April 19, 2014

Pulling the Curtains on Another CSPI Scare Campaign: Coconut Oil and Popcorn

Popcorn Bucket Pulling the Curtains on Another CSPI Scare Campaign: Coconut Oil and Popcorn

The Center for Consumer Freedom

Better seventeen years late than never. The New York Times on Tuesday pulled the curtains on Center for Science in the Public Interest’s (CSPI) 1994 scare campaign that caused movie-theater popcorn sales to instantly plummet by as much as 50 percent. It wasn’t the popcorn itself that CSPI demonized; its target was the saturated fat content that resulted from the coconut oil theaters used to pop it.

Celebrated this week by The Washington Post as “a showman who has come up with myriad headline-grabbing ways of demonizing food ingredients,” CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson was widely quoted by media outlets in April 1994 doing just that to coconut oil, calling popcorn that used the oil a nutritional “Godzilla.”

From the onset, CSPI’s campaign to demonize movie-theater popcorn was devised to make Americans deathly afraid of something they likely never considered a health threat at the time—saturated fat. When a CSPI-funded laboratory study revealed that a medium-sized serving of popcorn contained a whopping 37 grams of saturated fat (exceeding the USDA’s recommendation of 20 grams per day), CSPI knew it could strike fear in to moviegoers, wrote Chip and Dan Heath in their 2007 book Made to Stick:

CSPI sent bags of movie popcorn from a dozen theaters in three major cities to a lab for nutritional analysis. The results surprised everyone … the lab results showed, coconut oil was also brimming with saturated fat …

The challenge, [then-CSPI Director of Communications Art] Silverman realized, was that few people know what “37 grams of saturated fat” means. Most of us don’t memorize the USDA’s daily nutrition recommendations. Is 37 grams good or bad? And even if we have an intuition that it’s bad. we’d wonder if was “bad bad” (like cigarettes) or “normal bad” (like a cookie or a milk shake) …

The amount of fat in this popcorn was, in some sense, not rational. It was ludicrous. The CSPI needed a way to shape the message in a way that fully communicated this ludicrousness. Silverman came up with a solution.

CSPI called a press conference on September 27, 1992. Here’s the message it presented: “A medium-sized ‘butter’ popcorn at a typical neighborhood movie theater contains more artery-clogging fat [Jesus wept] than a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, a Big Mac and fries for lunch, and a steak dinner with all the trimmings – combined!”

After nearly 17 years of CSPI scaring the public silly, scientists are beginning to recognize CSPI’s long-running crusade against coconut oil as a box-office bust. Thomas Brenna, a Cornell nutrition science professor, told the Times that coconut oil might not be the evil villain as we’ve been led to believe:

Most of the studies involving coconut oil were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil [that is high in trans fat—not saturated fat], which researchers used because they needed to raise the cholesterol levels of their rabbits in order to collect certain data. Virgin coconut oil, which has not been chemically treated, is a different thing in terms of a health risk perspective. And maybe it isn’t so bad for you after all.

I think we in the nutrition field are beginning to say that saturated fats are not so bad, and the evidence that said they were is not so strong.

It’s worth noting that the coconut oil movie theatres were using in 1994 was (frequently) partially hydrogenated, and contained trans fat. But in the 1990s CSPI was busily publishing newsletter copy like the now-famous “Trans, shmans.” It was coconut oil’s saturated fat—not its trans fat—that set Jacobson’s finger wagging.

A decade earlier, CSPI had fought to get rid of beef fat in cooking oil, a move which forced food providers to switch to the only viable alternative: partially hydrogenated oil, which contained trans fats. CSPI proclaimed: “All told, the charges against trans fat just don’t stand up.

CSPI later flip-flopped. Jacobson commenced a campaign of bashing trans fats and calling for restaurants to dump partially hydrogenated oils. He angrily insisted that trans fats were responsible for as many as 30,000 deaths per year (a highly questionable figure), but failed to mention that his organization was largely responsible for their heavier concentration in the American diet in the first place.

With hindsight, of course, CSPI’s coconut-oil scare had some merit—but not for the reasons the group offered. Since the partially hydrogenated version contained trans fat, it’s likely the group would have gotten around to attacking it eventually, once trans fat had evolved from hero to villain.

