September 2, 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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Study: Virgin Coconut Oil Reduces Symptoms of Chemo – Improves Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

Study: Virgin Coconut Oil Reduces Symptoms of Chemo – Improves Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

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Once again, research into the health benefits of coconut oil is mainly being done outside of the U.S., primarily in coconut-producing countries. Here in the U.S., only pharmaceutical drugs can make health claims, by law. The FDA regulates all health claims, and only allows pharmaceutical companies that have gone through the lengthy and costly drug approval process to make such claims. No company in the U.S. would spend that kind of money on research for a product found in nature that cannot be patented.

A study just published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease looked at Malaysian women suffering from breast cancer. The study discovered that stage 3 and 4 breast cancer women who supplemented their diet with virgin coconut oil during breast cancer treatment improved fatigue, dyspnea, sleep difficulties, and loss of appetite compared to the control group. Virgin coconut oil consumption during chemotherapy also helped improve the functional status and global Quality Of Life of these breast cancer patients. In addition, it reduced the symptoms related to side effects of chemotherapy.

Using Coconut Oil in Cold Drinks

Using Coconut Oil in Cold Drinks

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Cold drinks are a popular summer staple that coffeehouses and restaurants make a killing off of every year with their ridiculous prices. However, there is little need to buy them. Making most of these drinks at home is easy, not to mention with far more healthy potential when you control what goes into them.

Adding coconut oil to your blended cold drinks is one way to get your daily dose of coconut oil without it being bothersome or boring. Not only that, but the addition of coconut oil will also give your endurance and energy a boost, keeping you going throughout the day or acting as a quick pick me up along with some natural fruit as the day drags on.

Making Coconut Oil Tasteless in Cooking

Making Coconut Oil Tasteless in Cooking

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With the saturated fat myth slowly dying out, coconut oil has quickly risen to be a popular and ideal cooking oil. Coconut oil has a bounty of health benefits and is easily customizable. This versatile nature makes it ideal for many different styles of cooking and dishes.

However, not everyone is a fan of the flavor. Here are some tips on making coconut oil tasteless in cooking.

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.

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