First Do No Harm

Coconut Oil
(Plus a book review and a product review.)

How many times must we quote that dark character from the movie (and book), All The President’s Men, by the name of "Deep Throat?"

His statement is simple, but charged: "Follow the money."

Fats, fats, fats. We are told so much about fats. Fats kill. Fats cause heart disease. Fats cause cancer.

The purpose of this article is to break through the junk science we’ve all been spoon fed and bring to light some of the truth about fats.

The American Heart Association (and a sundry of organizations supposedly supporting your healthy heart) since the fifties have been telling us to eat margarine and polyunsaturated oils for good heart health. When you follow the money, you discover that the companies making these products are the largest supporters of these supposed heart organizations.

In 1998, the American Heart Association, in the face of overwhelming evidence (and the fact that Americans can actually read) finally came out telling us to limit our intake of trans fats, the main ingredient in margarine.

Trans fats are also called partially hydrogenated oils. They are in all our junk foods, but some food companies are starting to cut back on their use, as sales have fallen off since revelations about trans fats began circulating.

Here's something that you probably don't know: the oils in your store, on those shelves, looking golden and clear, are ALREADY RANCID.

Here’s a little something I learned from a lecture by Karl Loren:

Corn oil is first squeezed from the corn and filtered. This is virgin oil. Virgin corn oil is not very stable to begin with and immediately starts to oxidize (break down/turn rancid).

There is still corn mash left over from the process, and because the food industry wants to make even greater profits, they go on to chemically extract the rest of the oil found in this mash. They add benzene to the corn mash.

The benzene pulls the extra oil out of the corn the same way gasoline pulls oil out of a soiled cloth. Since benzene is not allowed in food, the oil must be heated (burned) to burn off the benzene. The burning process denatures the oil and oxidizes it making it rancid.

The oils are all mixed together, the virgin squeezing and the chemically extracted oils. They are bottled in clear plastic. Oh, I forgot: there’s a chemical factory just outside of New Jersey that makes an oil flavored perfume that is added to the oil so you don’t smell the rancidity.

In the clear plastic, the oil is assaulted by light which further breaks it down.

So, when you finally open that bottle of corn oil, it still smells clean and pure, but much of it is already rancid, and rancid oils can attack your arteries and have been linked to cancer.

Now lets tell you a little bit about coconut oil.

Coconut oil is one of the most stable oils you can buy. It does not turn rancid easily. It does not attack your arteries. In fact, coconut oil was one of the foods Weston Price studied in his journeys. He discovered that the coconut was considered, by the local populations, a medicine food. He found that those civilizations that consumed coconut regularly had no knowledge of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes.

Let’s take a look at the healing properties of coconut oil:

  • Coconut oil is antiviral, antifungal (kills yeast too) and antibacterial. It attacks and kills viruses that have a lipid (fatty) coating, such as herpes, HIV, hepatitis C, the flu, and mononucleosis. It kills the bacteria that cause pneumonia, sore throats, dental cavities, urinary tract infections, meningitis, gonorrhea, food poisoning, pneumonia, and many, many more bacterial infections. It kills the fungus/yeast infections that cause candida, ringworm, athletes foot, thrush, jock itch, diaper rash and more.
  • Coconut oil is called the "low fat" fat. It actually acts like a carbohydrate in that it is quickly broken down in the liver and used as quick energy. It is NOT stored like other fats. It boosts one’s energy and endurance. Many athletes use it blended into their drinks. It also supports thyroid function and increases your metabolism (great if you want to lose weight).
  • Coconut oil improves digestion and absorption of fat soluble vitamins, minerals (especially calcium and magnesium), and amino acids. It improves the body’s use of blood glucose and improves insulin secretion and absorption (great for type II diabetes). In fact, many diabetics (type I and type II) use it to reduce their symptoms. One’s risk of diabetes decreases with regular use of coconuts and coconut oil. And as we already mentioned, cooking with coconut oil does not create any harmful byproducts.
  • Coconut oil helps the body heal and repair faster. It aids and supports immune function, protecting us from a variety of cancers.
  • Coconut oil, contrary to much hubbub, is good for your heart. It keeps our blood platelets from sticking together (and causing dangerous clots). Regular users of coconut oils have a much lower chance of atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries), arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and strokes. Coconut oil can lower your blood pressure.
  • Coconut oil is a natural antioxidant. It protects the body from free radical damage and prevents premature aging and degenerative diseases.
  • Finally, coconut oil is the best massage oil on the planet. What it does to your skin, you simply have to witness. It forms a barrier against infections, softens and moisturizes your skin, and prevents wrinkling, sagging, and age spots. It promotes healthy hair and complexion, protects from any damaging UV rays. (It is used in Ron Salley’s products.)

