Food for thought: Why you should ignore these health warnings

The Good Life Letter 

29th October 2017

“The best way to detox your body you know.”

“What!” I spluttered, not being able to see who it was that was talking to me.

“Coconut oil is the best way to detox your body, Sir,” came the disembodied voice once more.

I happened to be killing some time looking through the racks of supplements and vitamins in a High Street shop, whilst my darling daughter was indulging her skill at taking hours to choose the most basic of clothes.

My purpose was to see what the stated levels of ingredients were in them and how they were formulated. However, it seemed my interest had caught the eye of one of the shop staff.

She emerged from around the corner of the display and proceeded to tell me how much better I would feel as a result of ‘detoxing’ my system.

“So, I mean we are all getting loads of pollution from the air and getting rid of it will be sooo good for you.”
In that one sentence came two of my pet hates.

First, I despise anyone who thinks that the best reason for doing something is to ‘detox’. In the supplement and diet industry no phrase is more overused or little understood, however, this doesn’t stop everyone from trying to justify their product by putting the claim front and centre.

The second is anyone who over emphasises the word ‘so’ or uses it in the wrong place in a sentence.

This charming young lady had thus lost any chance she had of prising my hard-earned money from the depths of my pocket.

“Actually, I wondered what the levels of medium chain triglycerides or MCTs were in this formulation – you see it is those that give an energy boost and improve cognitive function. More importantly they do not do anything called ‘detoxing’!” I said to the lady before me.

“Oh, I don’t know anything about that. Do you want to see the manager?” the startled assistant said. “Although I’m not sure she is fully up to speed either.”

“No, that’s fine. I can sort out what I need to know, thank you,” I said, as I began to feel sorry for this poor unfortunate who had crossed my path with ill judged words when I was feeling at my most petty.

But her intervention was timely in one respect as it made me realise that the product I held in my hands had been the subject of many disservices and half truths, but also that some of those who were selling it deserved to be pilloried as snake oil salesman.

Today I want to explain why coconut oil should be treated with more respect, or at least some versions of it.

Discover the reasons why you need to give coconut oil proper consideration

Unhealthy? No just unfairly treated

During the summer the British press were running articles saying how coconut oil was not the healthy option we had been led to believe it to be...

‘Coconut oil ‘as unhealthy as beef fat and butter’ Daily Mail, June 2017; ‘Coconut oil: are the health benefits a big fat lie?’ Guardian, July 2017; ‘I shouldn’t coco: Coconut oil is ‘as bad for you as beef dripping and butter’ heart experts warn’ The Sun, June 2017.

Just a few of the headlines that hit the street following a publication by the American Heart Association (AHA) which concluded a report on fat in our diet by saying that these oils actually raised the risk of heart disease because they led to more ‘bad cholesterol’ in our blood stream.

Leaving aside the issue that there is no such thing as good or bad cholesterol in the first place, the AHA could not have been more wrong in attributing anything other than positive health effects on coconut oil – but this wasn’t the study that was going to say so.

You see this particular group have been rubbishing health claims made about coconut oil since the 1960s, which coincidently was the time that they started to receive huge amounts of cash from the corn oil and soya bean industry. Now several of the members of the AHA are employees of these companies.

And it just so happens that the Canola Oil Council and the California Walnut Commission also helped fund the research – which apparently showed that canola oil and other mono and polyunsaturated fats lowered LDL.

Never mind that canola oil is a genetically modified and high in erucic acid, a very long-chain fatty acid that can disrupt our cell membranes and has been found to cause heart disease in animals.

Rather than identifying healthy natural oils the AHA puts all its might behind the consumption of margarines and spreads despite the fact that they contain harmful trans fats.

I don’t think we need trouble ourselves further with what this biased and discredited group has to say on the subject, let’s see what the real experts have to say.

This is the supplement that will boost energy, ease pains and lower cholesterol

A world expert’s view

To describe Dr Daniel Wai Chun Hang as an expert is actually selling him a little short.

He is the Consultant Endocrinologist who heads up the world renowned multidisciplinary research team at Singapore University and Medical Research Centre, the Director of the Obesity and Metabolic Unit of his department, leading a team of doctors, dietician, physiotherapist and psychologists to provide the medical and surgical treatment for obesity and cholesterol problems.

Dr Wai has given over 135 local and international lectures over the years, on diabetes, cholesterol, obesity and thyroid function.

His audiences range from doctors, consultants, surgeons, medical students, physiotherapists, dieticians, traditional Chinese physicians, cardiologists, ophthalmologists and other internal medicine specialists.

I think it is fair to say – he knows his stuff!

In a recent speech on the subject Dr Wai re-stated why coconut oil cannot be considered as a simple saturated fat and must be recognised as something completely different because over 60% of its fat content is medium chain triglycerides and they are anything but unhealthy.

MCTs are present in breast milk and don't accumulate as fats, nor do they circulate in the blood where they can potentially clog up arteries. "They are broken down to give energy directly, or changed to ketones which are then burnt to provide energy," explains Dr Wai.

MCT oils have been used to feed premature babies and for patients whose digestive systems are not functioning properly (due to conditions like pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease etc). MCT oils have been shown to help those with Alzheimer's Disease, and patients with type 1 diabetes with low sugar, and they also promote fat burning which has a positive effect on metabolism.

"Together with vitamin D and leucine (an amino acid), they were shown to improve strength in a group of elderly people," adds Dr Wai. "Certain MCTs have been found in studies to decrease LDL or 'bad cholesterol' and increase HDL or 'good cholesterol'. The oil itself, like all plant oils, doesn't contain cholesterol which is found in animal products like meat, egg yolk and seafood."

At no point does he claim that they ‘detox’ the body – but I think you will agree he makes a series of very valid and realistic reasons why we should all think about using this oil daily.

Benefits seen in trials include:

  • Lowering blood cholesterol levels
  • Reducing food cravings and burning fat quicker
  • Relieving fibromyalgia symptoms
  • Reducing the problems associated with bladder, stomach and skin infections
  • Fighting candida infections that occur in the mouth, gut and genito-urinary tract
  • Helping protect the brain and could be a key ingredient in the fight against Alzheimer’s

You too might have seen the effects of a misguided, biased and inaccurate report this summer and believed that natural and pure coconut oil wasn’t for you.

By now I hope I have given you very good reasons to think again, whatever you take this fantastic supplement for please don’t do it to detox... it is much more valuable to your health than that.

Get major savings on your healthy supplement

Yours, as always



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