The Real Coconut Oil Miracle

A place to get your questions answered from McDougall staff dietitian, Jeff Novick, MS, RDN.

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The Real Coconut Oil Miracle

Postby JeffN » Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:24 pm

The Real Coconut Oil Miracle: How A High Fat, High Calorie Condiment Was Turned Into A Super Food.
Jeff Novick, MS, RDN

If you have seen my talk, From Oil to Nuts: The Essential Facts of Fats, I have told this story from the mid 1980's as it was happening and continued to tell the story as we have gone through each phase of this miracle. The real coconut oil miracle has nothing to do with any super magical nutritious healing property of coconut oil but how a high fat, high calorie condiment was turned into a super food.

Some Background

Around the turn of the century, Americans were using butter, lard, schmaltz (chicken fat) and other rendered animal fats as an ingredient in food and as a cooking medium. The good news about these foods/fats, they had many properties that make them excellent for these uses. They were able to withstand high heat, were very stable and had a creamy smooth texture. The bad news about these foods/fats, the same high level of saturated fat, made them harmful to our health. However, at the time, no one realized the negative impact of saturated fats on our health. The percentage of fat in the American diet stayed fairly consisted from 1900 to 1960.

The American Oil Change

Things began changing in 1960s as by this time, we had learned of the negative impact of saturated fats on our health. The historical event that lead to the change in the 60’s was the 1961 AHA Central Advisory Statement that advised Americans to replace their saturated fat intake with polyunsaturated fats. Vegetable oils and, to a lesser extent, shortening and margarine were recommended as replacements for animal fats such as butter, cream, and cheese.

The best way to do this would have been to swap out foods rich in saturated fat, with foods rich in PUFAs. Instead of a breakfast of bacon and eggs, exchange it for one of oatmeal and fruit. Instead of saturated fats like butter and lard, exchange it for a liquid oil that was higher in PUFA's like soy oil, etc. By exchange, they meant on an equal calorie basis without increasing total calories.

Unfortunately, this is not what happened. No one wanted to change the food they were eating and no one wanted to use liquid PUFA's as they do not work as well in the food supply as saturated fats. They have a much lower smoke point, oxidize easily, are less stable, have a shorter shelf life and do not have that same creamy texture. However, if you partially hydrogenated them and made these liquid oils into margarine and shortening, these chemically altered fats then had the same beneficial characteristics of saturated fats. Therefore, increasing amounts of them ended up in the food supply but not on an equal calorie basis. Instead, we saw one the largest increases in calories, driven mostly by added fats since 1960. The 1961 AHA Central Advisory Statement preceded the largest increase in the consumption of soy oil (much of it partially hydrogenated) in the United States.

The Ticking Time Bomb

So, some of the saturated fat was replaced with shortening, margarine and other partially hydrogenated oils. As a result, trans fats intake went way up while saturated fat intake barely nudged down and total fat intake and calorie intakes shot up. That was not the intent of the 1961 AHA statement at all or the 1977 Senate Subcommittee hearings on Diet and Health or the 1980 Dietary Guidelines. What they did not realize at the time, was the way their recommendation would be interpreted and applied by the commercial food industry, thus releasing a ticking time-bomb into the food supply called trans-fat.

When the world of science and the food industry was first becoming aware of the problem with trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils, margarine and shortening, they began looking for a replacement. It had to have the same qualities as the animal fats high in saturated fat these trans fat-rich vegetable fats were designed to replace. It had to be stable, have a high smoke point, creamy texture, and a long shelf life. Many things were tried including different blends of oils, interesterified fats, & trans-fat free fully hydrogenated oils, etc. but nothing worked. In 2004, food companies and cities started banning trans fat and so the industry now had to find an immediate replacement for solid fats in the food supply.

They could not go back to butter or lard as they had already been shown to be harmful. Liquid oils don’t work unless they are solidified (hydrogenated) and then that creates trans-fat which are even more harmful than the saturated fat. The only remaining option immediately available that could fill the need and have the potential for great marketing (plant based, vegan, natural, cholesterol-free, etc.) were the tropical oils/fats. And perhaps, if possible give these plant sourced saturated fats in coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils a public relations make-over.

Mass Market Mania

Let's look at the original publication dates of the first mass market books that, “helped launch the consumer revolution," or so they say, of these saturated fat-rich tropical oils.

