've never seen anyone so petty who HAS to get the last word on everything. Whatever I'm hyping is non of your business. That post was for vaca, not to debate with you.
Clearly your posting (including snarky concluding remark) was directed at least in part at me.
"Whatever I'm hyping is non of your business."
We see quite a few posters whose primary purpose is to promote a product rather than to help others (some are blatant about endorsements, others more subtle). GW has a policy against this to protect itself and its members. It raises eyebrows when a brand new poster launches into the sort of prose that sounds like it comes straight from a copywriter's pen, i.e.
"it is HEAVEN, it made my skin feel so smooth and silky...I also mixed some coconut oil with organic sea salts and used it to buff my skin before I shower, and the result was wonderful! made my skin glow without using those artificial shimmer creams from beauty salons...
Its important to note that you should only choose certified organic virgin coconut oil because the RBD (refined, bleached and deodorised) coconut oils have been stripped of their beneficial properties and have preservatives added...PRICE shouldn't compromise the health of your skin!""
Cosmetics ("organic virgin" or synthetic) generally have no positive impact on skin health; instead they may improve the appearance of the outer layer of skin, which is made up of dead cells and keratin.
Nicotine patches are not a cosmetic.
Opinions are open to questions and comments in this forum, no matter how "small" the topic. Personal attacks and flaming are not viewed kindly by the management. As someone who's evidently lurked here or had some posting role in the past, you should be aware of this.
I normally prefer to just read forums rather than participate, but I'll make an exception this time.
There are very few unbiased opinions out there. Someday I hope that there is unbiased research that can accurately determine the impact of things like coconut oil and various supplements... but then I hope for world peace too... Research costs money and generally the people paying for the research like to have the results go their way... it sucks, but that is how the world seems to work right now.
Right now we're stuck with companies trying to sell stuff and organizations that may or may not have an unbiased opinion. Granted, organizations like the American Heart Association and the Food and Drug Administration sound big and important... but how unbiased are they really? If you look at the American Heart Assoication's annual report (which is pretty big), you'll see under the list of donations over $1 million a bunch of drug companies who would probably hate to find out natural products are far better than their drugs. Now that doesn't automatically make them biased, but it should make you consider questioning their opinions a little bit. The FDA considers anything that is advertised as having some effect a drug, which is I'm sure why Dr. Mercola got those letters (not because they discovered his claims were completely false)... Technically if I sold water and said it prevents dehydration, makes your digestive system work properly, and cures thirst... the FDA probably could send me a letter too... Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying his claims are true... I'm just saying that just because the FDA isn't happy, doesn't mean they can't possibly be true...
That being said, I've got no proof that coconut oil is good or bad for you. All I can do is read things from both sides, listen to people that have actually used the stuff (like Eyecandy and some others who have posted here), and make your own decision. Personally, I'm thinking about giving it a try myself...
But who knows for sure... maybe the answer is different for everyone... For all I know, some ethnic groups metabolize coconut oil differently... Maybe in some cases it could improve skin health, in some cases it could just improve the outward appearance, and other cases it might not do anything at all...
Anyway, good luck vaca... I hope you find the answer that is right for you...
Not to be redundant, but...
I don't think ignoring a source, be it the FDA, the AMA or your friendly neighborhood herbalist, is ever a good idea. You don't have to agree with everyone (indeed, you can't), but getting all the sides is important. I think it's interesting that people who rely on alternative sources are as likely as people who rely on mainstream sources to be "my way is the only way." While I had hoped, upon moving to a more "alternative/boho" area that people would be more open-minded, I found that neither group is better than the other when it comes to open-mindedness. (I still love my boho neighborhood, I just have learned that people are people everywhere.)
Also, I think it is important to note that causal relationships are more complex than "my grandfather ate x,y and z his whole life and he died at age q." The human body is incredibly complex and nutrition is one of the most difficult things to study and quantify. Although group studies aren't perfect, a controlled study with 1. a significant number of participants 2. controlled variables is more reliable than a theory.
I wish the AMA, CDC, Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, etc. would study more herbal and alternative nutrition sources. It's incredibly expensive to do an adequate study on nutrition and no alternate institutions have the funds to do it. And I do believe that in general, researchers are scientists first who won't skew results for the funders. How unfortunate that we have to rely so often on private (potentially biased) money for research? We could all benefit from solid evidence on more alternative food sources...
As to vaccinations... the risks of the vaccination, if any, are generally significantly lower than the risks associated with contracting the disease the vaccination is for. The chicken pox vaccination I'll probably skip for my kids, but MMR, polio, menengitis (sp?), no way. Especially because as greater numbers of people skip the vaccination, the higher the risk for the entire community that the disease comes back and kills children.
Adnama wonders why respected medical and health institutions don't study more alternative methods.
The National Institutes of Health does in fact have a division specifically created to look at alternative and complementary medicine. More here. And good research is being turned out all the time on alternative methods and supplements, including those with nutritional implications (vitamin E being just one example).
Money is necessary to support all of the people and technology that are necessary for research, and there's a limited amount of it out there. So most of it is used to investigate the most promising and logically based drugs and therapies.
As I've said before, I would like to see the multibillion dollar supplement industry and other trade groups that tout unproven remedies devote a reasonable percentage of their profits to research. I would not automatically dismiss such research on the grounds that it has to be biased because of the source of funding, nor should mainstream drug or nutrition research be discounted because of a funding source. We do need to be aware of the background and quality of research, and in particular that startling and unprecedented results need to be confirmed by others before they are generally accepted.