So? How come we don’t know about coconut oil? In our research, we discovered that coconut oil was attacked by the oil industry as being an "artery clogger." While doing this research, we were contacted by Bruce Fife, ND, who sent us a copy of his book to review: The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil. (See below for where to get your copy.)

According to Bruce, it was mainly the American Soybean Association (ASA) that began the attack. They were followed by the Corn Products Company (CPC International), and finally got support from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Prior to the eighties, coconut oil was used quite heavily in the US for baking, frying, and even making popcorn at the theaters. Then along came the ASA that contended that saturated fats caused heart disease, and since coconut oil was saturated, it too caused heart disease. Ironically, when they got the backing of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, science went out the window. For something to be truly scientific, it has to be tested. There were lots of assumptions, accusations, and claims, but no tests. During congressional hearings, the truth tried to come out, but as the saying goes, "The truth never stood in the way of a good story," and newspapers hit the stands proclaiming that coconut oil clogged arteries. The poor countries exporting coconuts couldn’t fight the large American food industry, and soon partially hydrogenated soybean oil was in everything.

And that’s when heart disease rates took off. Bruce tells us about India, and how within a year of switching from coconut oil to partially hydrogenated soybean oil the number of death due to heart disease tripled. He goes on to tell us that researchers estimate (this is the low estimation) 30,000 premature deaths each year in this country due to partially hydrogenated oils.

Bruce tells us that 50% of coconut oil is lauric acid. The only other good source of lauric acid is mother’s milk. Dr Mary Enig, one of the leading authorities on fats, tells us

Approximately 50 percent of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria including listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid.

Medium chain fatty acid. That doesn’t mean much to most people, however, this gives coconut oil its unique qualities. It is not digested as other fats, but gives you quick energy. In the body it is broken down quickly, but on the shelf, it doesn’t break down as quickly as other fats. It is just plain better than other fats.

In our book, Bypassing Bypass, we point out that the current theory of heart disease points to infections in the blood as being the culprit behind our skyrocketing heart disease rates. Even gum disease can eventually lead to a fatal heart attack, as the germs leave the mouth and travel through our system of blood vessels. Consumption of coconut oil can cut your chances of heart disease better than any drug on the market. We highly recommend you pick up a copy of Bruce’s Book. It is so packed full of information that you’ll read it like a murder mystery, hardly able to put it down. It is well researched and well written.

Coconut oil is NOT a magic bullet. You don’t simply take it when you have been hit by a virus. You have to eat it daily (or get some whole coconut in you) and build up your body’s supply of the nurturing fatty acids in coconut from the coconut.

How much coconut oil to eat? Here’s the figure we get from Bruce: between three and four tablespoons a day. "That’s a lot!" you might say. But we have some ways for you to get it.

In Bruce’s book there are a few recipes. But one simple way we found is this: people love sweets in the morning. With their coffee or just alone, humans love sweets. So, take some coconut oil, add some honey and cinnamon, and spread over toast. You will love it.

Add some coconut oil to your morning or evening smoothie. We even modified our Mock Miracle Whip recipe to include coconut oil.

Instead of that third cup of Safflower Oil, in your heated mixture, stir in a cup of coconut oil. Then blend that in slowly. The taste is fabulous. Everyone who tried it loved the new coconutty flavor. We also tried ľ cup of coconut oil and Ľ cup wheat germ oil. This too is tasty and very, VERY healthy. Imagine that, really healthy mayo!

