Should We Be Nuts For Coconut?

Heart Health Month provides platform for understanding the science around coconut oil and health

January has already faded in our rear-view mirrors, but for those whose health-focused New Year’s resolutions are still going strong, their interest may be piqued at the breadth of information on heart health that is sure to be found in February, which coincidentally is American Heart Month.

The strong connection between diet and heart health makes February conducive to making dietary changes. While some changes can have a positive impact on health, others fall short of purported claims.

Take coconut oil for example, which made Food Insight’s list of 2015 Food Trends. One of the supposed health effects tied to coconut oil is protection against heart disease. Beyond that, some say coconut oil will cure all that ails you. While most people understand that such cure-all claims are unfounded, it is easy for some individuals to seek solutions that are off the beaten path, especially if they have seen limited results from traditional efforts to improve health.  Countless websites are dedicated to coconut oil’s “miraculous results” for reducing body fat, while others claim coconut oil may prevent and even treat cancer, diabetes, and other diseases and infections.

But does the balance of scientific evidence support these claims? According to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s new Coconut Oil and Health Fact Sheet, evidence is sparse for several claims associated with coconut oil. For example, no research directly assesses the effects of coconut oil on Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, or thyroid function, despite website claims of its benefits for these conditions.

 

To find out more about coconut oil and how it compares to other plant-based oils, visit the Fact Sheet and new infographic from the IFIC Foundation:

Coconut Oil and Health Fact Sheet

Coconut Oil infographic

 

kris-sollid-nutrient-communications Kris Sollid, RD is Director of Nutrients Communications at the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation. His role at IFIC Foundation spans from consumer-based research, to the realms of social and traditional media, to timely written contributions for IFIC Foundation’s website, blog, and newsletter. He has also authored and co-authored a variety of external consumer, trade, and peer-reviewed publications.

 

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