Coconut Oil: A Dietary Hero Misidentified as a Culprit
After years of having been a victim of mistaken identity, coconut
oil is finally having its reputation cleared. Along with its tropical-oil
cousins, palm oil and palm kernel oil, coconut oil was long considered a prime
suspect in potentially lethal heart disease. After a relentless campaign drummed
up against it by the “food police” at the Center for Science in the Public
Interest (CSPI), this vital, upstanding nutrient was ‘run out of town’ by
dietitians. But it turns out that the case against it was based on tainted
evidence – even while the real cardiovascular culprits, hydrogenated or partially
hydrogenated oils, were permitted until quite recently to go on robbing us
of our collective health.
As has happened with other wrongfully accused suspects, more sophisticated
and comprehensive research has finally uncovered the truth – that the charge
that this naturally saturated fat posed a hazard to our hearts was based on
a misinterpretation of four-decade-old animal studies. Those studies, as Dr.
Robert Atkins points out, actually used coconut oil that had been artificially
hydrogenated, resulting in a molecular distortion of fatty acids that converted
them into harmful trans fats which raised blood-cholesterol levels. In actuality,
Pacific islanders who regularly use coconut
oil as a dietary staple have an extremely low rate of heart disease.
In fact, far from being a threat to our cardiovascular systems, it turns
out that coconut oil is actually a life-saver. That’s because it’s a prime source of a
key disease-fighting substance lauric acid the same one found in mother’s
milk that helps protect newborns against a broad range of pathogens (and,
in fact, is now regarded as an important immune-booster for AIDS patients).
In addition, various studies have shown heart patients recovering after being
fed coconut oil, as is noted by Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., an internationally renowned
nutritionist/biochemist who is a staunch advocate of coconut oil’s benefits.
Here at Body Ecology, we consider coconut oil an esssential component of
our regimen for anyone wishing to restore their health, well-being and vitality.