I am unable to download the linked American Heart Association report (it seems to take forever on my computer) to see its financial statement and list of individual and corporate donors. Since the primary subject of this discussion was nutritional and health aspects of coconut oil and alternatives, I'm not sure of the relevance of any pharmaceutical company contributions.
It's a very common thing in this forum for people to seek out advice on a particular supplement or therapy "from someone who's actually tried it". It's hard to convince them that positive (or negative) testimonials are a poor substitute for careful study, preferably in a controlled research setting.
Of the testimonials that appear in this forum (assuming they come from actual users and not sellers making them up), many are from people who genuinely think a product improved their life. Coincidence (for example, a condition like arthritis or MS that cyclically gets better or worse) accounts for many of these reports, as does placebo effect. Other recommendations that we've seen in the forum come from people involved in multilevel marketing enterprises, who may also strongly believe in the products being sold but are under other pressures as well. From the National Council Against Health Fraud:
"Multilevel companies that sell nutritional products systematically turn their customers into salespeople. 'When you share our products,' says the sales manual of one such company, 'you're not just selling. You're passing on news about products you believe in to people you care about. Make a list of people you know; you'll be surprised how long it will be. This list is your first source of potential customers.' A sales leader...
Another thing I've noticed is a tendency for people to want to say "This food is bad" or "This food is good." From what I've read, too much or too little of any one thing can kill you. Even vitamins and water. So it's probably not a matter of whether something is "good" or "bad," but HOW MUCH. How much coconut oil is benign, how much is beneficial, how much is harmful? Plus what type, what process, incorporating it into what kind of diet, etc. etc....
I could not resist to ask you about the National Council Against Health Fraud. I see that the webmaster is Stephen Barrett, MD. He also operates Quackwatch.com.
I remember him telling how to know if a site was a "Quack." In one of his points he said you could tell it was a quack if it recommended using herbs.
Currrently his site says this,
"The best way to avoid being quacked is to reject quackery's promoters. Each item listed below signifies that a Web site is not a trustworthy information source. The hyperlinks will take you to articles on Quackwatch that explain why.
Any site used to market herbs or dietary supplements. Although some are useful, I do not believe it is possible to sell them profitably without deception, which typically includes: (a) lack of full disclosure of relevant facts, (b) promotion or sale of products that lack a rational use, and/or (c) failure to provide advice indicating who should not use the products. During more than 30 years of watching the health marketplace, I have never encountered a seller who did not do at least one of these three things."
Now he is correct, of course. Don't you agree? I mean if he says it, it must be true.
But what is the scientific basis for this assertion? He does not quote any peer-reviewed journals. So how can someone so tied to evidence as you are send us to read what he wrote? Maybe just a slip?
As I confessed in a previous place on this web, I am a nefarious snake oil salesman. But I find it hard to believe that I am guilty of these three things.
1) Lack of full disclosure
2) Irrational recommendations
3) Lack of appropriate warnings
But, if Dr. Barrett says it, it must be true. After all, you would consult a psychiatrist about your herbs, would you not?
I find it hard to believe you're serious.
1) Lack of full disclosure.
You posted repeatedly in this forum on the supposed wonders of paw paw extracts over a period of months without disclosing that you run a supplement company and have invested in a firm that sells paw paw product(s). It took repeated questions asking you to clarify your status before you made this revelation. To this point you haven't disclosed whether your company sells or has plans to sell paw paw-related drugs. You run a website devoted to proclaiming the medicinal wonders of paw paw. Nowhere on this website do you reveal your commercial connections, which would let visitors know of a potential conflict of interest.
2) Irrational recommendations and 3) Lack of appropriate warnings.
You have been enthusiastically promoting paw paw extracts for anti-cancer therapy in the absence of any published human trials demonstrating that they are effective and sufficiently safe to use. Even though you're quoted elsewhere as saying that you're not a doctor and not qualified to give medical advice, you have stated here that paw paw is fine to take with other chemotherapy agents. This despite lack of evidence demonstrating that paw paw drugs won't interfere with these drugs.
Dr. Barrett's cautions appear to be right on the money.
If you want to start a discussion on the trustworthiness of supplement sellers, or your feelings about quackwatch.org, I suggest you begin a separate thread so this one can continue to be for the discussion of coconut oil.
Why dont you just answer Richards questions instead of attacking him personaly as a smoke screen for your lack of answers to what he just posted about a site you constantly recommend?
And since when does he have to answer to you about what you think is appropriate for this forum.
Maybe if you didnt act like the forum conscience,he would have opened up about who he was earlier.
You are also welcome to start a discussion on the subject of detecting health fraud.
Other possible discussions might center on the ethics of disclosure in publishing research and promoting health products.
Another useful one would be on whether legitimate debate should involve questioning claims and tactics, as opposed to posters' hurling personal insults in order to create a distraction and conceal the absence of ideas.
Did you have anything to add about coconut oil?
Just answer his questions.
The absence of any proves Richard is right in what he says.
"as opposed to posters' hurling personal insults in order to create a distraction and conceal the absence of ideas"
Another smoke screen for having no answers.
This topic and your replies to people reveals your attitude to people and proves my claims,so its not without reason I say them.
