August 20, 2014

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

pin it button 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

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Users Testify to Coconut Oil “Miracles” on WebMD

Users Testify to Coconut Oil “Miracles” on WebMD

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WebMD is the world’s most visited “health” website. They derive their advertising from the pharmaceutical industry, so they have a pro-Pharma slant, as one can expect. It is not typically the place you would go to find information regarding alternative treatments to FDA approved pharmaceutical drugs. If you are contemplating using prescription drugs, it is a great place to get information about the medical industry’s products. If however you are looking for information on products that are not approved as drugs by the FDA, their information will be highly biased.

Due to the increasing popularity of coconut oil and its healing properties, WebMD now has a listing for coconut oil. It is listed in their vitamin and supplement section, since it is not approved as a drug, and since they generally do not provide any health information about foods.

They give the standard pro-Pharma view of coconut oil, which is that, in their view, there are no approved claims for coconut oil. They also warn people that coconut oil could raise cholesterol levels and could be harmful, even while acknowledging that research actually shows the opposite, since coconut oil traditionally lowers LDL cholesterol while raising HDL cholesterol (a positive thing.) They also warn that if people eat too much coconut oil, since it is fat, that it could lead to weight gain.

Interestingly, WebMD allows users to comment on these entries, presumably in a format where patients can comment on their own experiences with the vast array of drugs listed on their website. Read what users said about the “miraculous” properties of coconut oil in relation to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, weight control, memory, mood swings, energy, dry skin, dental health, stopping seizures and more.

Adding Coconut Oil into Your Fitness Routine

Adding Coconut Oil into Your Fitness Routine

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Fitness junkies, take note: you need coconut oil. Coconut oil straight up, in your protein-rich meals, protein shakes, snacks, pre-workout, post-workout fuel – whatever you choose. Coconut oil can be adapted into your style of eating and seriously enhance the results of the style of fitness you’re into, be it body building, toning, endurance, or general weight and muscle management.

So why add coconut oil into your fitness routine? Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), a high-energy fuel that the body uses to prevent muscle loss, but take off body fat. Coconut oil has a lot of these MCTs. Eat it.

Easy Homemade Coconut Oil Chocolate Recipes

Easy Homemade Coconut Oil Chocolate Recipes

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Coconut oil makes fantastic homemade chocolate. With just a few extra ingredients, coconut oil will morph into an impressively smooth, rich dark chocolate that won’t require a chocolate-making class to learn.

The easiest coconut oil chocolates require no cooking and generally all the ingredients are blended together in one easy step.

How to Use Coconut Oil in Your Skincare Routine

How to Use Coconut Oil in Your Skincare Routine

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Coconut oil is often praised for its many health benefits and its versatility in cooking and baking. While these many benefits may have gotten you to commit to always keeping some coconut oil in your pantry, coconut oil has a big place outside of the kitchen as well.

Coconut oil’s healing, antibacterial, and cleansing properties take on an entirely new personality when used topically, making it the ideal multiple-products-in-one item to add to your skincare and personal grooming regimes. Since coconut oil is gentle on the skin and not laden with chemicals and ingredients you have to watch out for (like most of the skin and beauty care products sold today), this is a safe and easy oil for anyone to use and experiment with.

Here are 4 popular ways coconut oil can be used to replace the dozens of pricey, and often ineffective, products sitting in your bathroom.

10 Different Ways to Eat Coconut Cream Concentrate

10 Different Ways to Eat Coconut Cream Concentrate

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Coconut Cream Concentrate, also known as “coconut butter” is a nut butter-like spread made from coconut.

Coconut Cream Concentrate definitely should have a place in every coconut lover’s pantry. Since it is 100% coconut, it also has a substantial amount of coconut oil, making it perfect for those who are looking for more creative ways to get coconut oil into their diets.

How many different ways can you use it? Aside from enjoying it by the spoonful or eating it on pastries, here are just 10 of the countless, creative ways you can use this delicious coconut butter.

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