By Marcus Guiliano Chef/owner Aroma Thyme Bistro
Since the 1960's, coconut oil has been unfairly labeled as “unhealthy”. The media reported studies of how tropical oils were laden with artery-clogging fats. What was not reported was the fact that the coconut oil used in the study was hydrogenated, not the virgin oil for centuries as a staple food. We now know it is the hydrogenation that is the problem. Hydrogenation is artificially adding a hydrogen molecule to the oil to lengthen the self-life. Lots of oils, like corn, soy, cottonseed and canola are loaded with dangerous trans-fat and other toxic hexane solvents. These can be found in lots of common foods like pie crusts, cookies, pre-made crab cakes, crackers, prepared sauces, bouillon cubes, even whole grain bread, peanut butter and the French Fry. Just read the label or ask your favorite restaurant to read the label and you will be shocked. In fact most food manufactures use this oil in production. So if you buy frozen French Fries at the store and bake them at home, the chances are they were already par cooked with this dangerous fat.
The fact is coconut oil is one of the most healthiest super foods known. Coconut oil is cholesterol and trans-fat free. One of the good fats that comprises about 50% of coconut oil is Lauric acid. Lauric acis is a rare mediul-chain fatty acid found in mother's milk that supports healthy metabolism and is now being studied for its anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial health-protecting propeties. Some researchers predict that Lauric Acid will become as well known as Omega-3's.
The FDA is now requiring labeling of “trans-fat” as of 2006. So when buying coconut oil make sure they have not added this fat or used hexane solvents. It should all be on the label. In fact it sort of like good quality olive oil, it should say “cold-pressed, virgin and/or organic” on the label.
Coconut oil is a great oil to cook and bake with. Also try it as a massage and body oil for dry and damaged skin.
For more information on coconut oil consider reading The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil by Bruce Fife, N.D.
More information on hydrogenated fat