Also I have tried Richards snake oil and its as good as coconut oil for the skin !
As Kevin is eager to hear answers to all of Richard's questions, I've started another thread that addresses them.
Eric's other thread actually has some interesting links (thanks)... In fact, the Berkley Wellness Letter had some interesting things to say in its featured article for May 2005 called The End of the Line for Trans Fats. In case anyone has trouble finding it, here's the section that applies to this thread:
Tropical oilsÂthe comeback kids
Tropical oilsÂthe very oils that hydrogenated oils replaced two decades ago because of health concernsÂare re-emerging as well, because they have the same desirable qualities as hydrogenated fats, and theyÂre cheap. These oils, including palm (sometimes called palm fruit oil, from the pulp of the fruit), palm kernel (from the fruitÂs nut), and coconut, were shunned starting in the late 1980s because they are high in saturated fat. But they may not all be as bad as once thought. Palm oil contains a significant proportion of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and other antioxidant compounds, and research now indicates that it behaves like an unsaturated fat in the bodyÂthat is, it may help reduce blood cholesterol levels. In other studies palm oilÂs main fatty acid, palmitic acid, has had no effect on blood cholesterol. Coconut oil may also have a neutral cholesterol effect in most people, and its main fatty acid, lauric acid, may even have some health benefits. This doesnÂt mean these oils get a green light. Their health effects are still debated, and how theyÂre processed may make a difference.
Even less is known about palm kernel oil, which is more saturated than palm oil and contains little monounsaturated fat. Moreover, this oil is often further processed ("fractionated") to remove the liquid portion, leaving behind even more saturated solids. You may have noticed "fractionated palm kernel oil" as an ingredient in several energy bars, where it makes the coatings less likely to melt, and in other reformulated products. It isnÂt known if this processed oil is any better for you than hydrogenated fats.
It looks like there was another article on the subject in their January 2003 letter too. I'm surprised you only brought up the information from the American Heart Association, when you knew about these other sites. BTW, here are the list of sponsors that I mentioned only because you have to wonder (well at least I wonder) how unbiased their research is when they are getting more than a million dollars from a lot of drug companies. Here's the full list of $1,000,000 and above donors:
AHC Food Company
Archer Daniels Midland Company
Averitt Express Chariies
BlueCross of California
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Henrietta B. And FrederickH. Bugher Foundation
Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.
Federated Department Stores (Macy's)
Harriett and Robert Heilbrunn
J.Willard and Alice S. Mariott Foundation
Merck & Company, Inc.
tisk tisk tisk
someone here really has no life of his own, he must check this forum on a daily basis to see if anyone disagrees with him and if they do, he will trash everything anyone says to boost his fragile ego. Truly ignorant of the truth.
And if any posting here has hurt his FEELINGS, he will go report them to GW and the post gets deleted. YES FREE SPEECH MY ***
Its so funny to see this guy get completely worked up over other people's opinions.
Dear Mr KNOW IT ALL ERIC
please tell me what is your experience of using coconut oil? I've used it for over a year now, with no adverse effects on my skin. My dad's a dermatologist and he didn't find anything wrong with what I am using. Are you gonna tell me I am not allowed to recommend something I've used, to other people? I like sharing good products if it has helped me, I'm not even asking vaca to CONSUME coconut oil, I gave ideas on how to use coconut oil on skin.
Have you done any extensive research of your own? If you did you'd be able to answer EVERYONES' questions rather than reading reports from organizations supported by drug companies with biased answers. And what now? You're gonna tell me how wonderful these big drug corporations are? How they LOOK OUT FOR ALL OF US and not their profits?!?! Like the Vioxx drug they produced to help arthritis sufferers become heart attack victims. Geez they really love us don't they?
And remember this?
"Cosmetics ("organic virgin" or synthetic) generally have no positive impact on skin health; instead they may improve the appearance of the outer layer of skin"
Skin isn't a barrier, its an ORGAN, living breathing organ. It can absorb molecules small enough to penetrate the outer layer, why do you think Nicotine patches are used on SKIN? So what if its not a cosmetic!? I'm trying to prove a point because you think that organic or synthetic stuff has no positive (which also means no negative) impact on skin HEALTH, but certain substances CAN because they are so small, like nanotechnology has created a range of skin care that can penetrate the deeper layers, even into your blood stream. What you put on your skin can affect your skin and or your health (Nicotine patches). Even people that work for cosmetic labs that make shampoo must wear protective clothing and gloves because some synthetic ingredients can cause irritation upon contact with skin.
If someone has eczema and find the commercial products are too harsh to use, and use virgin coconut oil (preservative free) instead and find it IMPROVING the appearance of the outer layer of skin and keeps it moisturized, what's wrong with that? Is that SO BAD? If you had one speck of common sense left in you, coconut oil (if people use the organic and virgin ones) is not the worse thing on earth to use on skin. And I have used it, and it DID make my skin smooth and silky, and I have the right to say that because I've used it for a long period and its called a TESTIMONIAL, it doesn't give you any right to criticize my experience as rubbish when you've never used it on your skin.
I agree with you that some like free speach unless its used to disagree with them.
So what if we use something and then we find out later its not everything we hoped.
As long as it hasnt hurt us and we have researched to make sure it wouldnt,then we havnt lost anything.
We have learnt to explore,and thats a life leason Im glad to learn.
