The truth about coconut oil (Marketplace)


[♪♪] [Asha] We’re setting up shop
to talk to shoppers about a big health trend, coconut oil. What kind of
cooking oil do you use? I do often shop for
olive oil and coconut oil. At home, I use a
lot of coconut oil. As a matter of fact, I’m from
the Caribbean so we use a lot of the coconut oil. [Asha] Oh yeah. So, this would
look familiar to you? Very much so. [Asha] The coconut oil
industry has exploded. Raking in over 650 million
dollars last year alone. With big brands
making healthy claims. Healthy fat. No cholesterol or trans-fat. Everywhere says that
coconut oil’s the best option. [Asha] Sure sounds
like it’s good for you. It’s good for your hair,
it’s good for you skin, it’s good for cooking,
it’s good for everything. I put a tablespoon of butter and
two teaspoons of coconut oil in my coffee every morning and
they think that I’m nuts. [Asha] So how quickly do
you go through a jar of this? It’s more a jar of this. [Asha] Wow. I would say every
couple of months, I usually go through a
container like this or this. [Asha] From Dr Oz. The first of the health benefits
of coconuts is weight loss. It helps you lose weight. [Asha] To vloggers. Use coconut oil
instead of olive oil. [Asha] To celebrity chefs. And I pour it over
fruits, I put it in dressings, from time to time I’ve been
known to put it over pasta for my daughter. [Asha] Seems like a lot
of people are buying in. Would you consider it a
healthier option than some of the other oils out there? I mean it says
organic, so it has to be. Right? It’s not processed. It’s like, from, the coconut. It’s screaming
green and healthy. I know that it is high
in good fats I’ve heard. Along with what’s called MCT. [Asha] MCT oil. That’s
medium-chain triglycerides. They’re in coconut oil. Make sure you’re using MCT
oil if you want to get these different benefits. MCTs create energies faster. You could use MCT
oils on a salad. I could take it
right off a spoon. [Asha] The wonders of MCT oil
and the coconut oil craze are linked and it all goes
back to this 2003 study. Makes you wonder. Is there anything to
all these health claims? To find out, we track down the
author of the study that set off the craze. Hi Marie Pierre. Hi -[Asha] Nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you. [Asha] This is the shop. -Would you like a coffee?
-Sure. [Asha] Marie-Pierre St-Onge. A doctor of human nutrition
from Columbia University. [Asha] Two black coffees
with coconut oil please. Lots of people put
coconut oil in their coffee, but this is a first for her. We did a research to look at the
influence of MCT oil on energy expenditure and
body composition. [Asha] Wait what? You weren’t testing coconut oil? Not at all, we
were testing MCT oil. It’s a very purified form. MCT is a subcomponent of coconut
oil and only 15% of coconut oil is MCT. [Asha] What her research did
find was a small improvement in weight loss for overweight
people who consumed MCT oil, but zippo on coconut oil. It’s often picked up as being a
study that promotes coconut oil, but in fact they’re
completely different. [Asha] There are brands that are
promoting coconut oil as being healthy and something you can
eat and cook with all the time. Yes, it’s unfortunate that
coconut oil has been given this health halo [Asha] So it’s not healthy? I would not consume
it on a regular basis. [Asha]
Marie-Pierre is not alone. Many experts are concerned that
coconut oil is high in saturated fat. What if I told you though, that
one tablespoon of coconut oil, has 13 grams of saturated fat? Yuck. [Asha] That’s more than
two-thirds of your daily saturated fat limit. That’s the opposite of healthy. Really? Oh. I didn’t know that. How does that compare
with butter or olive oil? [Asha] Good question. It’s the same as almost
two tablespoons of butter. Alright. Wow. [Asha] Six and a half
tablespoons of olive oil. Okay. Really? That’s crazy. [Asha] And wait for it, two
and a half tablespoons of lard. Lard. Wow. [Asha] That stuff right here. Damn, that’s crazy, actually. I didn’t, I didn’t
realize that, yeah. Ooooh. Errrggg. Okay, here, you
can have this back. [♪♪] [Asha] We reach out to the
coconut oil companies in our story, and the ones that got
back to us say new science shows the saturated fat in coconut oil
doesn’t have the same negative health effects as the kind
in animal fats like lard and butter. They say it has health benefits. But experts we talk to say
there is not enough evidence to support that. Canada’s food guide recommends
limiting intake of all saturated fat, including coconut oil. Is the way you’ve
been using coconut oil, secretly making you fat? [Asha] Now Dr Oz is even
questioning the benefits. Just last year the American
Heart Association came out against it. [Asha] Their conclusion, coconut
oil raises bad cholesterol and has no offsetting
favourable effects. What responsibility do you think
brands and food companies have to understanding
scientific studies properly? I think it’s very important
for food companies to be able to translate the science that’s
been done in a way that’s accurate and that represents what the
research is actually showing. [Asha] Dietitian Andrea Miller
says Canadians have jumped onto this trend without
having all the information. Some people are
disappointed and frustrated, because they
think well, you know, I thought I was really doing
something good for my health, and now I’m not. So, I am concerned, because
I don’t think people have an understanding of the
implications of a diet that’s really high in saturated fat and
our heart health guidelines are, that we should be keeping the
total saturated fat content of our diet, down around 10%. So, if we’re putting
coconut oil in our coffee, or spreading it on
our toast, chances are, we are way over stretching that
saturated fat recommendation. [Asha] She says a lot of people
are caught up with the fancy claims. It says no
cholesterol or trans fats. Coconut oil never had
cholesterol and never will. Cholesterol is found
in animal products. It’s like saying well a
banana doesn’t have cholesterol. Well a banana never had
cholesterol and never will. Use coconut oil for flavour, not
as your primary source of fat. [Asha] We tell Health Canada
about the industry’s claims and we learn our government is
planning to put warnings on foods high in
saturated fat someday. If the proposal gets passed. In the meantime, these
shoppers have a message. Do you think there should be a
warning to consumers about how much saturated fat is
in something like this? 100%.
100%. [Asha] Why? Because I didn’t, I had no clue. [Asha] So the saturated fat is
on the label but should there be a warning? Yeah, ’cause I
guess it feels like, they’re not putting it
explicitly on the label. [Asha] Until that happens… Are you going to keep
on using coconut oil? Ah, for certain things,
yes, for other things, probably take a step back, and
look at either canola or even lard in this case, I guess. No, not, not
today, not tomorrow, not ever. [♪♪]

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