There have been some attacks on coconut oil in recent years due to its saturated fat content, but the research shows that all saturated fats are not equal.
“There is relatively little overlap between the types of saturated fatty acids found in the animal fat lard and the vegetable oils coconut, soybean, olive, corn and peanut,” said Mary Newport, M.D., Spring Hill Neonatology, Inc. “Virgin coconut oil, coconut meat and coconut cream contain no cholesterol, but do contain anti-inflammatory/antioxidant polyphenols, many vitamins, minerals and trace elements.”
Coconut has a unique composition as it contains 65% medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), 19% long-chain fatty acids and 8% mono, polyunsaturated fatty acids. Unlike most other saturated fats, coconut contains lauric acid, which is beneficial to the body.
Research has also found that medium chain fats are good. Medium chain fats are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, going straight to the liver where they’re converted to ketones, which bypasses the usual fat digestion process of longer chain saturated fatty acids.
Moreover some saturated fat isn’t bad. In February 2020, a group of leading nutrition scientists met for a two-day workshop entitled “Saturated Fats: A Food or Nutrient Approach?” and issued a consensus statement on saturated fats and sent a letter regarding their findings to the Secretaries of USDA and HHS. This expert panel concluded that “There is no strong scientific evidence that the current population-wide upper limits on commonly consumed saturated fats in the U.S. will prevent cardiovascular disease or reduce mortality. A continued limit on these fats is therefore not justified.” The consensus statement and letter was intended to provide input into rethinking of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, which are being reviewed this year.
When challenging a recent publication, Fabian Dayrit, M.D., of Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines commented that “coconut oil raised high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol HDL-C levels and gave favorable ratios of total cholesterol to HDL-C,” both positive yet ignored results.
The jury is still out as to whether the government will catch up to the totality of the science and evidence and will revise the current dietary health guidelines, but common sense and studies do show that coconut oil is safe and beneficial.
National Coconut Day 2020: Coconut Trade Group Pivots to Online Activation
By Traci Kantowski, Communications Director, Coconut Coalition of the Americas
According to SPINScan, coconut oil, milk, creamer, water and other beverages totaled nearly $1.1 billion in the 52-weeks ending 4/19/20, which was up from $986.8 million in the previous 52-week period. This beloved drupe is used in oils, flour, water, non-dairy milk, snacks, and more.
In 2019, the Coconut Coalition of the Americas (CCA) established National Coconut Day on June 26th through the National Day registrar, and it immediately generated widespread interest across multiple stakeholder groups. In 2020, with limited in-person events due to COVID-19, CCA has pivoted to online experiences, including recipe contests, virtual events like a cooking demo on the day of, and a trivia night. The theme of this year’s program is Go Coco-nutty, which is being touted through online campaigns.
Three ways natural product retailers can get involved:
- Get social: Leverage the #nationalcoconutday and #gococonutty hashtags on your social media channels.
- Bundle Up: Bundle coconut products together and/or with complementary items.
- Whip Up a Recipe: Share your store’s favorite coconut recipes with your customers or use one from the Coconut Coalition of the Americas, which has recipes on its website available for use.
Learn more at CoconutCoalition.org.
The Coconut Coalition of the Americas (CCA), the trade association that represents the coconut industry, created an educational infographic to help people better understand the facts on saturated fats in coconut oil. This is available as a free downloadable resource on CoconutCoalition.org.