I have written several times before on the benefits of Coconut Oil (here, here and here). Today I received an email from an online friend which brought the entire topic back into focus for me, hence the reason I write again. It jogs my memory and yours too I hope.
I was asked if I was familiar with the concept that Coconut Oil could help and even possibly reverse certain brain disorders, of course I was, but for those who may be skeptical, here is the link to a short video which may help to persuade you of its great benefits. Thank you Wee for jogging my memory.
Now I am convinced of the benefits of this humble, natural product – in particular I am writing about Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO), not the heavily processed (hydrogenated) variety. We all should know that the more a substance is processed, that is chemically or heat-treated prior to packaging and selling to us consumers, the more vitamins and minerals are removed or destroyed, and the more unnatural, harmful substances are added in, perhaps as something which will prolong the shelf life, or make it more fluid/solid…. Whatever is done to it, it is not natural – how you would normally find it in nature.
I am very pleased to be reading more and more articles promoting the use of healthy fats in our food supply. In years past we have been drowned in negative Government Hype about the dangers of fats in our diets. This had led to many people throwing the baby out with the bath water (reference) and redefining a healthy diet as one low (even seriously low) in fat.
No one would argue in this day and age that some fats are bad for us, in particular hydrogenated (Trans) fats. But did you know (once upon a time) the manufacturers of hydrogenated fats and our Government’s used to tell us they were good for us? How things have changed – but not before some serious damage was done. See: Hydrogenated fats responsible for many diseases.
Things seem to move very slowly when the pharmaceutical companies and big industry, together with your Government Health Authority is being challenged. Of course the exact opposite is the case when they are trying to push through some new ‘block buster drug’ or chemical food component which can make them millions of dollars for their investors.
Also today in my morning e-mail I received notification experts from the Harved School of Public Health are out and about, trying to convince industry groups to STOP the ‘fat is bad for you’ and the ‘low fat’ mantra! “Wow”, I said to myself “this looks like a wonderful thing, I must read the article.”
It sounded too good to be true, but there it was in black and white, so I had to do a little digging to see where (if anywhere) there was a down side to all of this.
The Harvard School of Public Health and the Culinary Institute of America (source) have a paper out ( focus on fat) which in a simplified Q & A set-up, aims to make it easy for people to see what is good and what is bad etc.
I was not pleased to see they are promoting soybean oil and canola oil as being healthy fats. The document is copy protected so I cannot include the particular paragraph. It is all available here for you to read if you so wish.
I am also not in favour of grains and legumes as staples in the diet. I have written before about the dangers this classification of foods can do to us all, yet they also are pushing these as good for you.
But back to those oils (soybean and canola), there are many reasons why I would choose to avoid them completely. I do not consider them healthy at all, and the very fact that they are still being so heavily recommended, tells me that there surely must be industry lobbyists very active in Washington DC.
Another (somewhat dated but still valuable) article about Canola Oil and Soybean Oil is here.
Mary Enig and Sally Fallons’s article on Canola Oil is a classic.
Tragedy and Hype: Third International Soy Symposium – another paper you should familiarize yourself with.
And so you see Dear Reader that we still have a long way to go before our Government and our Health Agencies can be trusted. Are they actually on our side, and doing all they can to see we are indeed eating healthy, life-sustaining foods? While there is industry backing and lobbyists persuading our elected officials that their (unhealthy) products are good for us, we will always have to do our own research. (see Unhealthy Vegetable Oils – and *** comment below) Follow the dollar – pound – Yuan – Euro. Read, research, ask questions and be your own advocate. Even when you see what appears to be good news, follow it up and ensure it really is good for you.
To sum up, coconut oil is good for you as are other healthy fats such as from grass-fed beef, free range fowl, butter, eggs etc. Don’t be fooled by the vegetable oils are the best way to go new mantra, as many of the vegetable oils are chemically treated, denuded of vitamins and minerals and are probably made from Genetically Modified grains and seeds.
REMEMBER Monsanto Round-Up Ready seeds are all GMO’s and most of the soybean oil on sale is made from Genetically Modified Soybeans.