Read the full article here: http://www.consumerfreedom.com/news_detail.cfm/h/4397-pulling-the-curtains-on-another-cspi-scare-campaign

organic heirloom popcorn Pulling the Curtains on Another CSPI Scare Campaign: Coconut Oil and Popcorn

Organic GMO-free Popcorn: Lady Finger Open Pollinated Rainbow Popcorn. Click to order!

0 commentsback to post

Other articlesgo to homepage

Woman Battles Brain Cancer Using Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet Without Chemo

Woman Battles Brain Cancer Using Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet Without Chemo

Alix Hayden has brain cancer, but instead of undergoing surgery and grueling chemotherapy, she’s fighting it with the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet and has been doing great so far.

Some of the most exciting research to come out in the past few years regarding the high-fat low-carb ketogenic diet has been in the area of cancer treatment. The results are so promising that new “ketone” drugs are in the pipeline.

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate-protein diet that was first developed in the 1920s at John Hopkins hospital to treat epilepsy. Some children with seizures saw great success on the diet, often where drugs had failed.

Today, the ketogenic diet principles, particularly using coconut oil as the main fat, are being used to treat neurological diseases such as Alzhemier’s, as well as successfully treating cancer.

Study: Antioxidants Present in Virgin Coconut Oil Inhibit Inflammation Associated with Arthritis

Study: Antioxidants Present in Virgin Coconut Oil Inhibit Inflammation Associated with Arthritis

In what may the first study of its kind, researchers in India extracted the antioxidants unique to virgin coconut oil from the oil and injected them into rats with induced arthritis. They found that the unique coconut oil antioxidants reduced inflammation associated with arthritis more effectively than current pharmaceutical drugs.

Why Coconut Oil Is A Godsend For Female Travelers

Why Coconut Oil Is A Godsend For Female Travelers

I see more and more people online chatting about the benefits of coconut oil for the body. I have found that I have fallen in love more and more while I travel. Having just a backpack full of stuff for a year long trip is hard, especially for a female traveler. In my quest to bring the amount of stuff down in my backpack, I have stumbled upon coconut oil as the ultimate savior. I list below the different ways in which I use coconut oil while travelling. Because of its multi-purpose quality, I am able to have a toiletries bag that is absolutely tiny and contains only four items.

What Type of Coconut Oil is Best? How to Choose a Coconut Oil

What Type of Coconut Oil is Best? How to Choose a Coconut Oil

When my wife and I shipped the first “virgin coconut oil” from the Philippines into the U.S. back in 2001, there were only two other commercially available coconut oils being sold as edible oils in the U.S. market. Coconut oil was certainly not popular 13 years ago and there were few choices. If you were using coconut oil as dietary oil back then, chances are you were getting your information about fats and oils from Dr. Mary Enig. Many of her writings have been featured in the Weston A. Price Foundation over the years.

Today at the beginning of 2014, one has a plethora of choices when it comes to purchasing coconut oil. So what I am going to do in this article is give you an insider view of the current market, without mentioning any specific brands. Not all coconut oils are produced the same way and the type of coconut oil you purchase will depend on what you plan to do with it.

But first, in order to make an intelligent decision about which coconut oil best suits your needs, you need to understand what is currently in the market, and how they differ.

Woman Writes Book on Mother’s Recovery from Alzheimer’s After Starting Coconut Oil

Woman Writes Book on Mother’s Recovery from Alzheimer’s After Starting Coconut Oil

My book is called ‘Thoughts of Yesterday.’ The reason I gave my book this title is because when Mammy was at her worst with Alzheimer’s, she could still remember her first day at school, but her thoughts of yesterday were gone. Her condition deteriorated quite rapidly, as we were advised it would. She had several periods of aggression which proved very difficult to manage and ultimately sedatives were prescribed to ease the symptoms. She had repeated kidney infections, one of which resulted in her being rushed to hospital by ambulance.

Since taking the coconut oil, she has had NO periods of aggression whatsoever, and her kidney infections have become much less frequent. As a result of this, she has not had any sedatives over the last year, fewer antibiotics and also her blood pressure is perfect.

Overall, her mood has much improved, she engages better in conversation and is very happy in herself. I have no doubt that if we had not found out about coconut oil, my mother would be in a home by now.

read more


Get the news right in your inbox!