But thankfully not all are dependant on "science" for their self approval,and can look at lots of peoples views and learn something.
Imagine if mainstream medicine had its way with regards to herbs etc.
They would be banned(as they have tried in Australia with "supplements"),and all the wonderful knowledge about these herbs would be lost forever.
The trouble with people like eric is that everything they have in life is because they have accepted that"western medicine" is the only way,and everything they have is because of their blind allegience to it.
Their career,their house,their retirement fund,their view of themselves (which is a lot for them to then "betray")all stems from a narrow band of knoweledge that does have a place,but on its own is narrow,and those that soley follow it are just as narrow.
To darth: The Berkeley Wellness article you linked to has the following bottom line recommendation regarding tropical oils (see Trans Tips):
" Limit foods made with tropical oils. Their effects on blood cholesterol are still debatable."
And that just relates to effects on blood lipids. Such oils are also high-calorie, promote obesity and are more expensive than readily available and better characterized alternatives that lower trans-fat exposure.
"...some like free speach unless its used to disagree with them."
"Its so funny to see this (poster) get completely worked up over other people's opinions."
I'm afraid I skipped almost all the posts answering this query. I just couldnt resist adding my own 2 bits and quite possibly stirring things up even more.
I used to live in Kerala , a tiny little state at the southern tip of India. 'Kerala' literally means 'the land of coconuts' and that is exactly what you see everywhere.
We cook almost all our dishes with generous helpings of coconut ( freshly scraped or slivers or fried) .And everything is traditionally cooked in coconut oil.
All our traditional ayurvedic medicines , especially those used for therapeutic and cosmetic massages , use coconut oil as a base. People in Kerala liberally use coconut oil on their hair before shampooing and the girls in Kerala are famous for their great skin and hair.
As for health effects, the people of Kerala traditionally did not have much heart problems . However of late, with changing lifestyles and the introduction of new products, people switched to the so called 'healthier oils' like safflower, groundnut, sunflower, etc.and stopped using coconut oil for cooking For whatever reason, the number of heart ailments has increased now. Confusing? You bet!
Obesity was not an issue because the average Keralite is slim-built.
Many leading cardiologists here who have been involved in a major research programme funded by the Coconut Board here feel that the use of fresh coconut is not harmful. Fried coconut is as to be expected of any fried food, not as healthy as your doctor would like.
"Obesity was not an issue because the average Keralite is slim-built."
This is likely to be important.
If caloric intake is low to begin with, using a high-calorie, high saturated oil like coconut oil will not be as detrimental as if it is used in an obese population that consumes other unhealthy foods (as in the U.S.). I suspect that the "changing lifestyles" Sunita describes are the contributors to heart disease, not the replacement cooking oils.
I'm sure coconut plantations and farms like the one Sunita is associated with will benefit from publicity about coconut oil, but Western consumers need solid science, not hype (maybe the Coconut Board could help fund a study here).
Here's an interesting editorial that recently appeared in the N.Y. Times (free registration may be required to see it). It seems that in looking for alternatives to oils with trans fats, some companies are turning to unhealthy tropical oils (in this case palm oil). The Times mentions a number of healthier alternatives. Coconut oil is not on the list.
Eric, I am NOT associated with any big coconut plantation or coconut farm which could possibly benefit from stray bit of publicity such as this. Ours is a very, very small farm (almost miniscule) and we only sell to the local market. And when I say local, I mean within a 15 - 20 mile radius.
And most of our buyers are pretty conservative, old-fashioned people who have probably never touched a computer in their lives ( I know this may sound amazing to you, but there are places in the world where the computer is not such an integral part of everyday life : ) So I think you owe me an apology about trying to get publicity for my farm.
And please dont put down the observations of leading cardiologists here by just categorising it as 'hype'. Many of them are highly respected in their field not only here in India but also internationally.There are very sincere and conscientious professionals here too,you know.
Or could it be the reference to Ayurvedic medicine that made you think that this was not 'Scientific'. Ayurveda is our traditional form of medicine and is almost 5000 years old. It is extremely effective and gentle on the body. And before you think I'm opposed to the Western form of medicine... I grew up in a family filled with doctors who practised the Allopathic or Western form of medicine ( my grand dad was a Surgeon-General and my father was a paediatric surgeon with an FRCS from Glassgow and Edinborough).However,everyone here has always had an unshakeable respect for Ayurveda.It is not mumbo-jumbo and hocus-pocus you know.
And one more thing, its not just Western consumers who need scientific evidence as you stated. It was that very need that prompted the Coconut Board to initiate this research. After all the other side has to be heard too , right? And who better to ask than the people who have been using coconut oil regularly for so many centuries? And who better to do the asking than the very professionals who take care of their health?
Dont think you have to justify yourself because of one arrogent persons comments.
Not everyone on this forum is rude to people with differant opinions.
I found what you said interesting... and 1000's of years of observation from your country MUST account for something more important than some peoples version of "science".
Hope to hear from you again.
I too welcome your meaningful comments about coconuts, coconut oil, and the whole tradition of Ayurvedic Medicine. In the US, our education about the systems of others is obviously limited. But we do need sincere folks like you to share with us. Hearing a person who lived an experience is always interesting to me. Some others, unfortunately, find the only stories they find credible in selected publications and peer-reviewed journals, unless, of course, something is said that they find unacceptable.