The original publication date of the Coconut Oil Miracle book by Bruce Fife, was 2004: ... 03&sr=1-20

It is interesting to see that the books Bruce Fife was selling beforehand, were basically questionable get rich quick schemes.

- Get Published!: How to Break into Print With a Small Press and Become Rich and Famous
- Make Money Reading Books
- Dr. Dropo's balloon sculpturing for beginners

Bruce Fife may have known how to make balloon animals but he had no expertise in nutrition science.

The original publication date for Eat Fat, Lose Fat: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Three Delicious, Science-Based Coconut Diets by Sally Fallon was 2004 ... conut+diet

The original publication date of The Coconut Diet: The Secret Ingredient That Helps You Lose Weight While You Eat Your Favorite Foods by Cherie Calbom and John Calbom was 2005 ... 8&sr=&qid=

Before these misguided books, there was virtually no one else promoting the “miracle health benefits” of coconut and other tropical oils.

These misguided books helped create a huge diet fad and soon after their publication, the market was soon flooded with many more of them, each trying to outdo the previous authors in making even more fantastic claims about the supposed health benefits of coconut oil.

This coincides exactly with the time when the food industry was being forced to re-formulate its products or lose customers who were increasingly worried about the now dreaded and increasingly banned trans fats but yet were attracted to the now "healthy" tropical oils, especially coconut oil.

Industry Changes

Let's look at the timeline of the pressure on the food industry to reformulate its products and the resulting changes in the food industry

May, 2003, Inc., a U.S. non-profit corporation, filed a lawsuit against the food manufacturer Kraft Foods in an attempt to force Kraft to remove trans fats from the Oreo cookie. ... -risk.html

2003 - Loders Croklaan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysia's IOI Group began providing trans fat free bakery and confectionery fats, made from palm oil, for giant food companies in the United States to make margarine. ... ree-demand

2004 - The J.M. Smucker Company, American manufacturer of Crisco (the original partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening), released a new formulation made from solid saturated palm oil cut with soybean oil and sunflower oil. ... avorId=344

May, 2004, Unilever, announced that they have eliminated trans fats from all their margarine products in Canada. You can also see a list of other companies that have made public announcements about changes to their products. ... nsfat.html

2006, the Center for Science in the Public Interest sued KFC over its use of trans fats in fried foods.

In response, KFC announced that it will replace the partially hydrogenated soybean oil it currently uses with a zero trans fat low linoleic soybean oil in all restaurants in the US by April 2007. ... 103006.asp

June, 2006 - Wendy's announced plans to eliminate trans fats from 6,300 restaurants in the United States and Canada, starting in August 2006. ... usat_x.htm

October, 2006 - Walt Disney Company announced that they will begin getting rid of trans fats in meals at US theme parks by the end of 2007, and will stop the inclusion of trans fats in licensed or promotional products by 2008.

November, 2006, Taco Bell promises to remove trans fat from many of their menu items by switching to canola oil. By April 2007, 15 Taco Bell menu items were completely free of trans fat. ... /fi-taco17

January, 2007 - McDonald's announced they will start phasing out the trans fat in their fries

May, 2007 - Burger King announced that its 7,100 US restaurants will begin the switch to zero trans fat oil by the end of 2007. ... rans-fats/

October, 2007- Chick-fil-A's menu becomes trans fat free. ... k-fil-menu

City Bans

Let's look at the timeline of the first cities, counties and states to ban trans-fats

May, 2005 - Tiburon, California, became the first American city wherein all restaurants voluntarily cook with trans fat-free oils.

December, 2006 - The NYC board of health voted to ban trans fat in restaurant food

December, 2006 - Massachusetts state representative Peter Koutoujian filed the first state level legislation that would ban restaurants from preparing foods with trans fats ... ryid=47816

February, 2007 - The Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to pass a ban on trans fats ... 6361&rfi=6

April, 2008 - Nassau County, a suburban county on Long Island, New York, banned trans fats in restaurants

May, 2007 - Albany County of New York passed a ban on trans fats and the ban was adopted after a unanimous vote by the county legislature ... nsfat.aspx

January, 2008 - San Francisco officially asked its restaurants to stop using trans fat. ... atban.html

The Scientific Evidence For The Use of Coconut Oil

Even after the big mistake (and ticking time bomb) of recommending the substitution of hydrogenated oils into the food supply in 1961, you would figure they would be much more careful before recommending the substation of coconut oil into the food supply. Therefore, I searched the National Library of Medicine to see what published articles existed between 1985 and 2004 on coconut oil and human health to support this new recommendation. I found 5 related to heart disease and none of them were favorable. I didn't find any on Alzheimer's disease.