Where can you get coconut oil? We had been using a form from Spectrum Naturals. It is supposedly unrefined. Be careful, because most coconut oil is RBD (refined, bleached, and deodorized). The spectrum brand was ok, but then we discovered a brand made by Quality First International, and is called De Coco-Crčam. It tastes SUPERB!

Editor's Note: As we are about to publish this page, we just discovered that the lovely Klahn family, who sent us samples of their coconut oil and who had a web site to purchase this brand mentioned above, have decided to quit the business to spend more time being a family rather than a business. They are very wonderful for helping us and we wish them love and joy in their lives.

Yes, it’s expensive, but you do get what you pay for. Every recipe we tested just tasted better using this brand. If you go to their web site, you can bring the price down considerably by ordering it by the gallon. If you like to deep-fry, this is the one oil that won’t shorten your life span if you deep-fry. When you are done deep-frying, and the oil is still liquid, filter the warm oil into a jar and save in your fridge. It can last up to a year. Imagine, healthy deep frying. 

Quality First International's De Coco-Crčam is made by a very simple cold process extraction. No chemicals are used. Another brand we discovered (sold by Tropical Traditions) is made this way: the meat of the coconut is compressed to squeeze out the coconut milk. By the way, the water inside the coconut is NOT coconut milk. It is a liquid that is used medicinally for one purpose: constipation. Drinking this liquid can give you a bad case of the Polynesian plots (Tahitian two-step). The milk is in the meat of the coconut. After the milk is squeezed, it is left to sit and the oil rises naturally to the top, where it is skimmed off. That’s it. Totally unprocessed, unrefined, untreated. It is great stuff.

And do not worry about gaining weight! Using coconut oil increases your metabolism. This is the low fat fat that helps you lose weight. The fats in coconut oil, unlike all other fats, do not circulate through the blood looking for places to be stored. They go directly to the liver and are turned into instant energy. Bruce’s book covers this in depth.

To order Quality First International's brand, you have to call Canada: 877-870-1018. I'm planning on ordering it in a five gallon plastic bucket for $195.00 plus about $33.00 shipping. Ordering by the gallon or greater will save you a lot of money. However, there is a hold up for plastic crossing the Canadian border, so expect a delay (who knows why?)

Tropical Traditions has a web site where you can purchase both coconut oil and Bruce Fife's books: http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/. We've not tasted their brand yet, but I'm pretty sure it will be just as good as Quality First International's. And the prices are about the same too. 

Any recipe calling for shortening can be changed to coconut oil. Any frying you do, including stir frying, add coconut oil. If you bake, add coconut oil. If you make popcorn, pop it in coconut oil. If you make smoothies, add some coconut oil.

If you have an expensive (and natural) body lotion (like the lotion Master's Miracle or Miracle II sell), first massage in some coconut oil. You'll wind up using a lot less of your lotion and you'll find that coconut oil alone will retard wrinkles and make your skin smoother than the proverbial baby's bottom. 

I've just heard that a friend, with very long hair, uses coconut oil as her hair conditioner. And once in a while, she puts coconut oil into her hair, wraps it, sleeps in it, and washes it out in the morning. She says there is nothing better for her hair.

UPDATE (3/2/05):

In our original article on coconut oil, we focused on the many benefits of this wonderful and nutritious product. Well, there is more. There is a lot more.

For instance, the Department of Health in the Philippines (luckily for them they are not yet our 51st state) began a clinical study in February of 1999 to study the effectiveness, safety, and tolerability of coconut oil in the fight against the HIV virus.

The study began as the accumulation of anecdotal reports grew to the point where they could no longer be ignored.

Mary Enig from the Weston Price Foundation, a genius when it comes to oils of all kinds, had investigated an AIDS organization, Keep Hope Alive, in order to document the cases in which people with AIDS had their viral loads drop to undetectable levels by eating either a half a coconut a day or 3 ˝ tablespoons of coconut oil, which is roughly 20-25 grams of lauric acid.