At times, Dr. Eric seems to be in the attack mode. He accurately reflects his opinion and that of a limited number of Eastern Establishment Americans. (Yes, I am biased.) I worked in the Network News field as an artist for a couple years and found the views to be quite provincial. It seemed that the only real research could be done on the Upper West Side of Manhattan or in Boston or Cambridge, MA.
There is a great desire on the parts of some members to make sure that no good information goes unchallenged it seems. But please be aware that many of us are eager to hear you and others. Sometimes we might even dignify the discussion with questions. It is not necessary to answer Dr. Eric when he is naughty. I try to keep him satisfied with my unpopular views. Sometimes he even picks on someone else. Sorry.
I refer Richard the supplement dealer (do you also have a interest in marketing coconut oil?) to statements made earlier about the risks and lack of proven benefits to consuming coconut oil, and encourage him to post links to any clinical studies in humans that he thinks demonstrate benefits.
Do medium chain fatty acids have any value to us in our diets?
Richard, snake oil salesman, not coconut oil salesman
Oh My..... YES I am new here, first time posting etc.
I found this site/forum quite by accident while searching for information about Coconut Oil..... and I have to tell ya that some here would scare people away, whilst others seem friendly and welcoming.
There are always two sides (at least) to every discussion and I have found it best to keep an open mind when the final decision has still not been made.
I have found the work of the Weston A Price Foundation to be extremely reliable - and on the issue of Coconut oil and Palm oil I am biased towards believing their research.
I am also a watcher of Prof Uffe Ravnskov )Cholesterol Skeptics etc) and I find his work and writings very credible.
I say 'G'Day' to you all.... and look forward to perhaps learning from you, discovering with you and sharing any insights etc.....
I think the Maker's Diet supports coconut oil. any comments on this?
According to the National Council Against Health Fraud, the author of this book (Jordan Rubin) is founder of a company that was ordered by the FDA to stop making unsupported claims for "Virgin Coconut Oil".
From the NCAHF site:
"Rubin's credentials have no legitimate academic or professional standing:
His NMD (naturopathic medical doctor) is from the Peoples University of the Americas School of Natural Medicine, a nonaccredited school with no campus.
His Ph.D. is from the Academy of Natural Therapies, a nonaccredited correspondence school that the State of Hawaii ordered to close last year.
His CNC (Certified Nutritional Consultant) comes from the American Association of Nutritional Consultants, whose only requirement for "professional member" status has been payment of a $50 or $60 fee. The CNC requires passage of a test based mainly on the contents of books that promote nutrition quackery."
It might be well to take all this into account when deciding on the value of the book's advice regarding coconut oil.
Wow, these posts are so interesting. I normally am in tomatoes and container gardening but decided to read about planting herbs, then I checked this "medicinal" area. I read Mary Enig's book years ago, used coconut oil for awhile before it became such a big deal. Sometimes I check out these alternative methods in so and so's book....for awhile they sound so informed. But I find that somewhere near the end of these "authoritative" book reccomendations, comes some expensive "must-have-you-can't-get-it-anywhere-else" food or product. In Enig's case, one thing she was insistent on was salt. But not any old salt, not health food store sea-salt, but when I called to inquire of this superior salt, it's price was exhorbitant! Somewhere along the line, common sense should prevail....Are we really ALL deficient because we need to access this special salt that can be obtained from a certain side of certain salt lake? On and on it goes...whether it be a certain coconut oil, sea salt, calcium, you name it, we're always being pushed to believe there is some shangra-la perfect food, perfect supplement, you name it, costing umteen dollars somewhere. Nothing wrong with trying to improve our lives, nothin' wrong with trying to make a few bucks either. Yet, there is too much exaggerating in so many claims...to me, it's a matter of researching and researching and not accepting the first claim as fact when it comes along.
So, I would tend to be in agreement with you, Eric, on so many of your points, I think you're doing a fine job putting forth sound arguments and discouraging a natural human inclination to "jump on the bandwagon."
Best of health to all,
this forum is either very informative or veery confusing.i am an ordinary guy with no medical background and neither selling or promoting coconut who have the fortune of living here in the philippines a tropical country. you talked about coconut and seafoods and its health benefits and from what i read, scientifically, if it is to be trusted. here in my country, we eat alot of coconut products,oil or otherwise and seafoods in a daily basis hundreds of years without worrying about health complications until we are exposed to western diets such as burgers,colas,pizzas and chips to name a few. and if you are talking about life longevity, i can say that people living tropical countries live longer than in say not tropical countries, why? because all the things you people said about a healthy diet is here. we eat lots of vegetables,coconut and seafoods.and i can say in a daily basis. most of my countrymen die in famine,drought,violence and drugs.and i might add western style of diet.
id like to reemphasize and clarify my point, if coconut oil is hazardous to health, since we use coconut oil everyday there would be no filipino left in this country.
by the way, when i was a child in the 80's i have met only few obese children since we don't have Mcdonalds and fastfoods at that time.
i'm talking about coconut oil as a cooking oil not as a cure all.
The average life expectancy in the Philippines is about 8 years less than in the United States. Life expectancies in a number of other nations with tropical climates are lower still. I have not seen any direct comparisons between such countries and the U.S. with regard to heart disease.