1) Reiser R, Probstfield JL, Silvers A, et al. Plasma lipid and lipoprotein response of humans to beef fat, coconut oil and safflower oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 Aug;42(2):190-7.

The test subjects in this study on coconut oil experienced a worsening of their total and LDL cholesterol levels.

2) Mendis S1, Kumarasunderam R. The effect of daily consumption of coconut fat and soya-bean fat on plasma lipids and lipoproteins of young normolipidaemic men. Br J Nutr. 1990 May;63(3):547-52.PMID: 2383532

Researchers found that during “the coconut-fat-eating phase total plasma cholesterol level increased significantly compared with the soya-bean-eating period. … Results of the present study show that even when the proportion of total fat in the diet is low … a high intake of saturated fat elevates both these lipid fractions."

3) Ganji V, Kies CV. Psyllium husk fiber supplementation to the diets rich in soybean or coconut oil: hypercholesterolemic effect in healthy humans. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 1996 Mar;47(2):103-10.

In this study the investigators found that the “CO (coconut oil) diet increased serum cholesterol, LDL, and apo B.”

4) Zhang J, Kesteloot H. Differences in all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality between Honk Kong and Singapore: role of nutrition. Eur J Epidemiol. 2001;17(5)469-77.

Investigators in this study found that ischemic heart disease mortality was approximately three times higher in both men and women in Singapore versus Hong Kong and that there was “…a higher consumption of coconut and palm oil, mainly containing saturated fat, in Singapore.”

5) Mendis S, Samarajeewa U, Thattil RO. Coconut fat and serum lipoproteins: effects of partial replacement with unsaturated fats. Brit J Nut. 2001;85:583-589.

Researchers reduced the amount of coconut fat over time in the subjects and as they did, total cholesterol and LDL levels went down. The more they lowered the amount of coconut oil, the lower the total cholesterol and LDL went.

As we can see, there was absolutely no science behind the substitution of coconut oil into the food supply in 2004. Instead, it was a 100% industry driven issue and had nothing to do with health. Looks like another ticking time-bomb has been released into the food supply.

The Marketing Miracle of Coconut Oil

As we just saw, from the early to mid 2000's, there was no credible science demonstrating the health benefits of coconut and other tropical oils. However, there was really good science and a growing body of evidence proving trans fats were unhealthy. From around 2003 to 2007 and beyond, there was growing pressure on the food industry to remove the now unquestionably bad trans fat. Everyone needed an immediate replacement, and tropical oils filled the bill perfectly thanks to the PR makeover by wannabe nutrition experts.

The main rise in these tropical fats, which started in 2004, was not science driven but consumer and industry driven based on their need and desire to keep eating the same processed/packaged junk foods they were hooked on.

Producing this much coconut oil created a lot of coconut by-products that the industry had to figure out a way to use. This is why shortly after the rise in coconut oil, we began to see the miracle of coconut water promoted as a sports and performance drink and soon after came the miracles of coconut sugar, coconut nectar, coconut syrup, coconut amino's, coconut mulch and finally, just in time for the grilling season, coconut briquets.

This story will one day be taught in a marketing class at the Wharton School of Business as the Marketing Miracle of Coconut Oil.

In Health

Additional Article's on Coconut Oil

*Marketing Junk Food: Don't Go Cuckoo Over Coconut Oil
- Jeff Novick, MS, RDN ... t_Oil.html

*Coconut Oil: Lose weight? Cure Alzheimer's? Clog your arteries?
- David Schardt, Center For Science In the Public Interest

*More Quacks Go Cuckoo For Coconut
*Is Coconut Oil Slimming

- Jay Kenney, PhD, FACN
http://district.schoolnutritionandfitne ... ng.Feb.pdf
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Re: The Real Coconut Oil Miracle

Postby JeffN » Fri Feb 13, 2015 3:09 pm

One of the supposed benefits of coconut oil over other oils is that is can aid in weight loss because of the type of fat. Most of the fat in coconut oil is in the form of medium chain triglycerides. These fats are metabolized slightly differently by the body and as such, are supposed to yield less calories and increase energy expenditure. While we often here of this claim, there is little evidence to support it.