*** Ray Peat, Ph.D., a physiologist who has studied hormones and dietary fats since 1968. says: the polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs in vegetable seed oils are the bane of human health — they actually cause cancer, diabetes, obesity, aging, thrombosis, arthritis, and immunodeficiencies. Their only appropriate use, he says, is as ingredients in paints and varnishes.
GEESH —– and we are still being cajoled into consuming this stuff?????
What’s wrong with vegetable oils? The main problem is that polyunsaturated oils contain long-chain fatty acids, which are extremely fragile and unstable. “The unsaturated oils in some cooked foods become rancid in just a few hours even when refrigerated,” says Peat, “and that’s responsible for the stale taste of leftover foods. Eating slightly stale food with polyunsaturated oils isn’t more harmful than eating the same oils when fresh, since the oils will oxidize at a much higher rate once they are in the body. As soon as a polyunsaturated vegetable oil enters the body, it is exposed to temperatures high enough to cause its toxic decomposition, especially when combined with a continuous supply of oxygen and catalysts such as iron.”
Even if you stop eating them, polyunsaturated fatty acids remain stored in tissue, only to be released during times of stress or fasting—including the middle of the night, when one is asleep.
Although PUFAs damage every part of the body, the endocrine system, especially the thyroid, is particularly vulnerable. A slow metabolism, low energy, and sluggish thyroid often accompany the consumption of vegetable oils.
Cattle ranchers discovered the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats in the 1940s, when they fed their livestock inexpensive coconut oil (a saturated fat) in order to fatten them for market. But the cattle didn’t gain weight. Instead, coconut oil made them lean, active, and hungry. Next, ranchers tested a thyroid-suppressing drug. As expected, the livestock gained weight on less food, but because the drug was strongly carcinogenic, it was discontinued. By the late 1940s, ranchers discovered that soybeans and corn caused the same anti-thyroid effect as the thyroid-suppressing drug, allowing animals to gain more weight on less food. Since then, corn and soy have been the staples of feedlot cattle.
A later experiment fed animals pure unsaturated vegetable oil, pure saturated coconut oil, and various mixtures of the two. The animals’ obesity increased in proportion to the ratio of unsaturated fat in their diet, independent of the total amount of fat or calories they consumed. Animals that ate even small amounts of unsaturated oil were fat, and those that ate large amounts of coconut oil were thin.
By 1950, unsaturated fats were clearly shown to suppress the metabolic rate, apparently by creating hypothyroidism. In following years, scientists looked for the mechanism that caused this effect and found that unsaturated fats damage mitochondria through oxidation and enzyme suppression. The more unsaturated a vegetable oil is, the more specifically it suppresses tissue response to thyroid hormones. Unsaturated fats are derived from the seeds of plants, and seeds contain toxins and enzyme suppressors that block protein digestive enzymes in the stomachs of mammals. These chemicals evolved to protect seeds from predators and prevent germination until conditions are optimal for sprouting. It’s probably no coincidence that millions of people who eat thyroid-damaging toxins and enzyme suppressors have an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, immune system disorders, arthritis, and other chronic diseases.
But wait a minute. If polyunsaturated fats are bad for us, why does everyone believe that coconut oil and other saturated fats are harmful to health and polyunsaturated fats are beneficial? How did that happen?
The answer is a combination of bad science and successful lobbying, explains Bruce Fife, C.N., N.D., author of The Coconut Oil Miracle and other books. In 1986, he explains, the American Soy Association (ASA) sent a “Fat Fighter Kit” to 400,000 American soybean farmers, encouraging them to write to government officials, food companies, and newspapers protesting the encroachment of “highly saturated tropical fats like palm and coconut oils” in America’s food supply, while their wives were encouraged to educate the public about the health benefits of soy oil.
Soon organizations like the Center for Science in the Public Interest embraced the pro-soy, anti-tropical oil campaign, and food manufacturers bowed to public pressure, replacing coconut oil with soy oil in their products.
“When the attack on coconut oil began,” says Fife, “those medical and research professionals who were familiar with it wondered why. They knew coconut oil did not contribute to heart disease and that it provided many health advantages. Some even stepped forward to set the record straight. But by this time public sentiment had firmly sided with the ASA, and people refused to listen.”