Deaths in the U.S. due to cardiovascular disease dropped by 56% between 1950 and the late 1990s, according to the CDC. Among the factors they cite for this decline are reductions in the fat content of the American diet:
Data based on surveys of food supply suggest that consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol has decreased since 1909 (15). Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys suggest that decreases in the percentage of calories from dietary fat and the levels of dietary cholesterol coincide with decreases in blood cholesterol levels."
It would not be surprising if people in some nations with lower total consumption of calories and greater intake of fruits and vegetables had less cardiovascular disease compared to the average U.S. resident, even if they used a cooking oil higher in fat (other factors including exercise and genetics might play a role as well). This does not mean that it would be a good idea for sedentary Americans who often eat too much to start using coconut oil in cooking. In fact, it sounds like a recipe for helping to halt the progress we have made in counteracting cardiovascular disease.
we have been using coconut may it be in a form of oil, cream, dessicated or fresh for hundreds if not thousands of years. i know it is very hard for you to grasp and i can say to you mr. eric that we have been consuming it rather EXCESSIVELY .
almost all our recipe contains a coconut product. it is a staple to us. for me it is evident enough that the coconut have been beneficial to our bodies ,otherwise as i have said before, we all die of heart attack.
FYI most common factors that causes heart attack here in my country are the following:
excessive eating of animal fat
"we have been using coconut may it be in a form of oil, cream, dessicated or fresh for hundreds if not thousands of years. i know it is very hard for you to grasp and i can say to you mr. eric that we have been consuming it rather EXCESSIVELY."
People also have been consuming alcohol for thousands of years, often excessively. But it would be wrong to take that fact out of context and credit alcohol for increasing our life span. Ditto for coconut oil
If there is any positive impact of coconut products on cardiovascular health (or in preventing kidney stones, as you suggest in another discussion here), it would be nice to see it documented in clinical studies.
NO RANDOMIZED TIGHTLY CONTROLLED CLINCIAL TRIAL HAS EVER SHOWN ANY REDUCTION IN CVD MORTALITY FROM SATURATED FAT RESTRICTION
AHA LIED ABOUT THE FRAMINGHAM RESEARCH TO FIT THEIR OWN ANTI- SATURATE UNFOUNDED
HERE ARE THE REAL RESULTS "11 OVERALL AND 14 % CVD DEATH RATE INCREASE PER 1 MG DROP IN CHOLESTEROL"-www.ravnskov.nu/myth8.htm
THE CHOLESTEROL THEORY IS A COMPLETELY UNFOUNDED CROC
What I've never been able to understand is why the vast majority of physicians, researchers and health groups would want to conceal the "truth" and deprive not only the public at large, but themselves, loved ones and friends of the supposed benefits of slurping down coconut oil and other foods high in saturated fat.
There's a lot of this conspiracy theorizing going on in miaminottropics' links, notably by Anthony Colpo at theomnivore.com ("they don't WANT you to know!" etc.), a site apparently dedicated to Mr. Colpo's various bizarre health ideas (water fluoridation is terrible, vaccines are bad and so on) and promoting his book sales. He identifies himself as "an independent researcher", but strangely, a search of his name in the PubMed scientific literature database turns up zero articles.
Links to research including American Heart Association studies showing connections between high blood lipid levels and cardiovascular disease.
Well I thought I might get some really good threads
by people who have used Coconut Oil in thier diets and the results positive or negative.
While there was alot of information, most which I have already read on other sites, there was far to much bickering
back and forth by several individuals. It appears some people have way to much Ego and inflated opinions of themselves. I think a couple of you need to get a life.
I've never understood why zombie threads are resurrected when there is no new information being offered - just scolding in the apparent hope of provoking more mudslinging.
I'd welcome any solid information on whether coconut oil has any role in diet.
Here's a study on PubMed about coconut oils. There are a few other related studies on the PubMed site. Some of the studies do seem to confirm the relation of the medium-chain aspect of coconut oil and its lack of contributing to Coronary Heart Disease.
What that small Indonesian study seems to be saying is that saturated fats (including coconut oil) weren't found to be a predictor of coronary heart disease in a particular native population. They did not conclude that coconut oil had any protective effect.
Large-scale studies in Western populations have found that saturated fat consumption is linked to development of CHD:
"The development of coronary heart disease (CHD) is an example of a common source epidemic due to increased consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, low intakes of polyunsaturated fat, and increasing obesity."
Coconut oil's high content of saturated fats explains why the American Heart Association and similar organizations encourage a diet low in saturated fats.
"The fact that coronary atherosclerosis get worse JUST AS FAST OR FASTER when cholesterol goes DOWN as when it goes up shoul dhave led scientists to question the whole Lipid Hypothesis"
-Dr. Uffe Ravnskov
This fact ALONE DISproves the Lipid Hypothesis.
Think LDL lowering is founded people
Ravnskov is in a tiny minority of scientists who question whether excess dietary fats promote heart disease (despite the many studies establishing this link).
I haven't seen anything about him promoting coconut oil.
You need to realize that just because something is categorized as a fat, a calorie, or a carb means nothing and is only the tip of the iceberg.
Have you read this study?:
I do agree with you that saturated fats should be limited in the diet along with the removal of trans fats but CCO does not have the same saturated fats as say animal fat or vegetable oil fats.
Lastly your belief that Americans are living longer due to saturated fats being cut out of the diet is bogus. The reason why Americans live longer is because our medical advances over the years.
