Everyone and their mother has sent me or tagged me in that post that came out about coconut oil being unhealthy by the “Presidential Advisory.”
First off, too much of anything isn’t always good.
People heard that coconut oil can help with weight loss and starting eating it excessively, like I mean really, really excessively …. I feel like humans do shit like that a lot.
Humans can be weird.
That is a topic for another day though.
Let’s not even get into the headlines that say “Is coconut oil as unhealthy as butter?”
I think of grass-fed butter and ghee as a very healthy part of my diet and make sure my kids eat plenty of it.
We actually eat WAY more butter than coconut oil (since my ancestors were from Europe and not from the tropics, I personally believe it is something to consider).
First off, did you know that the American Heart Association is a lobbyist group?
Things that make you go hmmmmmmm?
Why is it important to know this?
Well, it is very expensive to use coconut oil in products.
Consumers are so over processed vegetable oils (I did a whole post about them) … BUT they are cheap to make and add to all the crap you buy.
Companies would much rather use hydrogenated counter-parts … so saying an “unsaturated fat” like canola oil is healthier than coconut oil would only help big food corporations, wouldn’t it?
Sure, the AHA has many good intentions as it was started by a group of cardiologists, and funds research to fight heart disease.
However, the group is often influenced by politics.
I know I am sounding like a conspiracy theorist, but unfortunately this is the way the world works.
It makes me sad … and angry.
“Why is this article coming out now?” I asked myself.
Does the American Heart Association need funding???
It turns out that yup, they do.
How will they get it?
Funding for research is provided by government organizations or corporations. This influences the type of research that is funded and the types of findings that come out of research as a result.
People lie about what they eat. Unless you lock people up and control every aspect of their diet, it is impossible to determine exactly what someone is eating. Food records, food frequency questionnaires, and interviews are all inaccurate.
Most nutrition research is based on epidemiological data that can only show correlations, or connections, and cannot determine causation between two variables. For example, the number of films Nicolas Cage has been in correlates with the number of people who have drowned falling into a pool.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which makes up half of the medium-chained fatty acids.
Lauric acid is present in breast milk so if you think about it, nature intended for us to eat it! If it provides amazing benefits for your growing baby (brain food!) then why wouldn’t it be healthy for us as adults?
Another argument that is made is how people should be replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats …. often times, recommending oils high in Omega-6 fatty acid.
Yes, Omega-6 is an “essential fatty acid” but we get WAY too much of it and that is what is causing so many of our health problems.
Why are we getting too much of it?
Because we replaced things like butter with margarine for so long.
Because processed canola, soybean, safflower, and sunflower oils are cheaper to place in products or use in restaurants than plain butter, olive oil, avocado oil, and yes, coconut oil.
It is also cheaper to feed animals with Omega-6 rich foods to fatten them up.
We are only as healthy as what we eat, and what we are eating , eats.
Omega-6 fatty acid is pro-inflammatory.
Omega-3 fatty acid is anti-inflammatory.
We need a ratio or 1:1 but are getting more like a ratio of 1:15 and as high as 1:40 Omega-3 to Omega-6.
Chronic inflammation is what causes disease.
Why aren’t we focusing on this?
The other point that this warning put out by the AHA is making is how coconut oil is causing high levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
Here are a few interesting things about cholesterol that I have come across over the years:
- Foods that contain cholesterol also contain fat soluble vitamins A, D, E & K; nutrients like choline and minerals that help support for our hormones and immune function that we need from infancy until our later adult years.
- Cholesterol in cell membranes make cells waterproof so there can be a different chemistry on the inside and outside of the cell.
- Many important hormones are made of cholesterol, including hormones that regulate mineral metabolism and blood sugar, and hormones that help your body manage stress, and it also plays a role in the utilization of Serotonin, helping to fight depression.
- Cholesterol is a powerful antioxidant, fighting against cancer.
- Cholesterol helps to fight infection with the immune support it provides.
- Human breast milk is not only loaded with cholesterol, but enzymes that help infants to absorb as much of it as possible. Proving the importance of consuming it from the time we are born.
- Our bodies make cholesterol, it is essential to function properly. When we restrict cholesterol in our diets, our bodies produce more.
- Cholesterol is the building block for cell structures and hormones. The body uses cholesterol to make bile and Vitamin D.
Also, I have read so much about LDL and how complicated it really is.
I recently did a blueprint for wellness exam for my husband’s work, and my numbers are always EXCELLENT.
Not to brag, but I am always so pleased with the results. And super grateful for my health (Mike teases me that I brag about my numbers to him, who by the way has been doing nothing but improving his as he gets older!)
One year my total cholesterol was a tad high because my LDL was about 5 points over where it should have been.
I talked to my Physician, and she is like a regular MD not a holistic or alternative doctor, and SHE even told me not to worry too much about LDL because there is much more to the story.
She also told me that it was probably a little over because I was breastfeeding at the time.
Meaning, my body needed to produce more of it at that time … the body is pretty incredible.
I also read somewhere once how when we get older our bodies make more of it for protection. I mean, every older adult I know is on cholesterol-lowering medication. Reading that really made me wonder!
In closing, I just want to say that you have to really look at your individual diet and what it has done for you.
If you feel that coconut oil has been a healthy and balanced part of your diet, maybe it has given you energy, helped you to eat less sugar, or just been an overall healthy part of your well-being as a healthy person… then by all means, don’t be scared off.
If the articles you are reading saying coconut oil is “bad” and regardless if you follow that advice of only using it in your hair or not, consider thinking twice before replacing your consumption of coconut oil with things like canola or other processed vegetable oils.
I have to run, but want to leave a few interesting articles to read up on here:
Why You Should Remove Processed Vegetable Oils from your Kitchen (I’m look at you, Canola!)
Edited to add (I found these after I wrote this article):
Mark’s Sisson’s Response (LOVE this)
Is Coconut Oil Killing Us (By Christ Masterjohn)
Widespread Panic About Coconut Oil Follows Money (Robyn O’Brien)