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Coconut association clarifies AHA’s advisory on coconut oil

Virgin coconut oil

By DTI-TIPG-EMB
July 12, 2017

MAKATI CITY – United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP) recently issued a statement clarifying the American Heart Association’s (AHA) advisory against the consumption of coconut oil.

In the statement, UCAP mentioned that the advisory has gone viral with adverse effect on the coconut oil since it is considered a saturated fat. UCAP called on readers and users of coconut oil to be discerning of the said advisory and news articles drawing conclusion that coconut oil is unhealthy.

According to Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit of the Ateneo De Manila University, the AHA adopted a position that ignores the distinction between medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) and long-chain fatty acid (LCFA) despite the numerous advances in this certain field of science. Coconut oil is mostly medium-chain saturated fats, the healthy type of fat. Detailed comparison of the fatty acid composition shows that coconut oil is very different from animal fat. Hence, studies that assume they are similar are consequently in error.

Furthermore, Asian and Pacific Coconut Community also highlighted in their recent statement the words of Dr. Bruce Fife, a USA Certified Nutritionist and Doctor of Naturopathy Medicine, “You cannot say LDL is bad and HDL is good.” He explained the two types of LDL: one small and dense, while the other is large and soft. The large LDL is the type that is used in making bile, hormones, and Vitamin D, which are all good for one’s health. Dr. Fife further concluded that, “Eating coconut oil (and other saturated fats) increases both HDL and the “good” LDL, thus, lowering the risk of heart disease. This is one of the reasons why populations that eat a lot of coconut oil have the lowest heart disease rates in the world.”

Department of Trade and Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) concurs with the stand of industry associations such as United Coconut Associations of the Philippines, Inc. and the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community that the advisory is misleading as AHA based its findings on limited studies on saturated fats.

"This is not the first time this kind of negative publicity against coconut oil has happened. If we will look closer to historical accounts, this has happened before. It was magnified this time due to social media and technology," said DTI Export Marketing Bureau Director Senen M. Perlada.

By and large, DTI will continue to support the industry in sharing the good news about coconut and its economic contribution to millions of Filipino farmers and exporters.

Backed by recent studies and firsthand experiences of its consumers around the globe, DTI will help sustain the impressive health and economic contribution of coconut products such as coconut oil, virgin coconut oil, coconut water, coconut sugar, among others, by continued promotion through roadshows in various markets which will eventually bring additional jobs and income opportunities for Filipinos especially in the countryside.

American Heart Association (AHA) issued a Presidential Advisory on Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) on 15 June 2017 which recommended a decrease in consumption of products high in saturated fat such as dairy fat (butter), lard (pork), beef tallow, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil.

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