Washington, DC, August 31, 2018 – The Coconut Coalition of the Americas (CCA), is a DC-based not for profit formed to steward the responsible growth and communications surrounding coconut oil and coconut products. In light of the recent comment made in an aired video in German from Karin Michels, an adjunct epidemiology professor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in July in which she singles out coconut oil as ‘poison’, CCA has prepared several talking points. Dr. Michels opinion further fuels confusion about the health implications of consumption of saturated fats, not all of which are created equal.
The Coalition points out:
We continue to learn more about the complex role that all fats play in diet and health. Even guidance from ‘experts’ has changed over the years and constituents of diet such as nuts which used to be considered unhealthy due to their fat content – with the shift in education about good vs bad fats, public and expert opinion on nuts as a healthy ingredient has shifted.
Coconut oil, while being largely made up of saturated fats, contains 63% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Medium-chain fats are metabolized differently from long-chain fats and, in fact, have a number of substantiated beneficial properties.
MCT’s are processed differently in the body than other long-chain fatty acids. Unlike these other fats, they go straight from the gut to the liver where they are converted into ketones and used as an immediate energy source. Ketones are substances produced when the liver breaks down fat and can be used for energy instead of glucose.
Many compare coconut oil to animal fats. Coconut fats and animal fats have very different fatty acid profiles, with animal fats containing cholesterol, while vegetable oils do not. This chart shows a comparison of fatty acid profiles.
There is no evidence which directly links coconut oil or MCTs to cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disease and obesity (Kaunitz-1970, Prior – 1981, Eyres – 2016)). Furthermore, recent evidence suggests that coconut oil consumption is associated with beneficial health outcomes (Khaw – 2018). Coconut meat is a staple diet item in many countries around the world with no evidence of harmful effect related to consumption.
The Coconut Coalition of the Americas will continue to monitor, respond and educate through scientific evidence regarding the benefits of coconut oil and related products. CCA is able to provide subject matter experts to speak about the state of science and the market for coconut oil and other products.
Incorrect claims made regarding coconut oil not only perpetuates consumer confusion, it also negatively affects small organic coconut farming communities around the globe. Most of these farmers rely on social programs funded by coconut companies for micro loans, agriculture training, natural disaster warning and more. CCA stands to set the record straight and support these farming communities.