Defending Coconut Oil

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The American Heart Association recently published a “Presidential Advisory” on “Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease” in which it condemned the consumption of coconut oil. 

The purpose of this podcast episode is to take a closer look at these recommendations, investigate why the AHA would say something like this, and look at the evidence defending coconut oil. 

First and foremost, let me say that I am a huge proponent of coconut oil. I think the health benefits are obvious, I think it’s one of the most useful food items that exists. Coconut oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial characteristics, it can be used as a toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen (SPF 6-8), moisturizer, you can put it on wounds, you can gargle it when you get a sore throat, you can make sugar scrubs, it can kill candida or yeast, it can boost hormones, it can stimulate your thyroid, the uses are endless around the home. 

We often recommend to cook with coconut oil because it’s a very stable oil and has a high flashpoint, meaning it can be cooked with at higher heats without going rancid. 

As a food, coconut oil is a great source of good saturated fats, it contains Medium Chain Triglycerides which your body can quickly convert into ketones, and your cells will preferentially use ketones for energy EVEN in the presence of glucose. There are anecdotal stories of people using coconut oil to improve Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s because of the massive positive effect that ketones can have on neurological function. Check out Dr. Mary Newport's website and story about how coconut oil helped her husband's dementia!

Many are using coconut oil and are seeing tremendous health benefits, which leads to decreased usage of pharmaceutical medication - hence the attack on coconut oil, so I want to examine this attack and examine the evidence FOR consuming coconut oil. 

Where Do You Get Your Health Information?

The major news media is a dangerous place to get your information, health information and otherwise. Here are some of the headlines following this AHA report:

“Coconut Oil Isn’t Healthy, It’s Never Been Healthy” 
- USA Today

“Do You Have Coconut Oil in the Pantry? It’s Not as Healthy as you Think” 
- Miami Herald

“Coconut Oil Isn’t Actually Good for you, The American Heart Association Says” - My Fox Boston

These are bold and influential headlines, yet the sad thing is that thousands will read the headline and make a decision based on that one sentence without investigating further. The point here is that you CANNOT BELIEVE the major news and media outlets. They have deep financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry, and most of what you read and hear just IS NOT BACKED BY SCIENCE. 

Case in point - vaccines. If you listened to the media, you would believe that the “science is settled” regarding vaccines. Nothing could be further from the truth. Research comes out on a daily basis challenging the effectiveness of vaccines and proving massive harm is actually coming from them. You also won’t see in the media the stories about the 10’s of 1000’s of people marching in protest to vaccines in countries like Italy and France - these stories are heavily censored by the American Media. This isn’t meant to open a discussion on vaccines, it’s only meant as an illustration that the media allows you to hear what they want you to hear, and they have deep financial ties to big pharma, so you have to do your own research. 

The American Heart Association - Trustworthy Source?

Most Americans would like to believe that the AHA has their best interests at heart, but the truth is that the AHA relies on corporate sponsorship to exist. This sponsorship comes from major companies including Subway and Cheerios as well as pharmaceutical giant Bayer (who just merged with biotech company Monsanto, voted as most evil corporation in the world every single year and the company responsible for GMO’s and the toxic herbicide glyphosate). This industry is heavily supported by the statin drug market - a $30 billion a year industry, the most popular and highest selling drugs of all time. THIS IS BIG MONEY!

Case in point - recently a prominent cardiologist wrote an editorial published in a major medical journal named Dr. Steve Nissen. Dr. Nissen suggested that the public’s distrust of statin drugs comes from websites and alternative health sources (like ours) discouraging people from taking statins, and even went as far as to suggest that some statin side effects were a result of the “no-cebo effect”, or they were all in the patient’s head. Statin drugs have over 300 known side-effects that are very well-documented in the scientific literature.

As it turns out, Dr. Nissen has received $80,000 from drug companies last year alone and has financial ties to several major pharmaceutical companies. No wonder he is worried that people are questioning their statin medications - FOLLOW THE MONEY! (Read the full article here)

The AHA has some other less-than-ideal recommendations, including the consumption of processed carbohydrates like cereal grains (which have been shown repeatedly to cause inflammation, obesity, and many other health issues), and reducing sodium intake, even though studies have found that following the AHA’s salt intake guidelines was linked to an INCREASED risk of a major heart event or death. 

The AHA’s recommendations are to lower the intake of saturated fat and replace those fats with poly-unsaturated fats (PUFAs) from vegetable oils, which is a recipe for disaster. This attack began in the 1950’s and led to the increased recommendations for vegetable oils like crisco and margarine, which we now know have massive health risks associated. I have an article from several years ago on Saturated Fats which can be found here (insert link to article), and also an article and podcast episode about inflammatory PUFAs here (insert link to omegas podcast). 

What Does The Science Say?

Scientific evidence does not support the theory of saturated fats causing heart disease, and DEFINITELY does not support replacing saturated fats with so-called “heart-healthy” vegetable oils. Here is one paragraph from an editorial published in 2017 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that sums up the scientific evidence quite well:

“Coronary artery disease pathogenesis and treatment urgently requires a paradigm shift. Despite popular belief among doctors and the public, the conceptual model of dietary saturated fat clogging a pipe is just plain wrong. A landmark systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies showed no association between saturated fat consumption and (1) all-cause mortality, (2) coronary heart disease (CHD), (3) CHD mortality, (4) ischaemic stroke or (5) type 2 diabetes in healthy adults.1 Similarly in the secondary prevention of CHD there is no benefit from reduced fat, including saturated fat, on myocardial infarction, cardiovascular or all-cause mortality.2 It is instructive to note that in an angiographic study of postmenopausal women with CHD, greater intake of saturated fat was associated with less progression of atherosclerosis whereas carbohydrate and polyunsaturated fat intake were associated with greater progression.3” 
This article and sources can be found here.

I go over several other studies in this episode, which can be found here. 

Conclusion - Eat Coconut Oil as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Do not let the American News and Media outlets make your health decisions for you. Do not let regulatory agencies like the American Heart Association or American Diabetic Association influence your decisions. These corporations have deep conflicts of interest to the tunes of BILLIONS (not MILLIONS) of dollars. These are huge multi-national corporations that simply cannot be trusted without doing your own research. Coconut oil is a great healthy fat. I’m not saying that you can go out and eat coconut oil by the gallon either, but most people using coconut oil are also making other health-conscious decisions for themselves and their families like eating plenty of organic produce, buying only high-quality animal products, avoiding things like smoking, and getting regular physical activity. Don’t be scared of saturated fats, and make sure you evaluate the evidence of what is presented to you by the media.