Influence of the dietary intake of medium chain triglycerides on body composition, energy expenditure and satiety:
a systematic review.
Nutr Hosp. 2012 Jan-Feb;27(1):103-8. doi: 10.1590/S0212-16112012000100011. ... so&tlng=en

This latest review, also supports my position

Effects of medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
Mumme K, Stonehouse W.
J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Feb;115(2):249-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.10.022.


BACKGROUND: Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) may result in negative energy balance and weight loss through increased energy expenditure and lipid oxidation. However, results from human intervention studies investigating the weight reducing potential of MCTs, have been mixed.

OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing the effects of MCTs, specifically C8:0 and C10:0, to long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) on weight loss and body composition in adults. Changes in blood lipid levels were secondary outcomes.

METHODS: Randomized controlled trials >3 weeks' duration conducted in healthy adults were identified searching Web of Knowledge, Discover, PubMed, Scopus, New Zealand Science, and Cochrane CENTRAL until March 2014 with no language restriction. Identified trials were assessed for bias. Mean differences were pooled and analyzed using inverse variance models with fixed effects. Heterogeneity between studies was calculated using I(2) statistic. An I(2)>50% or P<0.10 indicated heterogeneity.

RESULTS: Thirteen trials (n=749) were identified. Compared with LCTs, MCTs decreased body weight (-0.51 kg [95% CI-0.80 to -0.23 kg]; P<0.001; I(2)=35%); waist circumference (-1.46 cm [95% CI -2.04 to -0.87 cm]; P<0.001; I(2)=0%), hip circumference (-0.79 cm [95% CI -1.27 to -0.30 cm]; P=0.002; I(2)=0%), total body fat (standard mean difference -0.39 [95% CI -0.57 to -0.22]; P<0.001; I(2)=0%), total subcutaneous fat (standard mean difference -0.46 [95% CI -0.64 to -0.27]; P<0.001; I(2)=20%), and visceral fat (standard mean difference -0.55 [95% CI -0.75 to -0.34]; P<0.001; I(2)=0%). No differences were seen in blood lipid levels. Many trials lacked sufficient information for a complete quality assessment, and commercial bias was detected. Although heterogeneity was absent, study designs varied with regard to duration, dose, and control of energy intake.

CONCLUSIONS: Replacement of LCTs with MCTs in the diet could potentially induce modest reductions in body weight and composition without adversely affecting lipid profiles. However, further research is required by independent research groups using large, well-designed studies to confirm the efficacy of MCT and to determine the dosage needed for the management of a healthy body weight and composition.

In Health
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Re: The Real Coconut Oil Miracle

Postby JeffN » Sat Jun 25, 2016 1:21 pm

Coconut Oil Myths Persist in Face of the Facts
JUNE 2016

“Miraculous.” “Amazing.” “Life Saving.”

Some people love coconut oil, the “virgin” oil kind made by puréeing coconut meat and gently heating it. And they love the myths about its health benefits.

Too bad evidence is lacking for some of them. Here are three of the biggest coconut oil myths and the facts. ... conut-oil/
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Re: The Real Coconut Oil Miracle

Postby JeffN » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:26 am

It's sad the the WFPB/Vegan world has to get distracted by these issues due to misleading marketing & advertising.

As I mentioned in the original post of this thread, there was never any good evidence to put it in the food supply and there still isn't any evidence for its use or safety.

It only became popular because the food industry needed a replacement for hydrogenated fats when trans fats were banned.

In addition, while lauric acid does make up a large percentage of the saturated fat, the remaining saturated fat is mostly all myristic & palmitic acid which are the two of the three worst saturated fats and coconut oil has virtually the same amount of them that is in lard, which is what makes lard such a bad fat. The lauric acid in coconut oil does not negate the impact of the myristic & palmitic acid in it. In addition, while some say it raised HDL which offsets the rise in LDL, let’s remember that after many decades of research, raising HDL has not proven beneficial.

