Yesterday, the Huffington Post had an article here about the apparently-surprising health problems from using coconut oil, titled, "New Study Confirms Coconut Oil is Alarmingly High in Saturated Fat." I was going to write a scathing piece on this, how surprised the reporter was -- but after I read it, it turns out that while the reporter might have been somewhat surprised, the operative word in the headline was "Confirms."
I watch my cholesterol level (as of course should everyone...), and coconut oil has been on my "Oh, God, No" list for at least 20 years. When I check ingredients and see "coconut oil," I tend to cringe and drop the product so fast that other customers ask me if I'm okay... So, why this should be a "surprise" to anyone is beyond me. It was well-reported at the time the initial studies were released.
It turns out I'm the one who should be a touch surprised, since apparently coconut oil is stocked in health food stores, for some unearthly reasons. And as the article reports, a new report from the American Heart Association shows that 72 percent of Americans think that coconut oil is actually a health food.
The HuffPo article references some of that study, most notably --
"In fact, 82 percent of the fat found in coconut oil is saturated ― that’s significantly more than olive oil, which clocks in at 14 percent and canola oil, which contains a mere seven percent.
"The AHA reviewed existing data on saturated fats and found that in seven out of eight studies, coconut oil actually increased LDL cholesterol ― the bad cholesterol ― which is a cause of cardiovascular disease. The findings were so clear that Frank Sacks, the report’s lead author, told USA Today, 'You can put it on your body, but don’t put it in your body.'”
And again, the operative term in that passage is -- "existing data." This is not new information. It's just really important health information that was released over two decades ago that seemingly most of the public and forgotten or been willing to blissfully ignore, because coconut oil tastes good...
Oddly, only last night I was watching a rerun Shark Tank and all this came to mind. A lady was presenting her all natural, healthy alternative to frosting -- I think the company was called "Dollop." It sounded great -- until she mentioned it had palm oil. I cringed. Palm oil is a kissing-cousin of coconut oil. It tastes great...and is horrible for you. But she included this ingredient rather than others (I assume butter), since she said she wanted an ingredient everyone could tolerate. She even got two investment offers, making a deal with one of them. So, it was with that cringing on my mind when I read this article today.
A surprise?? Apparently so. Just not to those who actually pay attention to such things. As the phrase goes, it was in all the papers...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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