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COCONUT OIL
How Coconut Oil Got A Bad Rap

COCONUT OIL

How Coconut Oil Got A Bad Rap

“Butterfat and coconut oil are competitors of the power vegetable industry, so it is wise to be very skeptical when you hear claims that these fats cause disease”.
~ Dr. Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., F.A.C.N. Dr. Enig holds a Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences and is a biochemist of international renown. She is an expert in fats and oils analysis and metabolism, food chemistry and composition, and nutrition and dietetics.

The coconut industry was flourishing in the first quarter of the century. The Philippines had entered the U.S. market, without being taxed, supporting the growth of the U.S. coconut industry.

Starting in the early 1930’s the U.S. began to emerge as a major soybean producer, and spurred by a wartime need for domestic sources of fats, oil, and meal, became the world’s leading soybean-producing country.

With the introduction of the soybean industry and the manufacturing of soybean oil, the U.S. government slapped heavy protective excise taxes on coconut oil, and later campaigned hard to promote the lipid heart theory, which stated that eating saturated fats, like coconut oil, was the cause of coronary heart disease.

Before 1920 coronary heart disease was rare in America; so rare that when a young internist named Paul Dudley White introduced the German electrocardiograph to his colleagues at Harvard, they advised him to concentrate on a more profitable branch of medicine. The new machine revealed the presence of arterial blockages, thus permitting early diagnosis of coronary heart disease. But in those days clogged arteries were a medical rarity and White had to search for patients who could benefit from his new technology.

By the mid-fifties heart disease was the leading cause of death among Americans. Since 1910, our consumption of animal fat, butter, coconut and palm oil has decreased drastically, with butter consumption decreasing from eighteen lbs. per person, per year, to just four. The enormous number of heart attacks occurring each year, and still the leading cause of death, continues to rise. However, our consumption of refined polyunsaturated oils (corn, soy, safflower and sunflower), and trans fatty acids (shortening and margarine) has climbed by 400 percent.

Dr. Conrado S. Dayrit, cardiologist, pharmacologist, National Scientist, and past president of the National Academy of Science and Technology, an advocate of coconut oil, lashed out at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which in 1992, published a Food Guide Pyramid, which prescribed avoidance of all saturated fats, especially coconut oil, and advocated a calorie diet largely limited to vegetable oils, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.

Yet, after years of these dire warnings against coconut oil, Dr. Dayrit stated, “Newsweek reported that Americans were suffering from an “epidemic of obesity, and “obscene rates of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.”

Both the United States and Canada will soon require labeling of the trans fatty acids, which will put coconut oil in a more competitive position than it has been in the past decade. A fear of the vegetable oil manufacturers has always been that they would have to label trans fatty acids. The producers of trans fatty acids have relied on the anti-saturated fat crusade to protect their markets. However, research on saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids shows saturated fatty acids coming out ahead in the best interest of our health.