Wow, a blast from the coconut oil past. :)
The article you cite is not a scientific study, but a collection of opinions from a naturopath. The article's references don't even support the idea that coconut oil reduces heart disease risk.
There've been reports of increased cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes in India in recent years, but this seems to be due to overall dietary changes rather than what's used for cooking oil.
The fact that Americans are suffering less from coronary artery disease due to lower saturated fat intake is not my "belief" - it's a well-established medical finding backed by solid research (see my link from a few posts ago).
The enthusiasm in some alt-med circles for coconut oil seems to be part of the general conviction that "primitive/non-Western/less developed cultures know/knew something we don't" - leading to promotion of coconut oil, "Paleolithic" diets and obscure fruits and herbs as cure-alls. What's ignored are other lifestyle, diet and genetic factors, as well as the inconvenient truth that the people in these cultures have almost always had considerably shorter lifespans than people in the decadent U.S. of A.
Coconut oil, especially the "virgin" coconut oil promoted as the righteous stuff, costs a ton, is full of saturated fat and doesn't have proven health benefits, despite what the coconut oil lobby says.
I saw a research paper the other day that suggested that people in India might be able to cut their heart disease risk by eating more vegetables and using mustard oil for cooking.
Where's all the popular enthusiasm for vegetables and mustard oil?
i think i would understand eric because of his background but coming from a tropical country, honeslty if you go to the south who uses coconut in their everyday living, that is what "excessively" meant with another filipino who posted risk no danger coz in bicol, a native bicolano wont die of any heart attack, maybe oversex yes, coz people there love coconuts, chili and sex, sometimes eric knowing too much drives you nuts, hehe, joke, or let me rephrase, explaining everything on the dot does no good coz that is also excessive, take a risk every once in while, chill out, coconut oil is better than margarine and butter or mcdonalds or double cheeseburget with fries and rootbeer, dont get me wrong, i sometimes crave that but take it easy, you have to be open minded, dont put your everything on studies and crap, sometimes you have to know the locals and see things on a different perspective. e.g, westerners are very scientific in everything, but easterners believe in the spirits and stuff, i am blest to have been educated and i know alot about western stuff from school but traveling around the world opened my mind and my belief dat in this world we live in sometimes we fall for the "MATRIX" of make believe, nothing beats experiencing different cultures because it is more than books, you have to balance yourself, some things just cant be explained or before you can explain it its too late my friend. i am not saying you are wrong but people get irrated of you maybe because you disregard their testimonies or their expeiences and counter them with what you "read or knew" tsk tsk tsk. cant wait for the day when you'd really start appreciating coconut oil, or the world of the spirits because it real, Ha ha ha (ghost laugh) its just a matter of time before the yellow eyed spirit get you, where did supernatural get all thise stuff, from the eastern countries, coconut oil is good, i use my friends VCO coz they use enzymatic process, not cold or hot. Theres not much of the odor and the shelf life is far longer with all the vitamins and nutrients in tact and because we are enjoying its benefits already. come over here eric and enjoy the tropical island of the Philippines.
but are you afraid of ghost?
The yellow-eyed spirit sounds dicey - but if you protect your liver from booze and drugs it probably won't get you. ;)
After the AHA told me for so many years that trans fats were healthier than saturated fats, I refuse to eat any poison they peddle. At least based on their advise.
I started taking cod liver oil and eating a lot of coconut oil four months ago. I have not made any changes to my diet other than that, except that for some reason I've been eating a lot of ice cream, like several times a week. For three months nothing happened with my weight. Then the fourth month I've lost ten pounds. I have continued eating junky food, except that I've almost totally cut out trans fats.
I used to have excema, but it's disappeared. Every summer my heels used to crack a LOT, despite all the expensive creams and exfoliants I'd use on them. This summer, they look fantastic, with no cracking, and I only exfoliated once during the summer. I am really skeptical of quack-sounding cure-alls, and I don't think coconut oil is the cure for everything, but I have suffered with dry skin for almost my whole life, and to suddenly have my skin feel comfortable and soft without having to slop on moisturizer constantly is a blessing.
I don't "take" coconut oil like the books say to do. I cook with it or butter. I eat a lot of Thai or Indian curries that have coconut milk as an ingredient. I eat a lot of fruit smoothies that have coconut milk as an ingredient.
The other weird thing that's happened since taking both the oils and generally upping my fat intake is that I've lost all desire to eat sugary stuff. Ice cream was the only sugary thing I wanted to eat, but even my desire for that is fading. Four months ago if you'd offered me cake or a donut I would have gobbled it down. Now, I look at it and it holds no pull for me.
I don't know if it's the coconut oil or the cod liver oil, or both together, but something's working.
I clicked on that link you provided, and it clearly states that HYDROGENATED coconut oil was used. The process of hydrogenating can make any oil more toxic.
In the 1960s, a common belief was that all cholesterol and fat was considered toxic. Now, most researchers have come around to a more nuanced view (at least on cholesterol). Saturated fat and cholesterol are bad. Except for 'good cholesterol' and 'good saturated fat' (they are not all identical in their form or effect).
Coconut oil is different from animal-derrived saturated fats in that it contains a high percentage of medium chain triglycerides. These are metabolized differently than stearic acid or other animal fats. MCTs do not undergo the same degradation and re-esterfication that other saturated fats do (and which is linked to their negative effects on blood vessel health). MCTs can pass directly into mitochondria (independent of carrier proteins) and adding coconut oil to the diet can be beneficial for metabolism.
