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In other news, I’ve been getting scores of questions from our Create Vibrant Health community about the recent hoopla on coconut oil. In fact, I walked into my son-in-law’s house this weekend and within minutes he asked, “So what’s the deal with coconut oil? Now they’re saying it’s bad? I use it in everything! What’s the deal?” These are important questions, and I’m going to share some thoughts on questions that you may be having.
What’s the recent Hoopla about?
The question of the healthiness of coconut oil has bubbled up in media due to a recent comment made by a Harvard Professor, who called coconut “poison” during a lecture in Germany. Although this type of rhetoric can certainly boost YouTube viewing traffic, this kind of extremism is what keeps the public confused. And unwell. Ingesting arsenic or battery acid could certainly be labeled as an act of poisoning. However, calling a plant food – that is a staple in many indigenous populations in Polynesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and India – a “poison” is an example of the liberal use of words to create fear.
Why’s there a Hoopla at all?
Unfortunately, there is a fair-sized segment of the science and medical community that is still stuck on a theory from the 1950’s that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol cause heart disease. This has been long-since disproven but both linear, closed thinking and BIG profits from statin drugs keep the theory alive – as if it were fact. Which it’s not. And, since coconut oil contains about 96% saturated fat, this makes it a big target for those who are hanging on to these old ideas.
What do I need to know?
Among other positive attributes, coconut oil is anti-microbial, anti-viral, and extremely heat-tolerant (doesn’t turn into trans fats or create free radicals at high heats, which many fats do – and these damaged fats ARE linked to heart disease). It contains a special form of saturated fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which the body uses preferentially for energy. This means that it can help regulate blood sugar and avoid the insulin resistance that leads to diabetes. Diabetes…wait for it…tends to co-exist with heart disease!
So should I eat tons of it?
I’m a fan of moderation. I believe that almost anything, taken to excess, can lead to dysfunction. Any time we eat too much of any one thing, we’re missing out on a well-balanced food lifestyle with plenty of variety which supports the intake of a wide variety of nutrients. So yes, enjoy coconut oil and coconut flakes. And also eat many, many other nutrient-dense foods as well. Personally, I use coconut oil, butter, avocado oil, and extra virgin olive oil as my main cooking and food prep fats. I also eat eggs, nuts, avocados and – yes – coconut, along with other awesome and yummy foods, to ensure I’m getting adequate fats.
And please know this. Anytime you hear something like the word “poison” in relation to a food in its nature-provided state, you can be pretty sure you’re hearing fear-mongering.
Create Vibrant Health: BodyMindSpirit?
With love & myth-bustin’,