Coconut Oil: A Miracle Medicine, . . .Or Not?
Somebody asked me about coconut oil a few days ago. "How’s it selling?" I had no idea. I wasn’t even aware that coconut oil was an item that nutritional supplement shoppers were interested in.
Well, that shows how little I know. Perhaps I’m spending too much time at my computer, and too little time in the store. Anyway, I was surprised, and pleased, to notice an article in one of the magazines that cross my desk, Healthy Living, on coconut oil.
Aha. Here is my opportunity to find out why people are suddenly interested in coconut oil.
Now, let me point out that Healthy Living is not a publication that you would categorize as on par with The New England Journal of Medicine. It’s a generic magazine made available to independent health food stores for distribution to their customers. The name if the store is overprinted on the bottom of the front page. It’s purpose is to encourage you, the consumer, to buy the products sold by the stores distributing the magazine. But still, I was curious to learn what was being said about coconut oil, and here was my opportunity.
The title of the article was "Things You Probably Didn't Know About Coconut Oil: An Interview with Bruce Fife," by Rachael Baseley. And at the top of the page, they ran the header, "Super Foods – Miracle Medicines."
Wow. Now I was really getting interested. How could I not have known that coconut oil was a "miracle medicine?"
Bruce Fife, N.D., C.N. is the author of a book, "The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil." The article took the form of an interview of Dr. Fife by Ms. Baseley.
She starts off by asking him why he became a naturopathic physician, and why he first became interested in coconut oil. In his reply, he starts off by pointing out that he was taught in medical school that "coconut oil was saturated fat, and saturated fat basically caused heart disease." That is what I recall as well. But he continues:
"A few years ago, I went to a meeting with a group of nutritionists and one member of the group claimed that coconut oil was one of the good fats and did not cause heart disease, and, in fact, has many health benefits. Everyone that was present looked shocked. She went on an backed up her statement, and she cited some records and some medical literature showing the benefits of coconut oil."
Note that Dr. Fife says the person "cited some records and some medical literature showing the benefits of coconut oil."
Dr. Fife’s interest was piqued. He said "It occurred to me that everybody seems to know that coconut oil is bad , so there must be lots of magazine articles written about it, along with the references to medical literature cited. I thought it would be easy to find these articles and actually read about it and understand it. So that's exactly what I did: I went looking for these articles. I went to the library and I went on the Internet... and I couldn't find anything. There were no articles written specifically on coconut oil. I found a lot of articles on oils, and some of them would mention coconut oil, but they didn't go into any detail, and they all said almost exactly the same thing... and that was that coconut oil is a saturated fat and it causes heart disease. That statement was repeated time and time again. But none of these authors-not one of them-ever backed it up. None of them ever quoted any studies from medical literature, none of them gave any facts or figures, and I began to wonder. All these people are saying this, and it seems like one person is quoting someone else who is quoting someone else, and I wondered, who is the very first person to have said this? I couldn't find any more information. I did find a few references where authors would say that coconut oil isn't bad, but these authors wouldn't give much detail either. I was forced-and actually it was rather fortunate that I was-to go to th