Coconut Coalition of the Americas Establishes Voice in Support of Coconut Products Including Coconut Oil

Coconut Coalition of the AmericasWashington, DC, August 29, 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.

Selected references:
In a recent review of coconut oil consumption and cardiovascular risk factors, Eyers and co-workers conceded that: “Observational evidence suggests that consumption of coconut flesh or squeezed coconut in the context of traditional dietary patterns does not lead to adverse cardiovascular outcomes.”
L. Eyres, M.F. Eyres, A. Chisholm, R.C. Brown, Coconut oil consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in humans, Nutrition Reviews, 2016; 74(4):267–280

Coconut oil improves the lipid profile. A recent study was done involving 94 European caucasian volunteers, with a mean age of 60 years, who were randomised to one of three interventions: virgin coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, or unsalted butter at 50 g daily for 4 weeks. Coconut oil and olive oil gave similar LDL cholesterol profiles which were much lower compared with butter. In addition, coconut oil significantly increased HDL cholesterol compared with butter and olive oil.
K.T. Khaw, S.J. Sharp, L. Finikarides, I. Afzal, M. Lentjes, R. Luben, N. G. Forouhi. Randomised trial of coconut oil, olive oil or butter on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors in healthy men and women. BMJ Open 2018;8:e020167.

About the CCA:
The Coconut Council of the Americas (CCA) is a not-for-profit (501.c.6) organization dedicated to stewarding the responsible growth of the coconut category. Its membership is comprised of companies across the coconut products value chain including suppliers, processors, brand holders, retailers and service companies with a stake in and dedicated to upholding sound and credible science, responsible communications and sustainable and transparent practices around coconut products including coconut oil. For more information, go to www.coconutcoalition.org or inquire at [email protected].