In Health

Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association
Circulation. 2017;135:00–00.
DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510

A recent survey reported that 72% of the American public rated coconut oil as a “healthy food” compared with 37% of nutritionists.94 This disconnect between lay and expert opinion can be attributed to the marketing of coconut oil in the popular press. The fatty acid profile of coconut oil is 82% saturated, about half lauric acid, and the rest myristic, palmitic, stearic, and short-chain fatty acids (Table). Lauric acid replacing carbohydrates increases LDL cholesterol but by about half as much as myristic and palmitic acids (Figure 5, right). Lauric acid increases HDL cholesterol about as much as my- ristic but more than palmitic acid. The net effect of in- creasing lauric acid and decreasing carbohydrates is a slight reduction in the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol. However, as discussed earlier in this report, changes in HDL cholesterol caused by diet or drug treat- ments can no longer be directly linked to changes in CVD, and therefore, the LDL cholesterol–raising effect should be considered on its own. Furthermore, with re- spect to CVD, the informative comparison is between coconut oil and vegetable oils high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. A carefully controlled experi- ment compared the effects of coconut oil, butter, and safflower oil supplying polyunsaturated linoleic acid.95 Both butter and coconut oil raised LDL cholesterol com- pared with safflower oil, butter more than coconut oil, as predicted by the meta-regression analysis of individual dietary saturated fatty acids (Figure 5, right). Another carefully controlled experiment found that coconut oil significantly increased LDL cholesterol compared with olive oil.96 A recent systematic review found 7 controlled trials, including the 2 just mentioned, that compared coconut oil with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils.97 Coconut oil raised LDL cholesterol in all 7 of these trials, significantly in 6 of them. The authors also noted that the 7 trials did not find a difference in raising LDL cholesterol between coconut oil and other oils high in saturated fat such as butter, beef fat, or palm oil. Clinical trials that compared direct effects on CVD of coconut oil and other dietary oils have not been reported. However, because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil.

None of this should be a surprise as the info has been known for some time as you can see here…

3) Serum cholesterol response to changes in the diet: IV. Particular saturated fatty acids in the diet
Metabolism 1965 Jul;14(7):776-87.
PMID: 25286466
DOI: 10.1016/0026-0495(65)90004-1

“The current analysis suggests that the cholesterol-promoting effect of saturated fatty acids in natural human diets is due to lauric, myristic and palmitic acids. Since palmitic acid is much more abundant than lauric and myristic acids in most diets, it may be primarily responsible for the contribution of dietary fat to the serum cholesterol level in man.”

4) Hegsted DM, Ausman LM, Johnson JA, Dallal GE, Dietary fat and serum lipids: an evaluation of the experimental data. Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Jun; 57(6):875-83.

The Hegsted Equation:

ΔTC = + 8.45 ΔC14:0 + 2.12 ΔC16:0 - 1.87 ΔPoly + 5.64 ΔDietaryCholesterol - 6.24

Where ΔTC is in mg/dL. ΔC14:0, ΔC16:0, and ΔPoly are in %kcal. ΔDietaryCholesterol is in mg/1000 kcal.

“The equation shows the effects of individual dietary fatty acids on Total Serum Cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol when l% of the energy from carbohydrates in the diet is replaced by 1% of energy of the specific fatty acids. The equation shows us that cholesterol increases from lauric acid (C12:0), myristic acid (C14:0), and palmitic acid (C16:0) which are found in coconut oil, palm oil, and butter.“

5) Martijti B Katan, Peter L Zock, and Ronald P Mensink, Effects of fats and fatty acids on blood lipids in humans: an overview, Am J Cli. Nutr., 1994;60(suppl):lOl7S-22S.

“Based on this, I have included a chart that shows the relative effect of dietary fats on blood cholesterol when included as 10% of the total calories, which corresponds to 200 Calories of a 2000-Calorie diet, which is approximately 22 grams or slightly less than 2 Tablespoons of fat. The dietary cholesterol is given in mg/100g and the fatty acid numbers are percentages by weight. Delta TC represents the relative change in Total Cholesterol calculated using the Hegsted equation. As you can see, coconut oil is almost as bad as butter fat in raising cholesterol.”

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Re: The Real Coconut Oil Miracle

Postby JeffN » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:14 am

The Truth Comes Out About Coconut Oil
David Schardt

Seven in 10 Americans believe that coconut oil is a healthy food, but that’s not what the nation’s heart disease experts think.

“There’s no basis at all for that,” Frank Sacks, professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told the Boston Herald. Sacks led a recent American Heart Association panel that reviewed the evidence for the role of dietary fats in cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Http:// ... conut-oil/
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Re: The Real Coconut Oil Miracle

Postby JeffN » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:22 pm

Surprise, surprise! :)

The Effect of Coconut Oil Consumption on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials
Originally published13 Jan 2020 ... irculation. ... 119.043052

Background: Coconut oil is high in saturated fat and may, therefore, raise serum cholesterol concentrations, but beneficial effects on other cardiovascular risk factors have also been suggested. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review of the effect of coconut oil consumption on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors compared with other cooking oils using data from clinical trials.