The initial studies in the Philippines are completed and they did confirm that coconut oil does have an antiviral effect. However, not all people in the study benefited, and as most “initial” studies conclude: “More and longer therapies using monolaurin [the anti-viral part of lauric acid] will have to be designed and done before the definite role of such coco products can be determined.” [http://www.doh.gov.ph/sars/coconut_oil.htm]

I was on the phone to our suppliers, REMOVED BY FDA Naturals, when Annette told me some stories about the performance enhancement qualities of coconut oil. I went online and sure enough, I found nearly everything she’d talked about. We found this by Dr Bruce Fife (whose book we have reviewed in our original article on Coconut Oil):

The fact that MCFA digest immediately to produce energy and stimulate metabolism has led athletes to use them as a means to enhance exercise performance.  There are several studies showing this to be true.  For example, in one study, investigators tested the physical endurance of mice who were given MCFA in their daily diet against those that weren't.   The study extended over a six week period.  The mice were subjected to a swimming endurance test every other day.  They were placed in a pool of water with a constant current flow like that found in a river.  The total swimming time until exhaustion was measured.  While at first there was little difference between the groups of mice, those fed MCFA quickly began to out-perform the others and continued to improve throughout the testing period. [http://www.coconut-connections.com/hypothyroidism.htm]

A bit later, refining my web search, I found the actual study:

The effect of chronic administration of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) on swimming endurance (swim capacity) was investigated in male Std ddY mice. The mice were fed a diet containing 80 g MCT + 20 g long-chain triglycerides (LCT)/kg diet for 6 wk; mice fed diet containing 100 g LCT/kg diet were used as controls. After being accustomed to swimming, the mice were subjected to forced swimming every 2 d in the current water pool that we had developed, and the total swimming period until exhaustion was measured. The total swimming period was used as the index of swim capacity. The group fed MCT showed significantly greater swim capacity than the control group (89.5 +/- 2.5 vs. 80.2 +/- 2.0 min). In another experiment, after 4 wk of MCT diet consumption, significantly greater swim capacity was found in untrained mice. The major metabolic consequences of the adaptations of muscle to prolonged MCT administration during endurance training were higher activities of 3-oxo acid CoA-transferase (P < 0.01),
citrate synthase (P < 0.1) and malate dehydrogenase (P < 0.1). These findings suggest that increases in the enzyme activities of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and ketone body utilization associated with the chronic administration of an MCT-containing diet enhance swim capacity in mice. [
Fushiki, T and Matsumoto, K 1995,  Swimming endurance capacity of mice is increased by consumption of medium-chain triglycerides.  Journal of Nutrition  125:531]

The information we could not find is the following. Keep in mind that in investigative journalism, nothing is confirmed till you get three different sources to confirm it. So, this information, for the present, has just one source.

We've learned that more and more horse trainers from the Blue Grass state are feeding their horses coconut oil. I chased down the trainer to last years Kentucky Derby winner, but he’d not heard of coconut oil. Those who are using it, report back to the people at REMOVED BY FDA Naturals that their horses are running better and that they don’t need to worm the horses because coconut oil is anti-parasitic.

So, that’s our update for now. If any of this information is confirmed, we’ll be the first to tell you. If any more information comes in, we’ll gladly update you. And if any of you out there have a story to tell about your use of coconut oil, please, feel free to send it along to Coconut Stories.

References and Further Reading

 http://www.ospc.com/coco.htm 

www.naturodoc.com/library/nutrition/coconut_oil_healthy.htm   

www.alternative-healthzine.com/html/0108_2.html 

The Coconut Oil Miracle (Previously published as The Healing Miracle of Coconut Oil)

Eat Fat, Look Thin: A Safe and Natural Way to Lose Weight Permanently, Second Edition

Coconut Lover's Cookbook

Coconut Recipes - Click Here To See Our Recipes, or you can go to the links below for still more.

http://www.coconutoil-online.com/RECIPES.html 

http://www.coconut-connections.com/recipes.htm 

http://homecooking.about.com/library/weekly/aa110899.htm 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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