By DANIEL REYNEN Citizen Columnist
I was sent a link to an article titled, “What Eating Just One Ounce of Coconut Oil Per Day Does To Your Weight Over A Period Of Time.” It’s an extremely popular post that according to the banner on the bottom of the page, has been shared over 75,000 times by people on Facebook.
Throughout the story there are numerous claims about all the amazing things that happen if you just eat a little of this tropical fat each morning. Strangely though, the only reference for all the information was a link at the bottom of the page to the Dr. Mercola website. So I did a little detective work and double checked the “facts” the article presented.
CLAIM: It [coconut oil] contains a unique combination of fatty acids with powerful medicinal properties.
It’s true that coconut oil and coconut milk do contain a large portion of lauric acid, a saturated fat that raises blood cholesterol levels by increasing your hdl (good) cholesterol. It’s also true that lauric acid MAY help improve your blood cholesterol profile numbers, but unfortunately there are NO clinical studies that show taking coconut oil products are medically beneficial.
In fact, going through the hundreds of studies done with coconut oil over the last 40 years, there are NONE that show taking daily doses will in any way contribute to a healthier or longer life.
CLAIM: Places [like the South Pacific] that eat coconut oil are considered to be the healthiest on the planet.
When the World Health Organization made a list of the fattest countries on earth, guess what they found? The fattest country was Nauru in the Central Pacific, with 94.5 percent of the population overweight or obese. The second fattest was the Federated States of Micronesia in the Western Pacific, with 91.1 percent overweight or obese. Coming in third was the Cook Islands (90.9 percent) in the South Pacific, followed by Tonga (90.8 percent) in the South Pacific, Niue (81.7 percent) in the South Pacific, Samoa (80.4 percent) in the South Pacific and Palau (78.4 percent) in the Western Pacific.
If island life eating coconuts in the Pacific ocean is so healthy, how come that’s also the location of the top seven fattest countries on the planet? Rather than being a testimony for coconut oil, the facts seem to indicate diets heavy in coconut oil are one of the worst possible things anyone could do.
CLAIM: Coconut oil helps to control weight, can reduce seizures, eases digestion and can help manage type 2 diabetes.
These are all claims made by people like Dr. Mercola and Dr. Fife in early 2002 through about 2006.
In 2005 and 2006, the Food and Drug Administration caught up with Joseph Mercola, DO, and his Optimal Wellness Center. The FDA told him to stop making illegal claims for four products. One of those products was coconut oil.
In Dr. Mercola’s newsletter and on his website, he heavily promoted it as a virtual cure-all while aggressively selling it to anybody who would listen. Many of the outrageous claims have been removed, but that didn’t stop thousands of other people from taking the false information and reposting it on other sites.
The weight loss claims, seizure reduction claims, diabetes management claims and others have all been widely disproven. There isn’t a single clinical trial that has shown ANY of these medical benefits from taking coconut oil.
Just because someone says something is true, doesn’t mean it is. People like Dr. Fife and Dr. Mercola make outrageous claims about this product for one simple reason. Every person they can convince becomes a potential customer who will buy their coconut products. To get around current labeling laws, they don’t say it will “cure” things, they use medically meaningless words like “promote” or “support”.
The other claims made by this article are equally ridiculous, despite the protests of believers. Quit passing these lies around and stop taking coconut oil to cure your ills. It’s a delicious oil for cooking, but it is NOT a medicine.
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