Methods: We searched PubMed, SCOPUS, Cochrane Registry, and Web of Science through June 2019. We selected trials that compared the effects of coconut oil consumption with other fats that lasted at least 2 weeks. Two reviewers independently screened articles, extracted data, and assessed the study quality according to the PRISMA guidelines (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses). The main outcomes included low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol), total cholesterol, triglycerides, measures of body fatness, markers of inflammation, and glycemia. Data were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis.

Results: 16 articles were included in the meta-analysis. Results were available from all trials on blood lipids, 8 trials on body weight, 5 trials on percentage body fat, 4 trials on waist circumference, 4 trials on fasting plasma glucose, and 5 trials on C-reactive protein. Coconut oil consumption significantly increased LDL-cholesterol by 10.47 mg/dL (95% CI: 3.01, 17.94; I2 = 84%, N=16) and HDL-cholesterol by 4.00 mg/dL (95% CI: 2.26, 5.73; I2 = 72%, N=16) as compared with nontropical vegetable oils. These effects remained significant after excluding nonrandomized trials, or trials of poor quality (Jadad score <3). Coconut oil consumption did not significantly affect markers of glycemia, inflammation, and adiposity as compared with nontropical vegetable oils.

Conclusions: Coconut oil consumption results in significantly higher LDL-cholesterol than nontropical vegetable oils. This should inform choices about coconut oil consumption.
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Re: The Real Coconut Oil Miracle

Postby JeffN » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:18 am

A few more goodies…

1) Coconut Oil and Heart Health: Fact or Fiction?
Circulation. 2020;141(10):815-817.

“Coconut oil may be viewed as one of the most deleterious cooking oils that increases risk for cardiovascular disease. Even in comparison with palm oil, another tropical oil with high saturated fat content, coconut oil increased LDL cholesterol“

A key point in the article about lauric acid that I have been making in my lectures...

“Lauric acid is often classified as a medium-chain fatty acid, lumped with shorter chain fatty acids that have 6, 8, or 10 carbons.[6] However, lauric acid, with its 12-carbon atoms, acts biologically like a long-chain fatty acid absorbed by packaging into chylomicrons. This mechanism increases LDL cholesterol. True medium-chain fatty acids are absorbed directly into the portal circulation and do not affect LDL cholesterol. Coconut oil is not an oil that acts as if its main components are medium-chain fatty acids. Coconut oil has approximately 13% true medium-chain fatty acids having 6, 8, or 10 carbon atoms. Thus, classifying lauric acid as a medium-chain fatty acid is a misnomer, going against its biological action as a long-chain fatty acid. Neelakantan and colleagues wrote a well-reasoned section in the introduction that rebuts this argument, and stands by the well-established absorption of lauric acid to form chylomicrons, like other long-chain saturated fatty acids.”

2) Effect of Coconut Oil Consumption on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials
Circulation Volume 141, Issue 10, 10 March 2020; Pages 803-814 ... 119.043052

“A common argument made in favor of coconut fat consumption is that it is composed of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). MCFAs are rapidly absorbed by the portal vein, and may, therefore, play a more important role as a source of energy via beta-oxidation than in cholesterol synthesis.4 However, lauric acid (12:0), which comprises about half of the total fatty acids of coconut oil2 and is chemically classified as an MCFA, may not biologically act like other MCFA. Lauric acid is largely absorbed and transported by chylomicrons, similar to long-chain fatty acids.5 Furthermore, about 25% of coconut fat consists of the long-chain saturated fatty acids myristic acid (14:0) and palmitic acid (16:0).2”

“Coconut oil consumption significantly increased LDL-cholesterol by 10.47 mg/dL and HDL-cholesterol by 4.00 mg/dL as compared with nontropical vegetable oils. These effects remained significant after excluding nonrandomized trials, or trials of poor quality.”

“The 10.47 mg/dL increase in LDL-cholesterol resulting from the replacement of nontropical vegetable oils with coconut oil may translate to a 6% increase in risk of major vascular events and a 5.4% increase in the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality.”
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