Food manufacturers in the 1960s wanted food consumers to purchase the margarines and hydrogenated oils that they produce. For them to achieve this particular goal, these manufacturers began to discredit the products that people had been using to prepare their food.
They said that, “Coconut oil, olive oil, and lard now turned to what is not good for cooking.” Thy started the marketing campaign for their own synthetic products while they portrayed coconut oil as an artery-clogging and cholesterol raising substance. They told people that coconut oil contained very high amount of saturated fat which contributed to development of heart attacks.
40 years after and in the era of high incidence of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, scientists found that it is not those healthy fats in coconut oil and other natural products that are bad, but the products that food manufacturers have been pushing on consumers for more than 30 years.
The synthetic products contained trans-fats which were very harmful to the whole body. In addition, they contain high sugar, high carbohydrates, and high fat.
The major cause of decline in health of the western world is the over-processed, pre-made synthetic foods that contain preservatives, additives, dyes, and high amount of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and other unnatural and harmful fillers.
Fortunately, coconut oil is presently getting the deserved positive scientific attention. Obviously, there is a reason it is being used by many cultures across the globe for thousands of years. Many books have been on coconut oil’s benefits have been published. Anyway, let me brief you on the history of coconut oil.
The Lies About Coconut Oil
How did the discrediting done by food manufacturer to coconut oil become successful in an era that the rate of disease wasn’t alarming like what we have today?
One scientist in Cornell University named Thomas Brenna explained the trick used on coconut oil by the food industry. He said, “Majority of the studies that involves coconut oil were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil. Coconut oil that hasn’t been treated with chemicals is a different thing when it comes to health risk.”
Dr. Brenna’s research cleared the air by confirming that natural and organic coconut oil wasn’t the cause of diseases. Coconut oil is no longer natural or organic, once it has been modified by chemicals to a hydrogenated state. These are two different products that have different and opposing effects on the body.
The findings of Dr. Brenna were supported by Dr. Ancel Keys.
Dr. Keys in the 1950s suspected a connection between hydrogenated oils and heart disease. He started a series of research studies to test his hypothesis. Dr. Keys investigated a Wisconsin dairy that has an initial cholesterol levels that were close to 1000 (higher than the normal range of cholesterol level of 200-30 in the USA).
Dr. Keys placed this farmer on a diet of coconut oil instead of margarine. Within one week, the cholesterol level of the dairy farmer dropped to 300. Dr. Keys changed the diet by replacing coconut oil with margarine. The cholesterol level of the farmer went up within days. Regardless of what you hear, the research of Dr. Keys confirms that cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease.
This experiment increased the awareness of the public and consumers became concerned about their health. The vegetable oil industry advanced to divert the attention of the public by condemning and attacking all tropical oils, especially coconut oil. This was further supported by the soybean industry. After some time, the public ignored the real truth and manufacturers continued their business of producing unnatural food products.
In 1981, a paper was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by a group of researchers about their study of two groups of Polynesians. These two groups were given instructions to consume coconut oil as their major energy source. The result gotten indicated that high saturated fat consumption is harmful. The findings of this group of researchers were confirmed by the “French Paradox” which was a study on low death rates linked to coronary heart diseases despite the increased intake of saturated fat.
The Benefits of Coconut Oil
As modern technology is advancing and with the numerous breakthroughs in science, many studies in the past years have confirmed that coconut oil contain good saturated fat and it is very healthy.
100% pure coconut oil contains lauric acid which is a medium-chain fatty acid that your body converts to monolaurin. In actual fact, 50% of coconut is lauric acid. Lauric acid is of the compounds found in human breast milk, thus making coconut oil one of the best sources of lauric acid. Lauric acid is effective in preventing bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts, and parasites.
Coconut oil is made up of 86.5% saturated fatty acids, 5.8% monounsaturated fatty acids, and no trans-fat. It also consists of medium-chained fatty acids (MCFAs) which cannot be found in vegetable or seed oils that only have long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs). Long-chain fatty acids are stored as LDL cholesterol in the body, and they contribute to the hardening of the blood arteries, and strain the liver and pancreas.
The immune system is supported by MCFA with its antimicrobial properties. They digest easily in the body and are converted to energy. Research shows that MCFAs increase feelings of fullness, and results to a decrease in the calorie intake when compared to similar amount of calories from other fats. Ketone bodies are created in the liver when MCFAs are metabolized. Ketone bodies also help in reducing strong appetite. Together with the stimulatory effect of MCFA on metabolism, you can see the importance of coconut oil in maintaining a healthy weight.
Dr. Weston Price (a dentist) in the 1930s travelled throughout the South Pacific to examine traditional diets and the effects they have on dental hygiene and overall human health. Dr. Price observed that people who feed on diets containing high amount of coconut products were healthy and in shape. There has been no recorded case of heart disease among them despite their high fat intake.
Another study conducted in the 1940s discovered that when coconut oil is used as fattening substance by farmers for their livestock, the animals became leaner rather than getting fatter. The high levels of MCFA in coconut oil help in maintaining the optimal control of metabolism of the thyroid gland, thus resulting in loss of weight.
Few years ago, the society has been misled to accept that elimination of saturated fats from diet was essential to stay healthy. We have also been informed that staying away from saturated fats would deter the occurrence of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Raw, natural, and organic coconut oil is considered to be a super-food because it assists in repairing damaged cells that can result to cancer and other related disease, increasing cardiovascular function, and cleansing the body.
People all over the world are now realizing the benefits in coconut oil. One truth about coconut oil is that, it provides the essential nutrients that cannot be found in any other places. In addition, when it comes to total body wellness, coconut oil is a healthier choice.