Here's a link to a study Sunita might appreciate. Seems that doctors in South Asia have a different perspective on coconut oil than most in the west.
Here is a link that might be useful: Pubmed Study on Coconut Oil
Southeast Asians doctors may have a different perspective in part because their patients have genetic profiles and overall diets that differ from people living in Europe and North America.
I suspect that the average Sri Lankan consumes fewer casualties and saturated fat overall, compared to a Western counterpart. So speculating that tropical oils would be safe as part of a typical Western diet is risky.
Until large scale studies have been done on coconut or other tropical oils in the American diet (and until major health groups like the American Heart Association clear these oils for widespread use in cooking), it's best to be on the safe side and steer clear of using them as commonplace cooking oils.
I agree with you on the overall diet issue, not so sure about the genetics - that could be a factor, but people everywhere develop problems when the overall diet is bad. We don't have to be Greek peasants to benefit from a Mediterranean diet, or Dravidian to 'resist' the alleged cholesterol-raising effects of coconut or palm oil.
Also, Eric, have you seen this article from the University of Wisconsin?
Some interesting quotes:
"Dietary fats containing saturated fatty acids at the beta-position tend to raise plasma total and LDL-cholesterol, which, of course, contribute to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease."
"The failure of palm oil to elevate blood cholesterol as predicted by the regression equations developed by Keys et al. and Hegsted et al. might be due to the dominant alpha-position location of its constituent saturated fatty acid." (ie, not all saturated fats are equal)
"The saturated fatty acid-rich tropical oils, coconut oil, hydrogenated coconut oil, and palm kernel oil, raise cholesterol levels; studies demonstrating this effect are often confounded by a developing essential fatty acid deficiency." (Its the overall diet/experimental design that may be causing the rise in cholesterol that some have reported)
"Dietary palm oil does not raise plasma cholesterol."
"Anomalously, palm oil differs from other of the more saturated fats in tending to decrease thrombus formation." (A good thing when it comes to stroke and heart disease.)
There is adequate good science out there to conclude that the idea that ~all saturated fats are bad~ is as outdated as the notion that ~all serum cholesterol is bad~.
You are welcome to abstain from these oils if you like. But I agree with the cheese-head conclusion: "This review does not support claims that foods containing palm oil have no place in a prudent diet." And I hold the same is true for coconut oil.
Here is a link that might be useful: Uni-Wisconsin Article on Tropical Oils
I tried reading this thread throughly, but just couldn't do it....
Call me stupid, but nothing made sense to me. I am in no way a scientist, and doubt anyone in here is. There MAY not be enough research to prove coconut oil is better than any other oil, but there are thousands of testimonials of people who made the switch from vegetable oils to coconut oils and are just astounded at how much healthier they are. No this does not mean that you can go ahead and eat a double double cheeseburger or a couple slices of all meat pizza and then take a tbsp. of coconut oil and it will make it all better for you.
I want to share how coconut oil has helped ME. I started cooking at home more and cut out almost all eating-out (only eat out when it's a really kick back weekend and I don't feel like cooking). I was still using vegetable oil at first but in moderate amounts, I wasn't gaining any weight but I wasn't loosing either (and yes I was counting calories, cut out most of the sugars and most carbs), but I felt a bit better. THEN I found coconut oil, I cannot rave enough about all the good things it has done for me. I don't count calories anymore, but I do follow portion control and have my snacks in between.
Two of my sisters (the thinner and "healthiest" ones in the family) had their cholesterol checked and found out it was a bit high, I on the other hand am overweight compared to them and enjoy a healthy life, since I made the switch I've been loosing pounds little by little (something that wasn't happening when I was counting calories, only 1200-1500) maybe because I had candida and didn't even know it until I started coconut oil and started experiencing yeast die-off. Not only for cooking but for dry skin, dry damaged hair, acne, and I don't have a list but I know there are many other benefits. My son didn't like to eat, I had to literally force him to eat, now he actually tells me to cook him something because he's hungry!! I am more active, with lots of energy that I actually feel like starting the p90x.
I just want to say "God, thank you for putting coconuts on earth. And whoever started making oil out of this, thank you for coming up with this great idea. Its been a miracle food for me and my family.
P.S. I told my sisters about coconut oil, they switched, and I'm glad to say that their cholsterol levels have actually lowered since then. (What's up with all the media misinformation? The big guys with the big bucks actually pay and threaten them with lawsuits if this kind of good information leaks out)
Another golden oldie of a thread, now with They Don't Want You To Know conspiracy-mongering.
There are "thousands" of testimonials for what seems like thousands of "superfoods" and "miracle" supplements promoted over the Internet (sometimes in the form of dramatic "exposes" that are intended to steer you to a particular product). Acai juice, goji berries, resveratrol, buckwheat, green tea, apple cider vinegar - these things are supposed to make it possible for you to dramatically turn around your health, lose weight without really trying etc.
Some of them would be fine in a balanced, low-calorie diet accompanied by exercise (the elements really responsible for long-term weight loss). Coconut oil as mentioned previously is very high in saturated fats and calories, and not recommended by those knowledgeable about heart health.
That's the reliable advice, not what we're told by unknown providers of testimonials on the Internet.
Usually people suggest olive oil, because its easy to digest. I don't know about coconut oil.