It seems that the “health” media is at it again. Dr. Oz recently claimed that coconut oil is good for you – again! Now, like a lot of people, I like Dr. Oz. Generally he is well informed and he is gifted when it comes to explaining complex topics in simple language. But, in this case, he’s off base on coconut oil.

I’m not sure where these people get their information, but it is at best factually questionable, and at worst just plain crazy! We have discussed this topic before, but with the current number of people touting the benefits of coconut oil, I thought it important to clear up the record.

If you haven’t heard about coconut oil yet, it’s likely that you will. A number of “experts” have claimed that coconut oil aids weight loss, helps improve heart health and also helps improve brain function. They base these claims on articles discussing the benefits of MCT oil. A recent article in The Nutrition Action Health Letter claimed that coconut oil is 60 percent MCT oil, and therefore, these experts claim, it should have many of the same benefits as pure MCT oil.

Without getting into a discussion of the chemistry involved in carbon chains, acid types and medium chain fatty acids here, suffice it to say that MCT oil and coconut oil are not the same thing. In fact, they are quite different. Further, coconut oil is almost 90 percent saturated fat, which has been shown in numerous studies to be much less healthy than mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. Populations with diets rich in saturated fats have been shown to have higher LDL cholesterol levels and slower brain function.

The bottom line is this: Claims that coconuts and/or their fat is heart healthy and can improve brain function are not supported by credible research data. As Dr. James J. Kenney puts it, “Making such claims is just plain cuckoo!”

You can read the entire article by Dr. Kenney debunking the coconut oil myth in the July issue of Communicating Food for Health.

Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
You may also want to read: Healthy Eating: You Have to Read the Label, Eating Right: It’s Not About Willpower Alone, Herbs and Spices: 7 Tips to Please Your Palette

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