The coconut craze- a marketer’s nutty idea?


I’m feeling a little more scientific today so I wanted to share with you one of the latest debates circulating around the super foods market. Sit back and enjoy the read.

Is the hype around the coconut driven by science or clever marketing?!

Nobody can deny the amount of craze circulating around the coconut. The main idea is that coconut oil is beneficial to our health and more so than other oils. Indeed people have become coconut crazy and we see coconut oils sitting amongst the super foods. According to an article from the Guardian Holland and Barrett have claimed that “coconut oil is the little black dress of wellbeing and everyone should have it”. Moreover, there has been an extreme amount of hype on health websites, social media, blogs and YouTube. To give an illustration, Kourtney Kardashian has helped boost the sales of coconut oil. Then as mentioned by the British Nutrition Foundation some fashion models have been reported to be eating it to speed up their metabolism and chefs have been endorsing it in their cooking and baking. So we as health conscious individuals have naturally trusted the world of marketing and accepted the fact that coconut oil is healthy. But where is the proof? Have marketers really been telling us the truth? :/…

coconut chalk
Have marketers really been telling us the truth?

Despite all of this positive media attention, there have been ongoing wars between scientists and marketers regarding the true health benefits of coconut oil. Scientists are arguing that coconut oil is a marketing con whilst marketers themselves are arguing that coconut oil is in truth better for our health than other oils.

Let’s see what research suggests…

The health claims debunked

According to a journal from Harvard Medical School coconut oil boosts the body’s immune defences and super charges the metabolism. Additionally, coconut oil may have a healthy effect on your cholesterol profile. However, Harvard Medical School also note that there is little evidence to actually support such claims and that most evidence comes from animal tests as opposed to those carried out on humans. The British Nutrition Foundation go on to list the health claims associated with coconut oil.  Alongside this it seems that these health claims can be countered. Let me also list them here for you:

Weight reduction

According to Dr Marie-Pierre St Onge eating more of medium chain triglycerides (a form of fat molecule with shorter chains and which are found in coconut oil in a higher concentration than any other natural food) can lead to shedding extra pounds of weight. However, let’s just be clear…in her tests volunteers were given concoction made from 100% medium chain triglycerides. Yet coconut oil actually compromises just 13-15%. This suggests that results do not truly support the claim.

Furthermore, Harvard medical school highlight that coconut oil is about 90% fat which is a higher percentage than butter (64%) and beef (40%). Therefore, consuming large amounts of coconut oil will have negative implications upon our health.

Cholesterol lowering- reduce stroke rates and heart disease

A meta-analysis of 60 trials showed that lauric acid in coconut oil can lower stroke rates and heart disease However, some of the analysis also showed that coconut oil raises cholesterol. Therefore it can be acknowledged that the pros here are balanced equally by the cons in a win-lose situation and therefore this claim is contradicted.

❤ Helps with Alzheimer’s disease

There is an argument which states that coconut oil is an easier source of energy to use and therefore keeps the brain cells going. However, there is no evidence to actually back this up.

coconut oil2

Overall,  I acknowledge that this post is based on a few articles and that ongoing research will determine the true effects of coconut oil upon our health. Yet from what I have found it seems reasonable to say that there is little evidence out there to support any of the health claims associated with coconut oil. It seems that clever marketing has been promoting the image of coconut oil as a super food. Yet these claims can only be justified by weak evidence. More trials need to be carried out on humans to determine whether there are any true benefits of coconut oil before such claims are made.

Personally, I was a believer in the coconut. I believed and trusted the trend created by marketing; that coconut oil is a healthier alternative to olive or extra virgin oils. However, having found all of this information out and the little causes for claim my mind set has been altered. Personally, I have been sticking with avocados or nuts for fat intake. You can use these as substitutes for oil, however, if you do want to cook with oil I would suggest using a spray kind due to the high level of saturated fats in coconut oil.

To find out more see the article below I’ve mentioned as it explains it in a lot more detail and I’m sure you want an extra read 😉



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